Aviva Premiership: Harlequins beat Leicester Tigers at the Stoop
Last Updated: 18/04/14 10:21pm
Nick Evans of Harlequins is tackled by Leicester's Toby Flood
Harlequins boosted their Aviva Premiership play-off hopes with a 24-20 victory over champions Leicester at the Twickenham Stoop.
A late try from England full-back Mike Brown earned Quins a crucial win which lifts them to within a point of fourth-placed Bath.
Quins replied to Vereniki Goneva's early try with a penalty try from a five-metre scrum and trailed again to Jamie Gibson's second-half try, before Brown's finish in the corner and Ben Botica's penalty.
In a feisty showdown in south west London, referee Tim Wigglesworth showed yellow cards to George Robson, Pablo Matera and Julian Salvi.
Matera had tip-tackled outstanding Quins hooker Dave Ward and Robson retaliated by clothes-lining Leicester's back row substitute, while Salvi saw yellow for a professional foul.
Club captain Toby Flood was restored to the Tigers' starting XV for the first time since February after being preferred to Owen Williams and he finished with 10 points.
Only a minute was on the clock when Flood drew first blood with a penalty and he was involved as the Tigers scored an early try, sending Ed Slater into space to leave the Quins defence scrambling.
Jordan Crane continued the move and slipped the scoring pass to Goneva, with technical difficulties resulting in a delay before the try was awarded by the TMO.
Trailing 10-0 after just five minutes, Quins responded with a high tempo spell launched by Brown and ending with a poor decision by Wigglesworth - who bizarrely award Leicester a penalty even though Anthony Allen had tackled Danny Care without the ball.
Quins fly-half Nick Evans and Flood kept the scoreboard moving with penalties amid the teams trading blows in open play and it took a muscular tackle from Brown to stop rapid American wing Blaine Scully.
Ward was involved in most of Quins' finest moments and a terrific kick through from Evans deserved a try, but centres Manu Tuilagi and Allen combined magnificently to deny Luke Wallace over the line.
The 2012 champions were controlling the second quarter and their endeavour was rewarded when Leicester's scrum disintegrated five metres from their own line and Wigglesworth awarded a penalty try.
Control turned into dominance in the second half with Quins visiting the opposition 22 with increasing regularity.
The TMO ruled out a try for Brown in the left corner after Scully had got a hand on the ball and a key intercept by Flood prevented a likely try in the opposite corner.
Quins took the lead for the first time in the 58th minute with an Evans penalty after Wigglesworth had wrongly penalised Marcos Ayerza, but the advantage lasted only seconds.
Tuilagi made a break and after two quick tap penalties in succession taken by Ben Youngs, blindside flanker Gibson forced his way over and Flood converted.
There were just 10 minutes remaining when Brown took Botica's long pass and fended off tackles from Tait and Scully to finish brilliantly in the corner.
The Tigers' woes continued when Salvi was sin-binned for playing the ball on the ground, before substitute Botica stretched the Quins lead with a penalty a minute from time.
Fri 24th Apr
Bath43 - 18London Irish
Sat 25th Apr
Sale Sharks23 - 25Harlequins
Gloucester42 - 40Newcastle Falcons
Leicester Tigers38 - 17London Welsh
Northampton25 - 20Saracens
Sun 26th Apr
Fri 8th May
Harlequins0 - 0Bath
Sat 9th May
Sale Sharks0 - 0Newcastle Falcons
Gloucester0 - 0London Irish
Northampton0 - 0London Welsh
Wasps0 - 0Leicester Tigers
Sun 10th May
Saracens0 - 0Exeter
Sat 16th May
Bath0 - 0Gloucester
Exeter0 - 0Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers0 - 0Northampton
London Irish0 - 0Wasps
London Welsh0 - 0Saracens
Newcastle Falcons0 - 0Harlequins
Aviva Premiership 2013/14 Round 20
Saracens strengthened their position at the top of the Aviva Premiership table with a 23-18 victory over Newcastle.
Bath first-team coach declined to criticise the referee for George Ford's yellow card during the win over Worcester.
Wasps moved into the European play-off spot with a 38-30 victory over Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership at Twickenham.