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Match report | Fitz provides late point

Leicester Tigers were beaten 23-19 at Harlequins on Friday evening but took a losing bonus point with a last-gasp try from Mike Fitzgerald in Round 21 of the Gallagher Premiership season.

Tigers, chasing the two points that would make them mathematically safe from the threat of relegation, led 12-10 at half-time thanks to four George Ford penalties, despite losing Guy Thompson and Mike Williams to injury.

But a period of indiscipline in the second half proved costly as Marcus Smith's penalties edged the hosts in front and they then grabbed a late try through Semi Kunatani following another penalty which looked like denying Tigers any reward for their evening's work.

Then, with the 80 minutes already elapsed, Fitzgerald dived over following a lineout in the left-hand corner to take the gap over bottom-of-the-table Newcastle to 10 points ahead of their Round 21 trip to Gloucester.

Telusa Veainu made his first Gallagher Premiership start since September and Sam Aspland-Robinson came into the backline against his former club.

Kick-off followed a minute’s silence in respect of victims of the events in Sri Lanka on Easter weekend and Quins quickly produced an overlap on the right side, only for Veainu to step in an intercept with two players on his outside.

Tigers kept hold of possession in the middle of the pitch and when Wayne Barnes penalised Quins on the floor, Ford kicked his team 3-0 in front with three minutes on the clock.

Quins turned down a possible kick at goal moments later when Tigers were penalised at a ruck, with Smith taking play into the 22, and the decision paid off when the lineout gave them good ball and, already paying with penalty advantage, Care dotted down on the line. Smith added the kick for a 7-3 lead.

Tigers showed good composure on the ball from the restart, carrying through the forwards and then looking for width from Jonny May before Quins were called for offside. Ford kicked the penalty to cut the deficit to a point with 15 minutes gone.

When Quins knocked-on in attack shortly afterwards, Tigers quickly got ball through hands, but then also spilled it and Smith threatened to find a gap with a kick in behind before Aspland-Robinson covered ground to gather and call the mark.

It was a bright opening from both teams on a damp and breezy evening in the capital, with Tigers determined to play ball in hand whenever the opportunity presented itself and more turnover ball in the centre of the field saw Toomua and Veainu spread the play across the field before the full-back was tackled into touch.

Thompson left the field on 20 minutes, replaced by Brendon O’Connor, and the Kiwi flanker was straight into the action, first from a Tigers lineout and then in defence as Jack Clifford broke the line.

Tigers were penalised at the breakdown, though, and Smith kicked the points to make it 10-6 and Geordan Murphy was forced into another change when Williams left the field, with Mike Fitzgerald joining the back row.

A penalty down the right side gave Tigers a good platform for attack, with Ford and Toomua opening up play before the whistle went against Quins. Ford, from just inside the 22, added his third penalty of the evening to make it 10-9.

Ellis Genge made two strong carries on halfway as Tigers built some phases and Aspland-Robinson put Quins under pressure when he grabbed Gabriel Ibitoye close to the Quins tryline from Ford’s precise kick into the corner.  

Tigers got closer to a score when Genge pushed off two would-be tacklers and Cole also carried in the heart of the Quins defence, but just as they sensed a chance, Spencer was robbed of ball 10 metres out and the hosts were able to play out.

Quins, though, lost Clifford to a yellow card on 37 minutes as he made contact with Veainu as the full-back kicked high. Referee Barnes checked the replays before issuing the card and Tigers played the penalty down the right. Quins stood up in defence of the lineout though then missed their own man at their own throw just moments later to see Tigers kept building pressure on the line.

After a series of carries among the forwards, Tigers got to within reach of the tryline but Quins were whistled for offside. Ford kicked the penalty from in front of the posts for a 10-12 lead in the last action of the half.

Veainu, who had left the field for a head injury assessment following the clash with Clifford, returned for the start of the second half and Quins were back up to full strength six minutes later when the back-rower returned from the sin bin.

