Fighting Leicester spirit dents Harlequins’ playoff hopes

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Ellis Genge ran riot as Leicester dealt Harlequins’ Gallagher Premiership play-off hopes a setback by successful 35-29 at Mattioli Woods Welford Street. England and Tigers prop Genge, an unfortunate omission from the British and Irish Lions’ South Africa tour squad, scored two tries as Tigers warmed up for subsequent Friday’s European Problem Cup closing in opposition to Montpellier by claiming a bonus-point win.

He was additionally yellow-carded, with Leicester briefly right down to 13 males in the course of the first half, however Genge’s blistering efficiency epitomised a bodily and purposeful Tigers show. Quins nonetheless maintain the fourth and closing playoff spot, however Northampton might cut back the hole in the event that they beat Newcastle on Monday.

With Genge main from the entrance, the Tigers surged clear by half-time by means of his double, plus tries by centre Matt Scott and hooker Tom Youngs. Fly-half George Ford kicked two penalties and three conversions, whereas Harlequins gained a penalty attempt to wings Nathan Earle (two) and Joe Marchant additionally scored, together with centre Luke Northmore.

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Marcus Smith added a conversion however missed three and whereas Harlequins completed with two bonus factors, a late Zack Henry penalty sealed Leicester’s victory regardless of a robust end from the guests. It was a day when Quins’ vaunted half-backs Smith and Danny Care made little impression as Tigers confirmed promising progress is being made underneath head coach Steve Borthwick.

Leicester made a lot of adjustments from the aspect overwhelmed by Sale Sharks final day trip, together with returns for captain Tom Youngs, No8 Jasper Wiese and full-back Freddie Steward. Quins, in the meantime, had been with out suspended full-back Mike Brown so Tyrone Inexperienced wore the quantity 15 shirt, centre Marchant moved to the wing and James Lang began in midfield.

Leicester, looking for to finish a run of three Premiership defeats, flew out of the blocks and had been forward after simply 5 minutes. Wings Nemani Nadolo and Man Porter gained preliminary territory earlier than Ford delivered a sweetly-timed move to Scott, whose attacking angle did for Quins’ defence, with Ford’s conversion making it 7-0. Leicester doubled their benefit simply 4 minutes later after Genge took a fast penalty and crashed over Quins’ line from shut vary, and one other Ford conversion left the guests going through some early soul-searching.

However their response was spectacular, as slick dealing with between Inexperienced and Marchant labored enough space for Earle to the touch down and open Quins’ account. The Leicester forwards, although, had been relishing their work, and once they drove a short-range lineout received by flanker George Martin, skipper Youngs completed off for Tigers’ third strive.

Ford once more transformed, but again got here Quins, laying siege to Leicester’s line following a strong lineout surge, and referee Luke Pearce dominated that Tigers intentionally collapsed the maul, awarding a penalty strive. Leicester prop Dan Cole was sin-binned in consequence, then Genge adopted him following an unlawful clear-out at a ruck.

Earle had been sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on, solely to then rejoin the motion, along with his yellow card not standing as Genge’s offence was earlier in the identical play. And there was no stopping Genge, who scored his second strive simply 4 minutes after occurring. It was the ultimate play of an eventful first half, with Leicester securing a 29-12 interval lead and gathering a strive bonus level.

A second Ford penalty took Leicester previous 30 factors, however Harlequins replied when Smith’s kick gave Marchant a simple end for a transformed strive after which Earle was despatched over for his second strive with 9 minutes left earlier than Northmore crossed. However Leicester had executed sufficient, and they’re going to head into their first European closing for twelve years on a excessive.

 

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