Dykes scores hat-trick as Irish beat 14-man Quins

    Michael Dykes was handed his chance by London Irish after Ollie Hassell-Collins was named in England’s squad for the Six Nations
    London Irish (28) 42
    Tries: Cunningham-South, Dykes 3, Stokes, Pearson Cons: Jackson 6
    Harlequins (12) 24
    Tries: Penalty try, Allan, Bassett, Lamb Con: Allen

    Michael Dykes scored a hat-trick on his Premiership debut as London Irish beat 14-man Harlequins in a high-scoring derby to boost their top-four hopes.

    The winger crossed twice as Chandler Cunningham-South and James Stokes also scored for the Exiles before the break.

    Quins, meanwhile, had captain Stephan Lewies sent off in between a penalty try and Tommaso Allan’s effort.

    Dykes got his third before Josh Bassett and Dino Lamb gave the visitors hope, but Tom Pearson settled it for Irish.

    A fourth win in five Premiership outings sees London Irish move up to seventh in the table, one point behind Harlequins and two adrift of fourth-placed Northampton.

    Dykes was handed his chance after Ollie Hassell-Collins was named in England’s squad for the Six Nations, having scored eight tries in 12 Premiership outings this season, and the 21-year-old proved to be the perfect replacement.

    Irish made a fast start at the Gtech Community Stadium as number eight Cunningham-Smith rounded off a rolling maul from a line-out in the fourth minute and two minutes later Dykes finished a backs move from close range.

    Dykes was then sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on to stop Nick David from crossing, which saw Quins awarded a penalty try, but Irish quickly restored their 14-point lead when Stokes picked up the loose ball following Danny Care’s high kick and the full-back scampered in from outside the 22.

    The task facing the visitors was made all the harder when flanker Lewies was shown red on 21 minutes for a dangerous clear-out on Cunningham-Smith at the breakdown, although Allan went over to make it 21-12 after a good break by David.

    Harlequins captain Stephan Lewies is shown a red card
    Harlequins captain Lewies was sent off midway through the first half in west London

    The Italy fly-half could not add the extras and the Exiles had their fourth when Stokes fed Dykes for his second in the corner on the stroke of half-time.

    The winger’s hat-trick was completed soon after the restart after Ben White capitalised on a gap in the defence, but a break from Andre Esterhuizen helped set up Leicester-bound Bassett to pull one back and Lamb then stretched over and Allen converted to drag Quins to within 11 points with just over 15 minutes left.

    However, a yellow card for prop Joe Marler halted their momentum and Pearson squeezed through a gap to extinguish any chance of a comeback, with Paddy Jackson adding his sixth conversion for a flawless afternoon off the kicking tee.

    Quins picked up a bonus point to move level on points with Gloucester and remain just ahead of Irish, but Tabai Matson’s side have now lost their past four Premiership fixtures.

    London Irish: Stokes; Cinti, Van Rensburg, Jennings, Dykes; Jackson, White; Goodrick-Clarke, Creevy, Hoskins, Simmons, Coleman, Rogerson (capt), Pearson, Cunningham-South.

    Replacements: Willemse, Fischetti, Parker, Ratuniyarawa, Gonzalez, Powell, Morisi, Arundell.

    Sin-bin: Dykes (19).

    Harlequins: Edwards; David, Beard, Esterhuizen, Bassett; Allan, Care; Marler, Head, Louw, Lamb, Herbst, Lewies (capt), Evans, Lawday.

    Replacements: Musk, Baxter, Kerrod, Chisholm, Wallace, Steele, Anyanwu, Hyde.

    Sin-bin: Marler (69).

    Sent off: Lewies (21).

    Referee: Matthew Carley.

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