Full-back Veainu was quickly involved as he combined with Aspland-Robinson in looking to break out of defence, but with Ford wrapped up man-and-ball as he accepted the pass, Tigers passed forward and the set-piece put-in was with Quins 25 metres out. And they were rewarded with a penalty, the referee judging Tigers had collapsed on the contact and Smith landed the kick to give his side the lead at 13-12.

A penalty earned on the floor on halfway by Alex Dombrandt gave Quins some territory and Tigers were immediately whistled again on their own 10-metre line, with Smith adding the points for a 16-12 lead approaching the hour.

Smart work on their left flank released Ibitoye but Aspland-Robinson read the play perfectly to bring him down and knock the ball loose as the wing saw space in front.

Tigers won the set-piece but played into trouble as they were penalised for obstruction and Smith pushed play down to the left-hand corner. The forwards kept hold of possession but were met with some clinical defence and spilled ball gave Tigers the chance to clear.

When the whistle blew again moments later, Smith went for touch again but did not gain much advantage, with the lineout outside the Tigers 22.  But he had an immediate chance to aim for goal when Barnes blew once more at the breakdown. This time, from 20 metres out, he pulled his kick wide and it remained 16-12.

Tigers continued to fall on the wrong side of the referee, though, giving Smith the chance to take play down the left touchline yet again as the clock ticked past 65 minutes. After gathering ball in the forwards, scrum-half Care broke away on the blindside and claimed a try. The referee, checking with TMO, ruled he had been guilty of a double movement and Tigers could kick clear from the penalty.

It was an untidy phase of the game for Tigers, but a break from replacement Ben White provided some attacking impetus as well as some relief for the defence, and Jordan Olowofela – on for Matt Smith – was straight into the action as he brought down Mike Brown just as the Quins full-back looked to latch on to a loose clearing kick.

A penalty conceded against a Quins maul had Tigers back-pedalling once more and this time there was no escape as Semi Kunatani picked up ball as the forwards hit the floor and raced under the posts. James Lang, on at fly-half, added the conversion as Quins stretched beyond losing bonus point range at 23-12.

Olowofela left the field as Lang made the kick, hurt in attempting to deny the score, with George Worth coming into the backline for the closing minutes of the game.

O’Connor made a big intervention in defence as Quins tried again, winning a penalty just 15 metres from his own tryline and then seeing Quins marched back for some backchat to the referee. Tigers had another penalty as they tried to open up the midfield and Ford pinged his kick into the corner.

This time, after Kerr and Gigena had pushed up towards the line, Fitzgerald found room to dive over and secure the valuable bonus point with the clock already past 80 minutes. Ford added the kick to make it 23-19 as the game came to a close.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

HAR 10-12 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

HAR 23-19 LEI

Attendance

14,301

Referee

Wayne Barnes

Match Stats

Harlequins
Leicester Tigers
Possession
41%
59%
Territory
45%
55%
Penalties Conceded
12
11
Yellow Cards
1
0
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
165/186 89%
118/138 86%
Scrums Won
4/5 80%
3/3 100%
Lineouts Won
15/16 94%
15/15 100%

Player Stats

Harlequins
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Telusa Veainu
14Sam Aspland-Robinson
13Matt Smith
12
11Jonny May
10George Ford1C4P
9Sam Harrison
1Ellis Genge
2Tatafu Polota-Nau
3Dan Cole
4Will Spencer
5Graham Kitchener
6Mike Williams
7Guy Thompson
8Sione Kalamafoni
16Jake Kerr
17Facundo Gigena
18Joe Heyes
19Michael Fitzgerald1T
20Brendon O'Connor
21Ben White
22George Worth
23Jordan Olowofela
Harlequins
Harlequins
23

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
19
Harlequins
T
C
P
P
P
T
C
KOHTFT
Leicester Tigers
P
P
P
P
T
C

Commentary

80

THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING

Thank you for your support this evening, whether you've been part of the 14,301 inside Twickenham Stoop or following along on Matchday Live elsewhere.

We'll see you back at Welford Road for the final game of the season on Saturday, May 18 (4.00pm) when we face Bath Rugby.

