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Match Reaction: Harlequins 25 Leicester Tigers 19

Luke Wallace insists Harlequins are very much back on track after the flanker put in a superb defensive shift to hold out Leicester Tigers and help return his side to winning ways.

Wallace was a constant thorn in Leicester’s side, tallying a personal haul of 15 tackles, while Ben Botica did the job from the tee.

Botica totalled 20 points – including six penalties and one conversion – before Marland Yarde looked to have slammed the door shut on Leicester with a late try.

However, they were made to cling on for their 25-19 victory in the final stages after Tigers, camped in Harlequins’ half, rattled through 21 phases.

And according to Wallace, it was just the boost Harlequins needed before meeting an in-form Wasps, as they ended a three-game losing streak in Aviva Premiership Rugby.

“I think that last five minutes was a case of, after everything we did wrong last week, we did right. “

“We worked for each other, we were being physical, and we need to keep that up for the rest of the season.

“We had a focus of getting off the line hard, and though it came to me most of the time, that’s because the guys on the outside of me were pushing them back towards me. We held them at the gain-line.

“We had to be very honest to ourselves last week, it was an unacceptable performance against Gloucester.

“To put in the performance we did here is a real stepping stone and it will give us confidence moving forward against a very strong Wasps side next week.”

It sees Harlequins leapfrog Leicester into third, with Richard Cockerill’s men sinking to their third league loss in a row.

Oli Bryant, a first-time Aviva Premiership Rugby starter for Leicester, kept his nerve to kick three penalties in the first half while Harry Thacker scored a second-half try.

Freddie Burns added a further five points after coming on as a replacement but it was not to be, and director of rugby Cockerill admits too many errors are creeping into his side’s game.

“We need to be more accurate, we created opportunities but we gain them 18 points in penalties and try by being inaccurate,” he said.

“It cost us – I keep saying it but we’ve got to look at ourselves, keep working hard and we have to turn it round. That’s three losses on the bounce and we need to get back to winning ways as soon as possible.

“We’ll get it sorted I’m sure but at this point it’s very, very disappointing. We’re trying to play, we’re trying to evolve our game, but we’ve got to learn to win first.

“We’re not here to have fun, we’re here to win first, and some of our players need to understand that before they start throwing the ball about.”
 
Harlequins: Chisholm; Yarde, Stanley, Sloan (Hopper 69), Visser; Botica, Tebaldi; Lambert, Ward (Gray 56), Jones (Sinckler 56); Horwill, Matthews (Merrick 56); Luamanu, Wallace, Easter
Not used: Evans, Chisholm, Egerton, Swiel

Leicester: Tait; Betham, de Villiers (Smith 76), Tuilagi, Veainu; Bryant (Burns 50), Harrison (Kitto 71); Ayerza, Ghiraldini, Balmain (Mulipola 66); Slater, Fitzgerald, Croft, O’Connor, Pearce
Not used: Brugnara, Kitchener, Crane

Scorers

Harlequins
Tries: Yarde
Conversions: Botica
Penalties: Botica 6

Leicester Tigers
Tries: Thacker
Penalties: Bryant 3, Burns
Conversions: Burns

Referee: JP Doyle
Attendance: 14,800
 

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