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North Circular fire: Woman dies in Neasden warehouse blaze

North Circular fire: Woman dies in Neasden warehouse blaze

Neasden warehouse fire

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London Fire Brigade

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The fire in the disused building broke out on Wednesday morning

The body of a woman has been found inside a warehouse which was gutted by a fire in Neasden, north London.

About 70 firefighters spent nearly four hours tackling the blaze just off the North Circular Road.

After the fire was under control crews searched the three-storey derelict building and found the woman’s body.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) said.

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London Fire Brigade

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Ten fire crews were fighting the blaze overnight

Ten fire engines – from Willesden, Park Royal, Wembley, Hendon, Stanmore and West Hampstead fire stations – were called to the blaze at 02:38 BST.

Seventeen people were evacuated from nearby buildings as a precaution and the fire was brought under control by about 06:20.

The North Circular Road was closed in both directions while the blaze was tackled.

Station manager Robbie Robertson said: “Firefighters have worked extremely hard overnight to prevent the fire spreading to an adjacent building.”

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David Luiz: Chelsea defender signs new two-deal deal until 2021

David Luiz: Chelsea defender signs new two-deal deal until 2021

Luiz has played 246 times for Chelsea across two spells

Chelsea defender David Luiz has signed a new two-year contract at the club, running until 2021.

The Brazilian, 32, is out of contract at the end of June meaning he could have left for free in the summer.

Luiz made his 48th Chelsea appearance of the season in Thursday’s penalty shootout win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-finals.

“I am so happy to be here and to have this opportunity to stay,” the centre-back said.

“I love this club and I still have the ambition of a young player.”

Luiz joined Chelsea from Benfica in January 2011 but left to join Paris St-Germain in 2014 before returning to Stamford Bridge for £34m in 2016.

“It means a lot to reach another European final, and we still have the opportunity to finish in the top three of the Premier League this season and I will continue to try to do my best to help the team,” Luiz added.

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Jourdain John-Baptiste: Mum loses balcony fall death legal fight

Jourdain John-Baptiste: Mum loses balcony fall death legal fight

Jourdain John-Baptiste

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Family handout

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Jourdain John-Baptiste died three days after falling from the balcony of her fourth-floor flat

The mother of a woman who fell to her death from a balcony has lost a High Court challenge against a decision not to prosecute her daughter’s boyfriend.

Jourdain John-Baptiste was 22 when she fell from her fourth-floor flat in Enfield, north London, in August 2015.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) brought no charges against her boyfriend, which lawyers for her family claimed was “irrational”.

But Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said the CPS decision was “reasonable”.

After the hearing, her mother Tracey John-Baptiste said: “We have lost my beautiful daughter and now we have lost the chance to get justice.

“Even those against prosecuting in the CPS recognise this is a finely-balanced decision.

“Why not put this to the jury who can hear all the witnesses and decide?”

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Jourdain, pictured with friends and family, was described as a “wonderful daughter”

The boyfriend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was in the flat with Ms John-Baptiste at the time of the fall and last year her mother told the BBC witnesses said they heard the couple arguing.

Mrs John-Baptiste asked for the CPS decision not to prosecute to be reviewed and was told initially there ought to be a prosecution, which a senior prosecutor revised.

At an earlier hearing in London, the family’s barrister Karon Monaghan QC said there was “ample evidence” to support a prosecution, and there was a “threatening” text message on Ms John-Baptiste’s phone from her boyfriend saying: “When I see u again I’ll drop you.”

Ms Monaghan said the prosecutor who made the final decision based it on an “unevidenced and gendered assumption” that Ms John-Baptiste may have slipped in a state of “high emotion”.

But judges, who were asked to quash the decision, said it was “impossible” to conclude the decision was “wrong in law”.

Lord Burnett said a jury would be invited to say “the only realistic explanation for Ms John-Baptiste’s fall was that she was fleeing from a threat of violence”, which he said all involved accepted “was one possible explanation”.

“But the question for the decision-makers was whether it was more likely than not that a jury would reach that conclusion at the end of a criminal trial,” he added.

A CPS spokesman said: “We understand how difficult this has been for the family. We considered all the information given to us by the police investigation.

“We can only prosecute an offence when there is sufficient evidence to do so.

