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Big Match Preview: Harlequins v Leicester Tigers

Big Match Preview: Harlequins v Leicester Tigers

The big games keep on coming towards the end of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby season and this Friday we have another treat, with implications at both ends of the table.

Leicester Tigers come calling to the Twickenham Stoop to take on Harlequins, live on BT Sport under the Friday night lights.

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What’s at stake?

Firstly, the home side, on a tricky run of form but with the top four still very much in their grasp, Harlequins need to get back to winning ways if they are to make the Gallagher Premiership Rugby semi-finals.

Paul Gustard’s men are currently fifth but level on 51 points with Northampton Saints above them, and three ahead of Sale Sharks in sixth.

The Tigers, meanwhile, are not out of the woods just yet and need points to guarantee safety for the season, with Newcastle Falcons nine points below them but still with two games to make up the deficit.

Form so far

The second half of Harlequins’ season has been a story of two tales, firstly winning five games on the trot but now on a run of five straight defeats.

Some of those defeats have been narrow though and none more so than last weekend, when they lost out 17-15 to Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park.

Leicester are also in patchy form themselves, they’ve lost three on the spin at Welford Road but can point to the Round 19 away win at Newcastle Falcons as a model for success on Friday.

Last meeting

These two sides played out an entertaining fixture back in Round 10 of Gallagher Premiership Rugby, as Jonah Holmes inspired Leicester to end a long winless streak.

Holmes crossed early in the match and Quins’ James Lang reduced the deficit midway through the half, before fly-half George Ford built the lead to 13-6.

Straight from a restart, the Tigers were gifted an early Christmas present as Holmes clinched his second try of the match with an electric dash to the line after Tatafu Polota-Nau’s pass.

Lang and Ford traded penalties once again to ensure Tigers went in 23-9 up at half-time.

The Quins fly-half delivered a fourth successful strike, but it mattered little as Manu Tuilagi fought his way over the try line to dab down for his first of the season.

Harlequins responded with scores for Cadan Murley and Alex Dombrandt, but Jonny May also got over in the final quarter to seal the bonus-point win.

Key players

These two sides are packed with internationals and interestingly it seems to be four men on the fringes of Eddie Jones’ England squad at present who are driving Harlequins on.

At fly-half Marcus Smith is in excellent form, as displayed in the Challenge Cup away at Clermont Auvergne, while Mike Brown was also superb in that match and is ever reliable.

In the forwards, Chris Robshaw is as industrious as ever while Alex Dombrandt will continue to punch holes all season long.

For Leicester, England’s George Ford has maintained the highest of standards all season and Guy Thompson has worked wonders in the forwards.

How Tigers fans would like to see more of the electrifying Telusa Veainu this weekend too, he was back among the replacements against Bristol.

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