FULL TIME | 23-19

Tigers salvage a losing bonus-point at Quins with a last-minute Mike Fitzgerald try.

FORD NAILS THE CONVERSION

George Ford gets a late consolation conversion with the clock in the red.

FITZ OVER THE LINE

A quick one-two at the lineout almost puts Kerr away, but after a couple of phases it's Fitzgerald who gets the ball over the line.

79

LAST-MINUTE DASH

With the clock in the red, Ford wins a kick to touch as he breaks the field up with a classic dart. Kerr's throw should eb the final play of the game...

77

KICK TO TOUCH

Quins win a penalty at scrum time, and Lang's kick is dead on the 22. Their rolling maul goes to ground, so they push it across the field before giving away a penalty of their own at the ruck, and get marched back 10 metres for good measure.

75

FORWARD PASS

Will Spencer takes a Jake Kerr lineout, but as the Tigers line gets going the final pass to Veainu is forwards and we'll come back for a scrum.

LANG CONVERTS

James Lang adds the extras and Harlequins lead 23-12.

OLOWOFELA REPLACED

Jordan Olowofela taking gas and air and seeming to hold his shoulder as he is replaced by George Worth.

SINCKLER OFF

Kyle Sinckler is replaced by Will Collier.

HORWILL TAKES THE APPLAUSE

Before we have the kick, James Horwill takes the applause of the home crowd as he leaves the field for the final time as a Harlequins player and is replaced by Stan South.

QUINS UNDER THE POSTS

Harlequins back-rower Semi Kunatani slips a Leicester tackle to gallop in for a try under the posts.

CHANGE AT SCRUM-HALF

Danny Care takes the applause as he elaves the field, and is replaces by Sam Hidalgo-Clyne.

72

QUINS ADVANTAGE

Quins win the advantage from their own lineout, but Ibitoye is almost away from a Care cross-field kick before Barnes brings us back. James Lang - on for Marcus Smith - kicks to the corner.

HEYES FOR COLE

Dan Cole is replaced by Joe Heyes in the Leicester front row.

71

KNOCK ON

Care breaks again on this near side, before the ball is recycled and they try their luck on the right-hand side, before the ball is knocked on.

SMITH SWAPPED

James Lang replaces Marcus Smith at fly-half for Quins.

OLOWOFELA ON

Jordan Olowofela replaces Matt Smith in the Leicester backline.

70

RIGHT OPTION, WRONG EXECUTION

It's a case of diminishing returns for the Tigers forwards and so George Ford takes the right decision to kick to touch, though it's straight out and Quins will have the throw.

69

TIGERS POSSESSION

Replacement scrum-half Ben White breaks downfield, and the Leicester forwards are doing a good job of keeping hold of the ball inside the Quins half.

67

MESSY RUCK

Gabriel Ibitoye makes sure he doesn't find touch, though, and after a mess on the floor we'll restart with a Tigers scrum.

66

HARLEQUINS HEAVE

Harlequins claim their own lineout on the Leicester 22, and Care snipes through a gap before going to ground short of the line. The crowd think he's scored, but after a check with Graham Hughes it's not given - and Ford kicks to touch.

CHANGE IN THE FRONT ROW

Facundo Gigena is onto the field, in place of Ellis Genge.

65

MISSED KICK

...but the young man hooks it wide, and the score remains at 16-12.

64

KICK AT POSTS

Tigers compound their error with another mistake at the breakdown, and Smith will have another attempt from the 22.

63

NOT RELEASING

Veainu claims another high ball, but Will Spencer is adjudged to have not released the ball when he trucks it up, and Quins have the penalty.

PAIR OF CHANGES

Jake Kerr and Ben White are both on the field, in the place of Tatafu Polota-Nau and Sam Harrison.

59

TELUSA TURNOVER

Quins desperately try and force themselves over the Leicester line, but it's the Tigers full-back who comes away with the ball with the home side just metres out. His kick to Brown doesn't find touch, but once the ball is recycled Harlequins knock on and the pressure is relieved.

57

SIONE DIGS IT OUT

Sione Kalamafoni digs the ball out the back of a wheeling scrum, but Tigers struggle to use it and give away a penalty, which Smith kicks to touch inside the away 22.

