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Harlequins: 7 (18) Edinburgh Rugby: 13 (23)

Around 90% of the data created during the history of human civilisation has emerged in the last two years. A staggering, if slightly depressing, thought.  

The vast majority of it is guff, of course.  But among the dross there is the odd nugget.  Earlier today, a sage among the Twitterati observed that it was a bit odd that French clubs had, together with their English equivalents, made such a fuss about restructuring cross-border European competition when so few of them seem that interested in actually competing seriously to win.  It's been particularly noticeable this season, with a number of eyebrow-raising results in both competitions.  One feels that the administrators of the Swiss-based competition need to nip this in the bud.

Frankly, even before this match kicked off this afternoon, I would have been surprised if Stade Francais had defeated Harlequins next weekend.  I'm even more convinced now, given that the tournament organisers have just made a very odd announcement to the effect that Stade's postponed match against Timisoara this afternoon may not be played at all.  So much for giving Tier 2 nations the opportunities to test themselves against superior teams.  Seen in this light, the perennial gripes about weak Italian teams are sounding a bit hollow.

With Quins likely to secure five points in Paris, then, it was all the more important that Edinburgh both won and did not concede the two bonus points that they coughed up in the previous match at BT Murrayfield.  This they duly did, coming away with a fine win that lifts them back to the top of the group, one point ahead of the vanquished Aviva club.  

The Embramen will need to put in the hard work at their first game back at MyReside next Friday night.  But it is inconceivable that they will not secure the necessary win against the Romanian members of the global Saracens community. Should they do so, they cannot be caught and will win this pool.  With a likely 24 points off five victories, they will secure a home quarter final and this season's European adventure will remain very much alive.  

Make no mistake, this was an excellent win; the first time that Quins have lost at The Stoop this season.  The Gunners should look back on their pool campaign with some satisfaction.  They played Stade when the Frenchmen were still interested in the competition and could quite easily have won both of those matches for a perfect 6-0 record.

The better team won this afternoon and, if anything, should have won by more.  Indeed, they were comfortably ahead with five minutes to go, only to concede two late, late scores, Quins' only tries of the match.

In a dominant forward performance, the dynamic Hamish Watson won yet another Man of the Match award. Under pressure Quins were carded three times during proceedings and indiscipline, coupled with a lack of precision, was their downfall.  By contrast, Edinburgh were just that bit more clinical when the opportunities presented themselves.

After Duncan Weir TGB and opposite number Swiel had traded penalties in the first quarter, the visitors scored the opening try.  Blairhorn, in another regal performance overall, broke down the left.  The King fed Nel, who took the ball on. Toolis' fine pass saw Fraser McKenzie sail serenely through the defence and over, Weir's conversion making it a 10-3 advantage.    

When a similar attack was halted shortly afterwards, Clifford became the first carded Quin for killing the ball. While the resulting try chance went abegging following a poor lineout, Weir did knock over his second penalty.  Swiel's own second three pointer left the score at the break 13-6 Gunners. Not a decisive lead by any means, but a good foundation on which to build a win in the second period, particularly given the visitors' superiority in the first.

When Sinckler became the second Quin to see yellow, Edinburgh killed the match as a contest on 53 minutes.  A superb break from Watson set pacy prop Allan Dell cantering over for try number two.  20-6 Edinburgh with the conversion and up against 14 men.  This one was starting to get away from the English side, particularly when Weir added another penalty on 71 minutes.

Yet when they should have been twisting the knife, instead the Gunners rather took their eye off the ball as the clock ran down, allowing two enemy tries that gave Quins a somewhat fortunate bonus point loss.  Yet while that loss of focus was disappointing, only a catastrophic performance of gargantuan proportions next Friday will deny them knockout rugby this season.  

They have now done the hard work.  One hopes that next week's first match back at MyReside will be a bit of a party.