Match Reports

Leicester outclass Harlequins at Welford Road

Sunday, 20th November 2016 @ 15:00

It was a frustrating afternoon for Harlequins as they fell 25-6 away to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

Harlequins returned to the Aviva Premiership after a successful fortnight in the Anglo-Welsh Cup but a try-less first half saw them trail 9-6 at the break.

In the second half the home side ran away with the contest as a kicking master class by Freddie Burns saw his Leicester Tigers ease to a comfortable 25-6 win.

Harlequins had arrived at Welford Road with some form behind them. They had won five of their previous six competitive fixtures and also picked up their first away win of the season against Ospreys the weekend prior.

Though in an even first half both sides plugged away without creating any serious chances.

Nick Evans and Freddie Burns would kick a pair of penalties each in the opening quarter as cold and wet conditions would force both side to make mistakes with ball in hand.

With five minutes to play in the half, and Quins under pressure, Charlie Matthews would rise high to steal a line out in his own 22 before conceding a penalty only a few phases later. That would set Burns up to slot home his third penalty and give the home side a 9-6 advantage at the break.

In the second forty it was all Leicester. Both sides had gone to the skies regularly all match but the boot of Burns began to turn the match in his side’s favour.

First, by pegging Harlequins back deep in their own half with great tactical kicking. Secondly by slotting home a penalty and a drop goal to extend the lead. And finally, by providing the chip that would set up Owen Williams to score the only try of the match. 

With only 55 minutes gone there was still plenty of time for Harlequins to overturn the 22-6 deficit but mistakes would continue to cost them. Handling errors and turnovers at the breakdown were made worse as replacement Tim Swiel missed touch on back-to-back penalties. The Londoners never managing to pick up any momentum.

It would prove costly as Burns would once again head down field and kick a penalty, his 20th point of the afternoon.

With an hour gone and a 25-6 lead to Leicester the contest was all but over though a few more notable moments would close out the game.

In the 70th minute Mike Fitzgerald was shown a yellow card for a tip tackle on James Chisholm, however Chisholm would join him in the sin bin for his retaliation.

A few minutes later injury was added to insult as James Horwill was replaced after horrifically fracturing his finger, which was graphically shown on screen.

Both sides would falter on attack in the closing stages as neither could cross from close range attacking mauls. Referee Maxwell-Keys eventually blew his whistle on  proceedings with Leicester running out comfortable 25-6 winners.

Harlequins now sit eighth on the table ahead of a visit from high-flying Bath Rugby in seven days time. Only limited tickets remain for the match next Sunday at The Stoop in what is lining up to be a crucial encounter for Harlequins.