Quins stop the rot and keep pressure on Saints for play-off berth. 5th May 2019
Harlequins 23 Leicester Tigers 19
Gallagher Premiership Friday 3rd May 2019
Peter Moore at the Stoop
Chris Robshaw produced another man of the match performance to lead Harlequins to a crucial victory, in front of the watching Eddie Jones.
Semi Kunatani’s opportunist late try proved pivotal as Quins continued their pursuit of a play-off place.
On the day that Harlequins announced the following players would be leaving at the end of the season: Alofa Alofa, Lewis Boyce, Henry Cheeseman, Ben Glynn, James Horwill, Josh Ibuanokpe, Dave Lewis, Mat Luamanu, Josh McNulty, George Merrick, Stan South, Phil Swainston, Charlie Walker, Luke Wallace, Dave Ward and Calum Waters, Harlequins were looking to get themselves back to winning ways after suffering six straight defeats in the Premiership.
The hosts knew that a win tonight would put real pressure on Northampton Saints who sit just above Quins in fourth place- level on points 51, but ahead of Harlequins by virtue of points difference.
On a wet and windy night, it was Tigers who opened the scoring in the third minute from the boot of George Ford after the visitors were awarded a penalty. Within four minutes Harlequins hit back when Danny Care went over from short range following a line out after Smith went for the corner following a penalty. Quins were penalised shortly afterwards for being offside, with Ford successfully sending his effort over the posts.
Both sides traded penalties before Jack Clifford was shown a yellow card for a late tackle on Telusa Veainu. On the stroke of half-time the hosts were penalised for being offside, Ford had the simple task of three easy points from under the posts as Tigers held a slender two-point lead at the break 12-10.
Harlequins got themselves back into the lead after Tigers were penalised for collapsing at the scrum. Smith’s penalty kick sailed over the posts to swing the contest back in the way of the home side by a single point. Smith then landed a 40-metre penalty kick to stretch the lead to four points. The visitors continued to give away penalties with the momentum swinging back to Quins. Care almost had his second try of the night after a burst of space almost saw him go over, only to be tackled a yard short of the line.
With seven minutes remaining Game Changer Fijian Semi Kunatani burst through and crashed over. With James Lang converting from under the posts it gave Quins some much need breathing space. With the clock in red Tigers had one last chance to get a consolation try when Mike Fitzgerald crashed over. Ford’s conversion was successful to salvage a losing bonus point for the visitors, but not to deny Harlequins a crucial win.