Planet Rugby

Top spot for Harlequins

16th February 2013 19:06

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Reigning champions Harlequins went top of the Aviva Premiership table on Saturday after edging past Leicester 25-21 at the Twickenahm Stoop.

Danny Care's outstanding try was the catalyst as Harlequins came from behnind to claim a narrow victory.

In an exciting first half, the Tigers led 18-12 through Toby Flood and Adam Thompstone touchdowns, while the fly-half added a conversion and two penalties from the tee.

Quins' response before the break came through Ben Botica's boot before Care's superb individual score took the home side ahead. And two further Botica three-pointers to Flood's one in the second period moved Quins to the top of the standings.

Leicester knocked Quins off top-spot last weekend after they overcame London Welsh while the defending champs succumbed to Wasps. Against the High Wycombe side the hosts found themselves 14-0 down early on in the encounter and they never recovered. And Conor O'Shea's men were similarly slack in the opening exchanges versus the Tigers.

Despite dominating the first seven minutes, a loose pass was easily intercepted by Flood and the fly-half ran the length before adding the conversion.

The respective fly-halves then traded penalties, but successive kicks from Botica closed the gap to 10-9.

It was an excellent game of rugby with both sides looking to move the ball, but it was the kickers that were accruing most of the points. Botica and Flood were on target again to take the score to 13-12 in Leicester's favour before the visitors struck just before the interval.

Thompstone latched on to the Tigers' palymaker's superbly weighted grubber through and touched down in the corner.

Quins dominated the early exchanges of the second period and Care's stunning effort deservedly took them into the lead.

The hosts' pivot then increased that advantage with yet another successful kick from the tee, but the away side weren't finished and Flood got them to within one point.

However, they couldn't force the win and the home team sealed the triumph through Botica.

The scorers:

For Harlequins:
Try: Care
Con: Botica
Pen: Botica 6

For Leicester:
Tries: Flood, Thompstone
Con: Flood
Pen: Flood 3

Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Tom Guest. 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Easter (c), 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Jordan Burns, 22 Ben Botica, 23 George Lowe.

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Brett Deacon, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon (c), 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Kieran Brookes, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Micky Young, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Peter Huckle Ashley Rowden
Television match official: David Grashoff
Timekeeper: Roy Marfleet

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Harlequins vs Leicester19:45
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954