Harlequins edge Leicester in Premiership thriller

Harlequins kept their Aviva Premiership hopes alive when the narrowly beat Leicester Tigers 24-20 at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday night.

Mike Brown’s try and Ben Botica’s penalty saw the hosts over turn a 20-16 deficit
in the final stages, after a five-pointer from Niki Goneva and three penalties
from the boot of Toby Flood had given Leicester the lead.

Nothing could separate the sides as they went in locked at 13-13 at the break.
Leicester had taken a 13-3 advatange through the Fijian’s score – keeping him
top of the league try-scoring chart – and two Flood penalties, but Quins hit
back to level via Nick Evans’ second three-pointer and a penalty try.

The contest continued to remain tight after the interval as Evans gave the
London-based outfit the advantage for the first time before Jamie Gibson’s try
took the away team 20-16 ahead.

However, Brown’s score and Botica’s late penalty secured a vital win for Harlequins.

Despite a frustrating campaign for the Tigers, where they have struggled to
find their fluency, Richard Cockerill’s men have finally found their form over
the last two months, winning their previous seven matches going into this game.

And Leicester started the match impressively. Flood opened the scoring in the
first minute, following a Quins’ infringement from the kick-off, before an outstanding
team try saw Goneva latch onto Ed Slater’s and Jordan Crane’s good work to touch
down.

O’Shea’s side came back into the encounter, though, with Danny Care and Evans
combining well at half-back, and it was the fly-half that secured the hosts’
first points via a penalty.

The respective fly-half then traded three-pointers, but the home side were
beginning to get on top and nearly scored when Luke Wallace went over the line.

Although the back-row was ruled to be held up, from the resultant scrum Harlequins
drove towards the whitewash and referee Tim Wigglesworth awarded a penalty try
which levelled proceedings at the interval.

Quins started the second period like they ended the first and almost crossed
twice in quick succession through Brown and Kyle Sinckler, but an Evans effort
from the tee was the only reward for their dominance.

Having failed to take one of those try-scoring opportunities, they paid the
price for that profligacy when Manu Tuilagi made a significant dent into the
hosts’ rearguard.

O’Shea’s team infringed and a quick Julian Salvi tap took them unawares as
Gibson powered over.

Despite the quality of the game, it was also feisty throughout with the contest
at the contact area particularly ferocious.

That intensity spilled over when Pablo Matera tip-tackled Dave Ward off the
ball and George Robson responded by taking out the back-row. Both were yellow
carded but it was Quins who took advantage of the extra space when Brown touched
down.

Leicester were now rattled and Salvi became another player to see yellow as
the home side secured the victory through the boot of Botica.

Final Score Harlequins (13) 24 Leicester Tigers (13) 20

Scorers

Harlequins
Tries – Penalty try, Brown
Pen – Evans 3,Botica
Con – Evans
Drop –

Leicester Tigers
Tries – Goneva, Gibson
Pen – Flood 2
Con – Flood 2
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee:
Tim Wigglesworth (83rd Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Andy Watson and Roy Maybank.
TMO: Sean Davey.

Teams

Harlequins

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