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Leicester Tigers 9 Harlequins 22

22 Sep 2012
Leicester Tigers 9 Harlequins 22

Harlequins made it back-to-back wins at Welford Road as the Aviva Premiership champions’ high-tempo game proved too much for Leicester Tigers in a 22-9 win.

The Tigers have been unbeaten at home since their 27-18 loss to Quins last year, a period of 11 months, but the hosts did scratch their visitors’ perfect record this season by denying them a try-bonus point.

Quins’ solitary try came from wing Tom Williams while Nick Evans kicked 14 points and Danny Care hit a drop goal.

But there were negatives for the Londoners as both Williams and his replacement Ross Chisholm limped off injured.

Last season’s finalists prodded each other for weaknesses in the opening stages, Evans and Flood trading early penalties.

Although Flood edged the hosts ahead by slotting a penalty on 18 minutes it was the Tigers who were the first to duck a punch as Quins wing Williams, as he did in May’s final, scored the first try.

Evans made the half-break and off loaded to lock George Robson who copied his fly-half to get the ball out of the tackle and into the arms of the grateful Williams who ran in.

Referee Dave Pearson went upstairs to check for a forward pass from Robson but the try stood, unlike the try scorer Williams who was injured in the act of scoring.

Chisholm replaced him while Evans eased over the conversion for a 10-6 lead.

That gave Quins belief and Care hit an audacious snap drop goal after picking up the ball at the ruck on the half-hour mark.

Inevitably Leicester’s pack engineered an opportunity for Flood to cancel it out immediately when they won a penalty from their dominant scrum but the England fly-half pulled it wide.

His error was contagious for Evans who erred with his next attempt on goal by hitting the upright, his first failure in 18 kicks at goal.

Quins started the second half at the same high tempo they ended the first, with Brown turning down a kickable penalty to take a quick tap.

It almost led to a try as several phases later, Brown swooped to pick up a loose ball but Tigers flanker Steve Mafi held him back.

From the penalty, awarded after consultation with the TMO, Quins backed their scrum but couldn’t work an opening in Tigers’ defensive wall.

They plugged away but Evans decided to cut their losses and took the next opportunity to kick at goal, his success making it 16-6.

Leicester then completely refreshed their front row, bringing on Dan Cole, Logovi’i Mulipola, and hooker George Chuter.

And it was the Samoan prop’s presence which distracted Quins’ defence and allowed scrum-half Sam Harrison to make a break up the centre of the pitch.

He got the pass away to Mulipola but Cole ploughed into the side of the ruck to give the penalty away and Quins escaped.

But Tigers were in the ascendancy and only a desperate tackle from Chisholm stopped Julian Salvi from scoring, the winger injuring his leg in the process.

Two minutes later Flood knocked over a penalty after Quins were penalised at the scrum but Tigers’ own indiscipline cost them when they pulled down a maul and Evans restored the 10-point lead.

Six minutes from time he sealed the win with his fourth penalty to keep the champions at the top of the table.

For more news, try out Harlequins Leicester Tigers Match Report