“The original decision has now been tested by a Victim’s Right to Review scheme (VRR) and now by a High Court hearing.”

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Joseph McCann: Suspect probed over more attacks

Joseph McCann: Suspect probed over more attacks

Joseph McCann

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Met Police

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Joseph McCann was wanted over attacks across the country

A man arrested over the abduction and rape of three women in and around London is being investigated for other attacks involving nine further victims.

Joseph McCann, 34, was arrested in Congleton, Cheshire, after two girls, aged 14, were abducted in the town.

He is being investigated over attacks in Cheshire, Manchester and Lancashire, on victims aged between 11 and 71.

Det Ch Insp Katherine Goodwin, of the Metropolitan Police, said the attacks were “grotesque and horrifying”.

The officer urged other victims to come forward and said police wanted to hear from anyone who had been approached by Mr McCann or in contact with him between February and May.

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Suspect Joseph McCann was seen in the back of a police car following his arrest

Mr McCann was found in a tree in Smithy Lane on Sunday evening and arrested after a stand-off with police negotiators.

He had been spotted in the town after two girls were forced into a car that afternoon.

Met detectives are now investigating him in connection with a number of other attacks earlier that day.

These include the false imprisonment of a woman in Haslingden, Lancashire, in which a teenage girl and a boy, 11, were raped and the abduction and rape of a 71-year-old in Bury, Manchester.

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Met Police

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The Met Police released a CCTV image of the suspect

The suspect is also being investigated over the abduction of two 13-year-old boys and the abduction and sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl in Heywood, Manchester, at about 15:30 BST on Sunday.

Det Ch Insp Goodwin said the attacks were believed to have taken place between 21 April and 5 May.

“Detectives from the Met continue to lead on this investigation and are working very closely with policing counterparts where he is suspected to have carried out further offences,” she said.

Mr McCann was also wanted for questioning over the abduction and rape of a 21-year-old woman at knifepoint in Watford, Hertfordshire, in the early hours of 21 April.

The Met Police launched an appeal to find Mr McCann after two women in their 20s were snatched off streets in London and raped in a car in London on 25 April.

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Bradford City 0-0 AFC Wimbledon: Dons survive after goalless draw

Bradford City 0-0 AFC Wimbledon: Dons survive after goalless draw

AFC Wimbledon have won 11 and lost 10 of Wally Downes’ 29 games in charge

AFC Wimbledon guaranteed another season of League One football after a goalless draw at bottom side Bradford City.

Bradford’s Kelvin Mellor and Anthony O’Connor had the best chances of a quiet first half as Dons keeper Aaron Ramsdale made some smart saves.

Wimbledon came to life after the break as Joe Pigott had an effort cleared off the line and Mitch Pinnock shot wide from the edge of the box.

The Dons’ run of just one loss in their final 12 games ensured a fourth successive season in the third tier as they avoided relegation by virtue of goal difference from Plymouth Argyle.

It is a remarkable escape for the club who were 10 points from safety fewer than three months ago – but just two defeats in that time saw them climb the table and move out of the bottom four last week after a 2-1 win over Wycombe.

Meanwhile, Bradford’s disastrous season came to an end having gone through three managers and won just 11 of their 46 matches to conclude the campaign nine points from safety.

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Ealing school cheese allergy death pupil ‘meant no harm’

Ealing school cheese allergy death pupil 'meant no harm'

William Perkin Church of England High School

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The boy told the inquest he did not know how serious allergies could be

A boy who flicked a piece of cheese at a teenager with a dairy allergy who later died did not mean to harm him, an inquest has heard.

Karanbir Cheema, 13, who also had other allergies and asthma, suffered from a severe reaction at his school in west London on 28 June 2017.

He was taken to hospital in a life-threatening condition and died two weeks later.

An inquest into Karanbir’s death heard a piece of cheese landed on his neck.

A boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told Poplar Coroner’s Court he did not know why he threw the cheese, describing it as “immature behaviour.”

The court heard he was given it by a friend during break time at William Perkin Church of England High School in Ealing.

‘Extremely diligent’

He then threw the piece of cheese at Karanbir – but said he was not specifically his target.

“After that he just said ‘I am allergic to cheese’,” the boy said.

“I apologised and went to class after.”

The boy admitted he did not know how serious allergies could be and thought they could simply cause a rash or fever.

