Premiership: Harlequins 15-7 Newcastle Falcons
|Harlequins (3) 15|
|Pens: Swiel 5|
|Newcastle Falcons (7) 7|
|Tries: Al Tuilagi Cons: Socino|
Tim Swiel was perfect with the boot as Harlequins overcome a resilient Newcastle Falcons to move up to seventh in the Premiership table.
Falcons led 7-3 at the break with Alesana Tuilagi's try coming after a Swiel penalty gave Quins an early lead.
South African fly-half Swiel slotted four second-half penalties to secure the hard-fought win.
While Falcons piled the pressure on before the interval they struggled to seriously threaten after the break.
Victory lifts Quins three places up the table and nine points above Newcastle, who have now failed to win at the Stoop in 14 years.
Newcastle made a bright start with Sinoti Sinoti fielding a clearance kick before racing off past three defenders to set up a position in the opposition 22. The ball was recycled for Tuilagi to bounce off Marland Yarde's attempted tackle before being forced into touch just short of the try line.
It was a moment of explosiveness in an otherwise poised opening half hour in which a chip and chase attempt from Quins' Karl Dickson and George McGuigan's burst for the Falcons that was called back for a forward pass amounting to all the meaningful attacking play.
With his first and only sight of goal, Swiel kicked the hosts' first points on eight minutes, with Socino failing to land a reply midway through the opening half when the versatile Argentine teed up a penalty after a period of sustained Newcastle pressure.
The Falcons also suffered two injury blows in quick succession, as full-back Simon Hammersley left the field to be replaced by Noah Cato before lock Dom Barrow limped off with Kane Thompson coming on.
With the final act of the first half Tuilagi did well to power over the line to grab the game's first try and, after the television match official scrutinised the touchdown, Socino added the extras to give Dean Richards' men a deserved lead.
Scoring opportunities remained rare after the interval with Swiel landing four unanswered penalties to put Quins more than a converted score ahead with 13 minutes remaining.
Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea:
"We always knew it was going to be a tough game but we didn't have our intensity levels or defence right in the first half.
"Matt Hopper and George Lowe were unbelievable in midfield as they brought a huge energy to the game.
"We need to step up to a different level next week [against Premiership leaders Northampton] but we will have a number of our key experienced players back in our line-up."
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards:
"We broke Quins at ease. We should have scored four or five tries as they created next to nothing.
"We shot ourselves in the foot as we needed to be more patient.
"We wanted the win today, not just a bonus point - and we didn't even get that."
Harlequins: Brown; Yarde, Hopper, Lowe, Tikoirotuma; Swiel, Dickson; Lambert, Gray, Sinckler, Matthews, Robson (capt), Trayfoot, Clifford, J Chisholm.
Replacements: Ward, Marfo, Collier, Twomey, Merrick, Care, R Chisholm, Monye.
Newcastle Falcons: Hammersley; Sinoti, Powell, Socino, Alesana Tuilagi; Catterick, Blair; Vickers, McGuigan, S Wilson, Green, Barrow, M Wilson, Welch (capt), Hogg.
Replacements: Lawson, Fry, Irving, Thompson, Furno, Tipuna, Anitelea Tuilagi, Cato.
Referee: Matthew Carley