Harlequins 25-17 Connacht

Harlequins (19) 25

  • Tries: Dickson
  • Cons: Evans
  • Pens: Evans 6

Connacht (10) 17

  • Try: O'Halloran, Duffy
  • Cons: Nikora, O'Connor
  • Pens: Nikora
Karl Dickson of Harlequins scores a try

Dickson scored Harlequins' only try of the night in their win over Connacht

Harlequins set a new club record best start to the season with a Heineken Cup Pool Six win over Connacht.

After outscoring the visitors two penalties to one early on, Quins fell behind when Connacht's Tiernan O'Halloran crossed for the opening try.

However, the home side struck back before the break with Karl Dickson scrambling over from close range.

A Gavin Duffy try put Connacht back in contention but two Nick Evans penalties ensured that Quins emerged victorious.

Quins have made a habit of winning this season with this, their 11th straight victory, overtaking the 10 successive wins they achieved at the beginning of both the 1954-55 and 1996-97 seasons.

However, they did not have it all their own way against a spirited Connacht side who have won just one away game since January.

After Quins' Evans had kicked two penalties to opposite number Miah Nikora's one, the visitors suggested a shock might be on the cards by crossing for the first try of the match.

A neat dummy and pass from Eoin Griffin made space for O'Halloran to cross, with Nikora adding the conversion.

The home side were briefly shaken but Evans kept them in touch with another penalty before Dickson scrambled over from close range to restore their lead, extended courtesy of the conversion.

Evans added a fourth penalty to send the home side in 19-10 at the break.

Connacht, though, refused to lie down and they reduced the deficit when Brian Tuohy's long pass out wide put in former Quins player Duffy on the left to run in and score a try that Niall O'Connor converted.

A brace of Evans penalties relieved the pressure on the home side and ensured their victory, while also cruelly denying the Irish side a bonus point.

The only downside for Quins were serious-looking injuries to centre George Lowe (ankle) and lock Ollie Kohn (bicep). "They could both be out for a while," said Quins director of rugby Conor O'Shea .

O'Shea added: "This Connacht team will give nothing to anyone in the Heineken Cup. They came at us absolutely full metal jacket but we knew what was coming.

"Nobody in our dressing room is arrogant enough to believe you get things for free. But we had the fortitude to come through and found a way to win. Connacht played really good rugby in the second half but, mentally, our guys are very strong."

Connacht head coach Eric Elwood : "It's a hard pill to swallow. The most frustrating and disappointing thing is that for all the effort, endeavour, commitment and hard work, we have actually come away from The Stoop with nothing."

Harlequins: Brown, Stegman, Lowe, Turner-Hall, S. Smith, Evans, Dickson, Marler, Brooker, Johnston, Kohn, Robson, Fa'asavalu, Robshaw, Easter.

Replacements: Urdapilleta for Lowe (34), Care for Dickson (50), Gray for Brooker (59), Vallejos for Kohn (15), Wallace for Fa'asavalu (73).

Not Used: Mayhew, Sinckler, Williams.

Connacht: Duffy, Tuohy, Griffin, McSharry, O'Halloran, Nikora, O'Donohoe, Wilkinson, Flavin, Ah You, Swift, McCarthy, Muldoon, Ofisa, Naoupu.

Replacements: Fa'afili for McSharry (66), N. O'Connor for Nikora (49), F. Murphy for O'Donohoe (55), Loughney for Wilkinson (70), Reynecke for Flavin (55), Rogers for Ah You (55), Anderson for Ofisa (28).

Not Used: Gannon.

Att: 11,866

Ref: Jerome Garces (France).