Harlequins Captain Alex Dombrandt summarised their performance during the post-match interview:
This European Champions Cup match in round four was always destined to be a tough contest. Harlequins had already earned their place in the knock-out stages but were wanting a home draw in the next round; whereas it was a must-win game for Ulster.
The first 40 minutes saw injury replacements for both teams; a yellow card and four tries.
NicK David opened the scoring for Quins within six minutes but two minutes later was shown yellow and sin-binned for 10 minutes for a deliberate knock-on. During that time David McCann crossed the whitewash for the visitors; converted by John Cooney, levelling the scores.
Oscar Beard, who earlier in the week had been called up to the England Squad, was replaced due to injury; all the Quins’ fans hoping this was simply a precautionary measure.
Louis Lynagh was brought on as his replacement and wasted no time in adding points to the scoreboard with a brace of brilliant individual tries demonstrating his kick-chase abilities.
Marcus Smith was three from three on his conversions and after Kieran Treadwell was replaced by Harry Sheridan for Ulster due to injury, the first 40minutes came to an end.
Half-time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 21 – 7 Ulster Rugby
During the half-time break Harlequins’ Joe Marler was replaced by Fin Baxter; James Hume replaced by Luke Marshall for Ulster.
The second half started on a more even footing; both teams ripping the ball and stealing possession under tackle. However it was the hosts once again who made more of the opportunities when they arose. Danny Care intercepted for Quins and kicked long for a chase. In this instance Ulster won the foot race but a good follow-up chase by Harlequins pinned the visitors in their own 22.
When Ulster box-kicked out, Quins simply came again and during a scrum overpowered the visitors in spectacular fashion, earning a penalty which Smith kicked to the corner for an attacking line-out. Care, retrieving the ball from the base of the ruck, opted to dart through the defence himself and added his name to the scoreboard for the bonus-point try for the hosts; Smith once again adding the conversion.
Ulster were not giving up easily and crossed the whitewash themselves. The Television Match Official, however, was called into action and declared Ulster had knocked-on before reaching the try-line; try disallowed.
More misery followed for the visitors who gave away another penalty after good defensive pressure from Quins forced Ulster to hold onto the ball after being tackled. Smith could have kicked for the posts and an easy three points but again the option was to kick to the corner.
The line-out was secured, albeit at a stretch, and Ulster were again penalised. Danny Care took it quickly and floated a gentle offload to Andre Esterhuizen. Despite being tackled short of the whitewash, The Giant was able to place the ball over the try-line. On this occasion Smith was unable to add the extra two points.
Just two minutes later and Nick David added his second try of the game for the hosts; Smith converted.
Ulster had not travelled all this way to simply give up and managed to break through the defence, pushing up the pitch. The forwards pushed for the try-line and Stuart McCloskey was awarded the try; converted.
With new found hope, Ulster started to loosen up but this meant shaky passing. Will Evans intercepted and ran from halfway, crossing for a try. Converted by Marcus Smith.
Annoyed with themselves, and with the bit between their teeth, Ulster came again and created an overlap on the right wing. A slight hesitation in passing gave Harlequins the precious time to get defenders into position and despite a good run and leap by Ulster, the Television Match Official ruled the player had been tackled into touch before the ball was grounded. No try.
Whether the adrenaline was pumping too hard or the hosts had a lapse in concentration but they opted to take the line-out quickly. The throw was not straight and handed Ulster a gift of an attacking scrum just metres from the try-line.
The men in yellow opted to grab and drive before an overhead kick was gathered by Jacob Stockdale and placed acrobatically for a try; unconverted.
The clock was ticking down and when Quins were awarded another penalty, Smith tapped before kicking into touch to end the game.
Full Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 47 – 19 Ulster Rugby