Boks help Harlequins win Premiership title
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Harlequins edged out holders Exeter Chiefs 40-38 in a dramatic English Premiership Final at Twickenham on Saturday.
Louis Lynagh scored two late tries on a ground where his father, Michael Lynagh, helped Australia win the 1991 Rugby World Cup final.
There were also crucial tries from Springboks Wilco Louw and Andre Esterhuizen for Harlequins earlier in the match.
Quins become the first team since Saracens six years ago to finish fourth after the regular season and still be crowned champions.
This was another astonishing display by Harlequins, who had been 0-28 down in their semifinal against Bristol Bears before winning 43-36 in extra-time.
And it completed a remarkable season for the capital city side, whose Stoop headquarters are a short walk from Twickenham, after they were thrashed 49-7 by French side Racing 92 in the European Champions Cup in December.
They have also been effectively coached by a committee since parting company with director of rugby Paul Gustard in January.
Quins wing Lynagh’s late double, allied to two fine conversions by Marcus Smith, enabled them to lead 40-31 against the reigning champions with just seven minutes remaining.
But Exeter, in arguably the most stunning Premiership final of them all, scored from the restart, with Stuart Hogg going over for a converted try.
The Scotland captain’s score helped reduced Quins’ lead to just two points with 60 seconds left.
But Quins held out as the London club won their first Premiership title since 2012.
Exeter have reached the last six Premiership finals but this was a fourth defeat in the showpiece match for the southwest club following losses to Saracens in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries: Gray, Hepburn, Simmonds, Devoto, Hogg
Cons: J Simmonds 5
Tries: Penalty Try, Louw Dombrandt, Esterhuizen, Lynagh 2
Cons: Smith 4
Yellow cards: Jonny Hill (Exeter, 5); Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 28)
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Jack Nowell, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds (captain), 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Richard Capstick, 6 Jannes Kirsten, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Jonny Gray, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Alec Hepburn
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Marcus Street, 19 Sean Lonsdale, 20 Don Armand, 21 Stu Townsend, 22 Harvey Skinner, 23 Stuart Hogg
Harlequins: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Jack Kenningham, 6 James Chisholm, 5 Stephan Lewies (captain), 4 Matt Symons, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Will Collier, 19 Dino Lamb, 20 Tom Lawday, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Ben Tapuai, 23 Luke Northmore
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce, Karl Dickson
TMO: Ian Tempest