Quins grab late win after Stephenson and May join Wilkinson on Newcastle injury list

Newcastle 25 Harlequins 29
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The Independent Online

Newcastle suffered more injury woe yesterday when the wingers Michael Stephenson and Tom May joined Jonny Wilkinson on the sidelines after this 29-25 Zurich Premiership defeat by Harlequins.

May went off after an hour with a neck injury but Stephenson was the more serious casualty with a suspected fractured elbow after crashing into the dug-out shortly after scoring a 68th-minute try that levelled the scores at 22-22.

Newcastle, who were without the shoulder-injury victim Wilkinson, looked to have snatched victory when the fly-half Dave Walder put over an injury-time drop goal to break the deadlock, but Harlequins had the final say when the prop Ceri Jones was driven over for the match-winner in the ninth minute of stoppage time.

"In many ways it summed up our season," Andrew said. "It showed the character of the side that we pulled the game back from 22-10 but then we contrived to give it away. Really good sides don't do that."

Harlequins scored tries from their first two attacks, through Ugo Monye and Gavin Duffy, to lead 12-3 after 19 minutes but spent most of the game on defence. Walder let them off the hook with three penalty misses and they would surely have settled for a draw until fortunes swung in a dramatic finale.

"We were a bit fortunate," Mark Evans, their director of rugby, admitted. "We probably created four chances and scored four tries. We're delighted with the win. This was a big, big game for both sides."

Newcastle: Tries Noon, Taione, Stephenson; Conversions Walder 2; Penalties Walder; Drop goal Walder. Harlequins: Tries Monye, Duffy, Evans, Jones; Conversions Dunne 2, Jarvis; Penalties Dunne.

Newcastle: J Shaw; T May, J Noon, M Mayerhofler, M Stephenson; D Walder, H Charlton; I Peel, M Thompson, M Ward, S Grimes, M Andrews, E Taione, P Dowson, H Vyvyan.

Harlequins: G Duffy; G Harder, W Greenwood, M Deane, U Monye; A Dunne, S Keogh; C Jones, T Fuga, J Leonard, B Davison, J Evans, P Sanderson, A Vos, T Diprose.

Referee: Chris White (RFU)