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Harlequins U18s come from behind to win Academy Final

Thursday, 16th February 2017 @ 18:55



The young Quins came from 3-8 down to win 20-8 in the Final at Sixways Stadium.

Second half tries from Luke James and Miles McDuffus and the boot of Marcus Smith helped Harlequins U18s to a 20-8 win over Sale Sharks U18s.

The young Quins had been 3-8 down but a rallying second half performance in an exhilirating Final helped Harlequins get their hands on the trophy.

In a physical encounter, Sale had the best of the opening exchanges and pinned Harlequins back into their own 22.

Harlequins' fullback Max Coyle would have to leave the pitch on the 11th minute following a big hit to the head.

Minutes later it would be a big hit to the scoreboard when Sale's impressive scrum-half Matt Sturgess darted over inches out from the base of a ruck. Fly-half Kieran Wilkinson would miss the conversion but made up for it when his penalty in front of the post flew through the uprights seven minutes later.

Again, with Sale metaphorically breathing down Harlequins' neck, the young Quins' defence stayed resolute and cleared away.

Harlequins' only score of the first half would come through the talismanic Smith who sent over a penalty from 35 metres out to put his side on the board.

At the break, Smith's penalty would be a lifeline to hold on to as Harlequins were just one score away from Sale.

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In the second 35, Harlequins came out with added zeal and attacking intent and just three minutes in, openside flanker Luke James went over in the corner to put Harlequins in front.

Left with a difficult kick on the left touchline, Smith sent over the kick impressively to make the score 10-8.

Coyle's first half replacement Jon Searle played in winger Harry Barlow shortly after but Sale's fullback Calum Owen tackled Barlow in to touch as he look set to score.

Smith kept the scoreboard ticking over when his penalty on the 50th minute moved Harlequins further in front.

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With Sale looking to get their way back in to the match, they were camped in Harlequins half with 15 minute left on the clock. Sale's momentum was spoilt when McDuffus picked the loose pass, darted half the length of the field and went under the sticks.

Smith stayed 100 per cent with the boot to hand Harlequins a 20-8 lead.

With the match winding down, Harlequins managed to keep Sale at bay and go close to 50 minutes without conceding a single score, as a combination of strong defence and potent attack handed Harlequins the U18s Academy trophy.

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On Saturday 30th December (kick-off 16:00) Harlequins will celebrate a decade of Big Game at Twickenham Stadium.

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