Jess Breach's first half hat-trick lights up Twickenham as Harlequins claim historic win over Leinster

Jess Breach scored a hat-trick for Harlequins as they beat Leinster in an historic match at Twickenham (Twitter: Harlequins Women)
23:50pm, Sat 28 Dec 2019
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Harlequins' Jess Breach scored a first half hat-trick that lit up England's home of rugby in the London club's historic 47-26 victory over Leinster.

The match, which was a double header with the men for 'Big Match 12', was both the first time the two sides had played each other and the first European women's club match at Twickenham.

An estimated 2,500 - 3,000 fans remained at the stadium after the men's fixture to watch the friendly and what a match it was.

Ten tries were scored in total, the first coming from Quins' winger Breach, who ran in two impressive early solo tries to get Quins' dominant display underway.

Harlequins legend Rachael Burford dived on a grubber kick to add her name to the team sheet and Anna Caplice also crashed over the line in the first 40.

Harlequins women played at Twickenham for the first time (Twitter: Miss Paterson)

Leinster hit back twice through Daisy Earle and Linda Djoungang - who completed a stunning team try after catching an amazing offload from captain and former Quin Senu Naopu.

Leinster's Earle stormed 150 metres up field towards the end of the first half but knocked the ball on one metre out from the line, an error that Quins made her pay for just minutes later as Breach scored her third of the evening.

Related videos

Going into the break Quins led 33-12 but the Irish team weren't beaten yet.

Leinster's Lindsay Peat went over early in the second half to make the difference between the two sides just 14 points.

Quins were all over Leinster for a large proportion of the second 40 but the Irish women's defensive effort held strong until the 58th minute as Amy Cokayne struck through a driving maul.

Leinster hit back through Victoria Dabanovich-O'Mahony to bring the score to 40-26.

The Irish number 19, Ciaea Cooner, received a yellow card with three minutes left to play which meant Leinster were down to 14 for the remainder of the match.

Quins capitalised on the advantage and Fiona Fletcher added a seventh try to the London club's hoard of scores.

Neither team wanted the match to end as play went on seven minutes past the full 80, but after a double error by both sides the match finished 47-26 to Harlequins.

Leinster travelled to Twickenham for the first time (Twitter: Leinster Domestic)

Player of the match Emily Scott said post-match: "It was a tough, tough game. It was thoroughly enjoyable, to play here is exactly what we want to do, we're setting a precedent in women's rugby.

"The amount of people who stayed to watch was a massive crowd for us.

"It's fantastic to play for Harlequins, I wear my shirt with pride and they push the boundaries to set the bar for other clubs."

Quins head coach Karen Findlay said: "This has been an absolutely amazing day for women's rugby. Harlequins are really pushing for progress, these occasions are what the players train for.

"I'm delighted for my squad because they've worked hard.

"Leinster were a threat up to the last minute so I'm really pleased."

Leinster's Hannah O'Connor added: "It was a physical encounter, it was a pleasure to be a part of the first European fixture.

"A good lot of people stayed around to watch it, you had to pinch yourself.

"I hope we've set the marker for women's rugby out here tonight."