Quins make their point
Converted Brown and Monye tries rescue a draw for hosts
By Phil Jackson. Last Updated: 28/12/08 6:58pm
Monye: Match-saving try
A last-gasp converted try from Ugo Monye gave Harlequins a 26-26 draw with Leicester at Twickenham on Saturday.
Johne Murphy and Tom Croft tries either side of half-time had looked to have wrapped up the points for the Tigers, but first Mike Brown and then England winger Monye scored as Quins ended a run of 11 straight defeats in all competitions against their rivals.
Nick Evans kicked the tight angled conversion to level the scores in the final minute and the Londoners' leapfrog Saracens into sixth in the Guinness Premiership as a result, just a point behind the Tigers in fifth.
It was a frenetic and indisciplined start to the Twickenham showpiece in front of a 50,000-strong crowd - a record for a regular season game - with the hosts taking an early lead after Julien Dupuy's attempted clearance was charged down by Nick Easter in the first minute.
Evans went on to kick the Londoners into a 3-0 lead and Leicester then contrived to waste a great scoring opportunity of their own as Gonzalo Tiesi's late replacement De Wet Barry was allowed to make a try saving tackle on Murphy with the line beckoning.
Benjamin Kayser then went close for the Tigers, but for a hand in touch, although Toby Flood did kick the visitors back to parity after Quins collapsed Leicester's scrum on five metres.
Jordan Turner-Hall went on to show himself to be a very effective battering ram thereafter though and Evans put Quins back into the lead at 6-3.
England fly-half Flood then missed a second chance to level the scores as the penalty count began to rise and worse was to come for Leicester as France international hooker Kayser was sin-binned for hands in the ruck.
Evans made the Tigers pay with his third penalty conversion five minutes later, but the Londoners then saw skipper Will Skinner yellow-carded for hands in the ruck as the visitors were allowed to take control of the game.
Flood kicked his second and third penalties after the half hour mark as the scores were levelled and England winger Monye committed a fatal error in failing to deal with Dupuy's hacked kick towards the Quins 22, allowing Murphy to nip in and collect the loose ball for a converted try as the Tigers went into half-time leading 16-9.
It was a much more measured start to the second-half from both teams and it took a great bit of pace from Murphy to unlock Quins' backline 10 minutes after the restart.
The winger showed electric feet on halfway to outpace the Londoners' defence on the blindside, skipping through two tackles, before he then sent Croft over for a second converted try to Leicester.
The visitors led 23-9 at that stage, but Quins struck back immediately as Tom Williams fell just short of the tryline before Brown rounded off a sustained spell of pressure by breaking through Flood's tackle to earn the hosts a first converted try.
The revival appeared short-lived as first Evans and then Barry came up just short of the Leicester line before discipline again proved the hosts' undoing. Easter it was who gave away the penalty for Flood to make it 26-16 to Leicester with less than 10 minutes remaining.
But a late penalty for Evans and a Lewis Moody sin-binning allowed Monye in at the corner flag to reduce the deficit to two and Evans held his nerve to kick the teams level as Quins improved their dreadful record against the Tigers.