“I didn’t mean to hurt him and obviously I feel bad now”, the boy said.

Epipen ‘expired’

In a statement, Karanbir’s mother Rina said her son was “extremely diligent” at managing his allergies.

Informed that cheese had been put down his neck, she said a consultant at the hospital questioned this because contact through the skin would not cause such a bad reaction.

Giving evidence, Rajvnder Saini who worked at the school, said an Epipen kept in the school for Karanbir had expired in July 2016.

An email was sent to the boy’s mother in February 2017 to inform her, the court heard.

The inquest continues.

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CCTV of double rape suspect released

CCTV of double rape suspect released

Double rape suspect

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Met Police

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Police say the suspect has a distinctive tattoo of the word “bobbie” on his stomach

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Detectives investigating the abduction and rape of two women in linked attacks have released an image of a suspect.

The first victim was taken in Chingford, north London, at about 00:30 BST on Thursday, while the second was targeted 12 hours later in Edgware.

Both women, in their 20s, escaped following a struggle in Osborne Road, Watford, at about 14:30.

A man, 33, has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to rape. The hunt for the rapist continues.

The Met Police has released images of a suspect attempting to book a hotel room in the Watford area at about 13:00 on Thursday. When one was unavailable, he left the premises.

The suspect is described as white, of muscular build, aged in his late 20s or early 30s, with a bald head or shaved blond hair and a light-coloured short beard.

He is described as having a distinctive tattoo of the word “bobbie” on his stomach.

‘Appalling crimes’

He was believed to have been driving a silver or grey-coloured Ford S-Max people carrier, with false registration plates.

Det Ch Insp Katherine Goodwin urged the public to come forward and report any unfamiliar parked cars matching its description.

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The victims, both in their 20s, managed to escape following a struggle in Osborne Road, Watford

She warned people not to approach the suspect and to call 999.

“Our investigation into these appalling crimes is making good process but we urgently need the help of the public to identify and trace this man.

“It is vitally important we catch this man, and while stranger attacks of this nature are thankfully rare, we would urge people to remain vigilant.”

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Extinction Rebellion London activists gather as protests end

Extinction Rebellion London activists gather as protests end

Protesters gathered at Speakers' Corner

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Extinction Rebellion supporters gathered at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park for a “closing ceremony”

Climate activists gathered to mark the end of protests that caused 11 days of disruption across London.

More than 1,100 people have been arrested since campaigners from Extinction Rebellion first blocked traffic in the capital on 15 April.

On the final day of action, protesters blocked roads, climbed on a train and glued themselves together in London’s financial district.

Hundreds of people met in Hyde Park for a “closing ceremony”.

Campaigners sat on the grass next to Speaker’s Corner – widely considered London’s home of free speech – singing and listening to musicians.

Transport for London said all roads are open around Marble Arch.

Skeena Rathor, of Extinction Rebellion, welcomed the “rebels” to the ceremony and described the crowd as “beautiful beings”, adding: “This is our pause ceremony.

“Welcome to the beginning of our pause.”

She invited the crowd to “begin a process of reflection”, adding: “Thank you for what you have done this week. It is enormous. It is beyond words.”

The crowd cheered and clapped when a speaker said “the police were amazing” during the days of blockades.

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Protesters cleaned the roads of chalked messages as they packed up their camp at Marble Arch

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Musicians at Marble Arch marked the final day of action

“We will leave the physical locations but a space for truth-telling has been opened up in the world,” event organisers said on their Facebook page.

“We would like to thank Londoners for opening their hearts and demonstrating their willingness to act on that truth.

“We know we have disrupted your lives. We do not do this lightly. We only do this because this is an emergency.”

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Nine protesters glued themselves together in a chain to stop people entering the Treasury in Westminster

Extinction Rebellion is urging the government to “tell the truth” about the scale of the climate crisis. It wants the UK to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and a Citizens’ Assembly set up to oversee the changes needed to achieve this.

On Thursday, 26 people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass outside the Stock Exchange and on Fleet Street, bringing the total number of arrests up to 1,130 since the protests began on 15 April, the Met Police said.

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Media captionProtesters blocked the London Stock Exchange and climbed on top of a Docklands Light Railway train

Four people stood on top of a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) train while another glued herself to a train.

