Zebre 14 Harlequins 57
Harlequins asserted their dominance at the top of Heineken Cup Pool Three with a 57-14 bonus-point victory over Zebre.
Two converted tries from Sam Smith allowed Quins to build a 17-7 advantage in the first half, although Leonardo Sarto touched down for the Italian team. But the English side were excellent after the break with Nick Easter, Matt Hopper, Rob Buchanan, Ben Botica and two penalty tries sealing the win. After Connacht's victory over Biarritz last night, it gave the visitors a chance to take control of the group. With back-to-back games against the weakest team in the pool, Quins could virtually seal their passage with successive victories. They were expected to dispatch their opponents with relative ease but the Twickenham-Stoop based outfit struggled to find a rhythm in the opening stages. Nick Evans missed an early opportunity from the tee and it wasn't until the 25th minute when he was allowed another chance to get them on the board. The Kiwi duly converted and it was the spark the English side needed to punch their way through Zebre's defence. Smith touched down for his first try of the afternoon before he added another soon after. Evans converted both for a 17-0 lead, but the hosts hit back through Sarto. Luciano Orquera added the extras to reduce the arrears to 10 points at half-time. Despite the frustration of conceding that touchdown just before the break, Harlequins reasserted their dominance when Easter powered over. That opened the floodgates and the visitors were awarded a penalty try to secure the bonus-point. Hopper then scampered across the whitewash before they were given a second penalty try to take the score to 45-7. Buchanan touched down before Alberto Chillon went over for the hosts to restore a semblance of pride, but Botica completed the rout.