Preview: Harlequins v Leicester

Date published: April 20 2012

Harlequins go into their final regular-season home game looking to secure a top two finish in the Premiership when they face Leicester.

Harlequins go into their final regular-season home game looking to secure a top two finish in the 2011/12 Aviva Premiership when they face Leicester.

Sam Smith retains his place on the left wing after last weekend's man-of-the-match performance, with Mike Brown and Ugo Monye in the back-three. Nick Evans returns at fly-half outside Danny Care at nine. Jordan Turner-Hall and George Lowe continue at centre in front of a sell-out crowd.

The starting pack remains unchanged from last week's victory over Wasps. Joe Marler, Rob Buchanan and James Johnston provide the front-row. Olly Kohn and George Robson remain in the second-row. Maurie Fa'asavalu continues at blindside alongside captain Chris Robshaw and Nick Easter at number eight.

The replacements see Aston Croall, Mark Lambert, Will Collier covering in the front-row. Tomas Vallejos and Tom Guest will looking to impact in the second and back-row respectively. Karl Dickson and Rory Clegg cover at half-back, while Ross Chisholm covers the remainder of the backline.

Meanwhile, full-back Geordan Murphy returns to lead out Leicester Tigers in the top-of-the-table encounter at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.

Skipper Murphy missed Leicester's bonus-point win at Northampton last weekend but is fit to resume at Quins in the only change to the starting line-up.

Second-rower Graham Kitchener comes in for Craig Newby among the replacements and Scott Hamilton provides cover in the backline.

“We've got a tough run-in but we started that with a win in a very difficult game at Northampton last weekend and now we go to Quins before the last round against Bath,” said Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

“Harlequins have proved themselves over the course of a long season – they won at Welford Road, they beat Toulouse in Europe and they beat Saracens at Wembley just a few weeks ago, so they are still going well.

“We've been playing well too, we've got ourselves into a good position now and we are still going hard for a place in the semi-finals.”

Form: Harlequins have already qualified for the semi-finals, and if they prevent Tigers winning this game it will be at home, whilst their only reversal in their last seven Aviva Premiership Rugby matches was 23-29 at Gloucester in Round 16. Leicester Tigers have picked up maximum points from their last five Premiership matches and require just two further league points to reach the play-offs for the eighth successive season. Tigers have suffered just one defeat to an English side since Harlequins visited Welford Road on 8 October. In 27 previous encounters between the two clubs Harlequins have won just twice – in October and 17-9 at Twickenham Stoop on 19 April 2003. Harlequins have never managed a league double over Leicester in the same season.

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The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Ugo Monye, 13 George Lowe, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (capt), 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Aston Croall, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Tomas Vallejos, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Ross Chisholm.

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy (capt), 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 George Skivington, 3 Dan Cole, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Steve Mafi, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Scott Hamilton.

Date: Saturday, April 21
Kick-off: 15:15 BST
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Greg Garner, Roy Maybank
Television match official: David Grashoff