Five people were arrested on suspicion of obstructing the railway, the British Transport Police said.

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Fleet Street was blocked by activists as part of a focus on the city’s financial district

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Four people climbed on an DLR train at Canary Wharf

Meanwhile, Dame Emma Thompson, who joined the activists on Saturday, has defended flying from Los Angeles to London to take part.

The actress said it was “very difficult to do my job without occasionally flying” but she was “in the very fortunate position of being able to offset my carbon footprint”.

More than 10,000 police officers have been deployed during the action.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the protests had been a “huge challenge for our over-stretched and under-resourced Metropolitan Police”.

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Dame Emma Thompson joined the protests on Saturday

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Traffic was blocked during short protests opposite the Bank of England

The Met said on Wednesday it had imposed new conditions under the Public Order Act on the protest area in Marble Arch, making it a criminal offence to protest outside a designated area or incite others to protest outside of it.

The conditions will remain in force until Saturday.

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Phil Kingston, 83, was among those taken to custody over the protest at Canary Wharf

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Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK set for 3 June

Donald Trump's state visit to the UK set for 3 June

The Queen walks alongside Donald Trump as the US President inspects the guard of honour during a welcome ceremony at Windsor Castle on 13 July 2018

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US President Donald Trump will make a three-day state visit to the UK from 3 to 5 June, Buckingham Palace has announced.

The president and First Lady Melania Trump will be guests of the Queen and attend a ceremony in Portsmouth to mark 75 years since the D-Day landings.

He will also have official talks with the prime minister at Downing Street.

Mr Trump previously met the Queen at Windsor Castle when he came to the UK in July 2018 on a working visit.

The White House said the upcoming trip would reaffirm the “steadfast and special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom”.

The president was promised a state visit by Prime Minister Theresa May after he was elected in 2016 – but no date was set.

Mrs May said June’s state visit was an “opportunity to strengthen our already close relationship in areas such as trade, investment, security and defence, and to discuss how we can build on these ties in the years ahead”.

But shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry voiced concerns about the visit, saying: “It beggars belief that on the very same day Donald Trump is threatening to veto a United Nations resolution against the use of rape as a weapon of war, Theresa May is pressing ahead with her plans to honour him with a state visit to the UK.”

Representatives of other countries invited to the Portsmouth event on 5 June include those from Canada, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Luxembourg, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Greece, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Portsmouth was one of the key embarkation points for many of the landing craft on D-Day, when, during World War Two, Allied forces invaded Nazi-occupied France marking the beginning of the end for Adolf Hitler’s domination of Europe.

The June gathering on Southsea Common will involve live performances, military displays and tributes to the Allied troops who fought in Normandy, including at least 11 Royal Navy vessels in the Solent and a flypast of 26 RAF aircraft.

After leaving the UK, Mr Trump and his wife will travel to France for a series of D-Day anniversary events on 6 June itself.

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GEOFF PUGH/ AFP/ Getty images

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First Lady Melania Trump, her husband and Theresa May on the steps of Blenheim Palace on July 12, 2018

The president’s last visit to the UK – when he had talks with Mrs May at Chequers before heading to Scotland, where he owns the Turnberry golf course – was marked by demonstrations.

In London, thousands of people took to the streets to voice their concerns.

And in Scotland, people showed their displeasure, both in Edinburgh and at Turnberry.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council estimated that the police operation for the president’s 2018 visit cost nearly £18m.

It said 10,000 officers from across the country were needed to cover the occasion.

The campaigners behind the 2018 protests – the Stop Trump Coalition and Stand Up To Trump – have vowed to mobilise “huge numbers” once again in response to the visit.

Shaista Aziz from the Stop Trump Coalition criticised the US president’s “politics of hate and bigotry”, while Sabby Dhalu from Stand Up To Trump called for people to “take to the streets and say clearly that Donald Trump is not welcome here”.

A spokeswoman for Commons Speaker John Bercow said a request for Mr Trump to address Parliament – an event often associated with a state visit – would be “considered in the usual way”, but did not say whether a request had yet been received.

Mr Bercow – who, as Speaker, has the power to veto who addresses Parliament – previously said he would be “strongly opposed” to Mr Trump addressing the Houses of Parliament during a state visit.

BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond said Mr Trump avoided London on his last visit and made it clear he did not particularly want to come to the capital if he was going to face protests.

However, our correspondent said a key part of a state visit is the procession down the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace and it is thought protesters will gather there – not a first for a state visit.

Once inside Buckingham Palace, it is expected the Queen will host a banquet for around 150 guests in Mr Trump’s honour.

The Queen has hosted two previous state visits from US presidents – George W Bush in November 2003, and Barack Obama in May 2011.

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Ben Tavener/ BBC

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A Trump “baby blimp” hovered above Parliament Square during the 2018 protest

What is a state visit?

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The Queen welcomed President Barack Obama to Buckingham Palace in 2011

A state visit is a formal visit by a head of state and is normally at the invitation of the Queen, who acts on advice from the government.

State visits are grand occasions, but they are not just ceremonial affairs. They have political purpose and are used by the government of the day to further what it sees as Britain’s national interests.

Once the location and dates are confirmed, the government, the visiting government and the royal household will agree on a detailed schedule.

So what is involved?

The Queen acts as the official host for the duration of the trip, and visitors usually stay at either Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.

There is usually a state banquet, and a visit to – and speeches at – the Houses of Parliament may be included. The Speaker of the House of Commons is one of three “key holders” to Westminster Hall, and as such, effectively holds a veto over who addresses Parliament.

The Queen usually receives one or two heads of state a year. She has hosted 109 state visits since becoming monarch in 1952.

The last state visit to the UK was in October, when King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands came for two days.

The official website of the Queen and the Royal Family has a full list of all state visits since then, including details of how the ceremonies unfold.

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European Challenge Cup semi-final: ASM Clermont Auvergne 32-27 Harlequins

European Challenge Cup semi-final: ASM Clermont Auvergne 32-27 Harlequins

Damian Penaud scored a superb individual try for Clermont in the first half
European Challenge Cup
ASM Clermont Auvergne (26) 32
Tries: Lee, Penaud Cons: Parra 2 Pens: Parra 4 Drop goals: Lopez 2
Harlequins (8) 27
Tries: Brown, Robshaw, Lang, Dombrandt Cons: Smith 2 Pen: Smith

Clermont Auvergne proved too strong for Premiership side Harlequins in the European Challenge Cup semi-final.

Tries from Fritz Lee and Damian Penaud gave the Top 14 side the perfect platform to lead 26-8 at the break.

Despite tries from Mike Brown, Chris Robshaw, James Lang and Alex Dombrandt, Quins could not complete a memorable comeback after trailing 32-8.

Morgan Parra notched 16 points with his boot for the hosts alongside two early drop goals from Camille Lopez.

Clermont will face La Rochelle in an all-French final in Newcastle in May after they beat Sale 24-20 in the other semi-final.

Harlequins held their own during the opening quarter but Clermont took control in the closing stages of the first half when number eight Fritz and France winger Penaud both crossed in the space of four minutes.

Brown’s try did see Quins mount a response but another Parra penalty gave the hosts a 26-8 lead at half-time.

France scrum-half Parra stretched that advantage with two more penalties before Ross Chisholm was denied a try when Dombrandt brushed the touchline with his left boot as he tried to offload.

Rather than knock the stuffing out of Paul Gustard’s side, it galvanised them as first Robshaw dotted down under the posts and then replacement centre Lang latched on to Marcus Smith’s grubber kick to bring them within 10 points.

Back row Dombrant then got underneath a rolling maul for Quins’ fourth try in the dying seconds, but there was no more time to steal the restart off two-time winners Clermont.

Clermont Auvergne: Tuicuvu; Penaud, Moala, Fofana, Raka; Lopez, Parra; Falgoux, Kayser, Slimani, Timani, Vahaamahina, Iturria, Lapandry, Lee.

Replacements: Ulugia, Kakabadze, Simutoga, Jedrasiak, Chouly, Laidlaw, Nanai Williams, Betham.

Harlequins: Brown; R Chisholm, Alofa, Tapuai, Walker; Smith, Hidalgo-Clyne; Marler, Buchanan, Sinckler, Symons, Glynn, Clifford, Robshaw (capt), Dombrandt.

Replacements: Elia, Auterac, Ibuanokpe, South, Kunatani, Saunders, Lang, Saili.

Referee: John Lacey (Ire)

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