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Harlequins will reach the Challenge Cup quarter-finals if they can match or better Benetton’s points tally in Round 6 when they take on Agen. Friday’s match gets under way at 19:45 GMT.
- The only previous meeting Agen and Harlequins came earlier this season when the Gallagher Premiership side registered a 54-22 win in Round 1.
- Agen are aiming to win all three of their home game in a Challenge Cup campaign for the first time since 2004/05.
- Harlequins have lost their last three away games in the Challenge Cup, their joint-worst ever such run.
- Harlequins’ line-out success rate of 70% is the lowest this season.
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) January 16, 2019
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A place in the quarter-finals of the European Rugby Challenge Cup awaits Harlequins after the English outfit defeated Agen 33-17 in France to top Pool 5 with 21 points.
It was a dream start for Harlequins, with Jack Clifford, who has recently been recalled into England’s Six Nations squad, scoring the games’ first try. Marcus Smith added the conversion.
Agen wing Valentin Saurs did respond soon after with a try of his own – which was converted by Jake McIntyre – but it was not long until Harlequins regained the lead.
In-form back-rower Alex Dombrandt found Max Crumpton on his inside to cross over the try line.
The visitors finished the first half in excellent fashion after Gabriel Ibitoye found a hole in Agen’s defence to dot down for their third try. Smith’s successful conversion gave Harlequins a 12-point lead at the break.
🗣 "We're becoming more of a complete team, with an all-court game"
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) January 18, 2019
The try-scoring bonus point was claimed shortly after the interval, when Danny Care’s beautifully-timed chip was collected by Nathan Earle, who powered over the whitewash. Young fly-half Smith added the extra points from the tee.
Care was again at the heart of Quins’ next try, putting his boot to good use with a chip behind the home defence, which was gathered by Joe Marchant, who piled over. Smith ensured the maximum points were taken with his successful conversion.
Jordan Peyri and Nicolas Metge went over for Agen late on, but Harlequins weathered the storm to secure victory and top the group with 21 points, edging out Benetton.