Planet Rugby

Quins beat Tigers in Stoop thriller

18th April 2014 20:42

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danny care scampers away harlequins v leicester 2014

Scampering: Danny Care

A late Harlequins rally saw Conor O'Shea's men down Leicester Tigers 24-20 in an exciting encounter at The Stoop on Friday.

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.

The scorers:

For Harlequins:
Tries: Penalty try, Brown
Con: Evans
Pens: Evans 2, Botica
Yellow card: Robson

For Leicester:
Tries: Goneva, Gibson
Cons: Flood 2
Pens: Flood 2
Yellow cards: Matera, Salvi

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 13 Tim Molenaar, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Luke Wallace, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Tom Guest, 20 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ross Chisholm.

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Ed Slater (c), 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Pablo Matera, 21 David Mele, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Niall Morris.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant Referees: Andy Watson, Roy Maybank
TMO: Sean Davey

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