St Helens 16-27 Harlequins

Harlequins continued their fine early season form with a commanding victory over St Helens.

After recording a stunning victory over Leeds on their last trip up north, Harlequins showed it was no fluke as they out-enthused and out-played their most illustrious opponents with a superb display.

It was another out-of-sorts performance for Saints though at their adopted home of Widnes’ Stobart Stadium, and a crowd of 6,050 was barely given anything to shout about by the home side.

Quins opened the scoring early on with a try Saints fans will have been expecting their own side to score, as Luke Gale‘s lovely inside ball was collected by Luke Dorn who ran the perfect angle to cruise past the full back and over for a try.

The bus load of travelling fans could barely believe their eyes when their side opened up a 12-0 lead after just seven minutes, with Karl Pryce crossing on the last tackle following quick hands down the blind side.

Saints were stunned and it took them almost 15 minutes to force a little bit of pressure, when Chris Flannery dragged Dorn behind his own line. Moments later, Francis Meli was denied an almost certain try by a superb Mark Calderwood tackle in to touch.

But Quins were good value for their lead and they re-inforced their dominance when Tony Clubb battled on through a handful of tacklers to get the ball down, with Gale adding the goal for 18-0.

The home side tried in vain to get back in to the game, with Scott Moore seeing a try chalked off for a forward pass and Quins extended their lead to 20 before half time when Gale converted a penalty.

The crowd expected a change at the start of the second half and they managed to get themselves on the board when Meli scored in the corner, and when James Graham forced his way over on the last tackle to make it 20-10, it looked like Saints might have a comeback up their sleeve.

But just as you sensed they were getting their tails up, Quins forward Nick Kouparitsas snaffled an interception and raced 40 metres for their fourth try.

As the game entered the final quarter, Quins showed no signs of letting Saints through, and even when Jonny Lomax created a half break, there was no support for the youngster, and a chance was wasted.

Saints’ woe was compounded late on, when Gale popped over a drop goal, and despite James Roby having the last say with a try on the hooter, there was no denying Quins an impressive victory, and a second successive home defeat for Saints.

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