LONDON Irish made a winning return to the Aviva Premiership after beating Harlequins 39-29 at the London Double Header.

The Exiles ran in four tries at Twickenham on Saturday to secure a bonus point from their first fixture back in the top flight, with Tommy Bell scoring once and adding 19 points from the boot.

A tight start between the teams saw Exiles 6-3 ahead midway through the first half following two Bell penalties, with 18-year-old Marcus Smith on target for Quins.

Irish then notched the game’s first touchdown through Topy Ojo after the club’s record try scorer collected James Marshall’s kick, raced past former Exile Marland Yarde then exchanges passes with Fergus Mulchrone before crossing the whitewash, with Bell’s conversion putting them 13-3 up.

It got even better for Nick Kennedy’s side with 31 minutes gone when a superb offload from Blair Cowan sent the impressive Bell darting over for another score.

Quins, though, hit back four minutes later when Jamie Roberts sent Joe Marchant on his way to the line, with Smith’s conversion pulling it back to 18-10.

Bell and Smith then traded penalties either side of the break before Bell slotted another to put Exiles 24-10 in front.

Irish were now on top and Quins’ task was made that much harder when Demetri Catrakilis received a yellow card in the 54th minute for an infringement at the ruck.

And Irish were quick to rub salt into their wounds when Ofisa Treviranus collected a Brendan McKibbin and powered his way over for his team’s third try and a comfortable 29-10 lead.

But Kennedy’s men were not in the clear, and they were soon rocked by a spirited Quins fightback that saw Danny Care, Charlie Walker and Yarde all cross the line, despite losing Mike Brown to the sin bin.

However, just when Quins looked like they may pull off an unlikely win, Irish grabbed a fourth try and a bonus point when McKibbin dabbed down to secure a memorable victory.

Kennedy beamed: "Overall I was very pleased with the performance but there is a lot to learn, some errors that cost us, so a lot to take away from that game.

"We're not getting carried away. One game means nothing, we've got a lot to do to properly earn people's respect."

Quins director of rugby John Kingston admitted: "It's really frustrating, to a degree we did enough to win the match.

"We played some good rugby and scored four tries, but time and time again we didn't put ourselves in a position to control the game and that cost us. It was like pushing water up a hill at points.”

Exiles travel to last season’s Aviva Premiership champions Exeter Chiefs next Saturday (3pm).

London Irish: Bell; Lewington, Hearn, Mulchrone, Ojo; Marshall, Steele; Hobbs-Awoyemi, Paice (capt), Du Plessis, van der Merwe, De Chaves, Coman, Cowan, Treviranus. Subs: Porecki, Reid, Franks, McNally, Gilsenan, McKibbin, Tonks, Tikoirotuma.

Quins: Brown; Yarde, Marchant, Roberts, Walker; Smith, Care; Marler, Buchanan, Collier, Glynn, Horwill (capt), Robshaw, Ward, Clifford. Subs: Gray, Lambert, Sinckler, Merrick, Luamanu, Mulchrone, Catrakilis, Stanley.