56

SAR MAKES THE TACKLE

Kyle Sinckler bursts down the left wing (yes, really), but as he tries to get the ball away former Harlequins man Sam Aspland-Robinson makes the all-important tackle on the big prop.

THREE MORE FOR QUINS

Smith strikes the ball well and it sails through the posts. Harlequins now lead 16 points to 12.

54

QUINS ADVANTAGE

Marcus Smith lines up another kick at goal after another penalty on the floor for Tigers.

53

PINGED AT RUCK

...but the pressure is off when Mike Fitzgerald gets pinged at the ruck, and Smith kicks for touch inside the Leicester half.

52

LEICESTER LINEOUT

Another lineout, this time to Tigers, and it's transferred quickly to the backs. The away side look dangerous on the edge of the Harlequins 22...

50

CLAIMED BY MAY

Jonny May climbs highest under a Care box kick, but lands awkwardly when he clashes with Sinckler while in the air.

Tigers push on down the right-hand side, but Aspland-Robinson can't quite take it before the ball bobbles into touch.

SMITH ON TARGET

Marcus Smith sticks his penalty between the posts to put Quins back in front, 13-12.

48

SCRUM PENALTY

Cheers from around The Stoop as Quins win a penalty at the scrum, and Smith points to the posts.

48

SCRUM TIME

A tight call from the officials as Toomua's flat pass on his own 22 is adjudged to have just snuck forward, and Quins will have the scrum.

46

SINCKLER ON SAM

Kyle Sinckler comes through to take Sam Harrison at the back of a ruck, but Barnes calls play on before the ball bobbles into touch on the near side. Clifford returns from the sin bin while the ball is out of play.

45

TELUSA TRACKS BACK

Harlequins kick deep off the back of their strong scrum, but Veainu is there to gather. The home side get it back inside their own half, but Care kicks away possession with another box kick.

43

LEICESTER KNOCK ON

Harrison spots a gap and makes a half break through it, but his attempted pass to Matt Smith is knocked on.

42

KICK TENNIS

Both sides looking pretty cagey st the start of this second half. Polota-Nau will throw in just inside the Quins half.

TIGERS REVERSAL

Telusa Veainu is back on the field following his HIA, so George Worth returns to the bench.

SECOND HALF UNDERWAY

George Ford gets us going after the break.

HALF TIME | 10-12

Leicester lead 12 points to 10 heading into the break at Twickenham Stoop.

FORD NUDGES TIGERS AHEAD

Ford kicks three more points with the final kick of the half and Tigers lead, 10-12.

WORTH REPLACES VEAINU

Veainu is off for a HIA, so George Worth replaces him.

38

TIGERS ON THE LINE

Tigers steal a Quins throw and are hammering the home line through their forwards. Barnes awards an advantage to Leicester, and after a couple of phases we'll come back for another penalty kick.

YELLOW FOR CLIFFORD

...and it's a yellow card after replays show Clifford turns his shoulder into Veainu. Glad to say the full-back is up and about and looking to get back in the game.

36

TELUSA TAKEN IN THE AIR

Veainu stays down for a couple of moments after Jack Clifford clatters into him in the air. Barnes is checking with his TMO...

35

END-TO-END STUFF

Care spots a gap on the right-hand side off the back of the Quins scrum, but Toomua covers well and takes him to ground. Tigers turn the ball over a couple of phases later and this time it's the away side's turn to hare after their kick.

34

PAUSE FOR TREATMENT

Chris Robshaw takes some treatment after a nasty-looking clash at ruck time, and we'll restart with a Quins scrum.

ELIA HIA

Harlequins hooker Elia Elia is off for a HIA, and is replaced by Rob Buchanan.

33

HARD LEICESTER CARRIES

Genge, May and Dan Cole all truck the ball up towards the Harlequins line, but there's a knock on in contact and the home side manage to relieve the pressure - for now - with a kick to touch.

31

MORE TIGERS PRESSURE

Quins turn the ball over five metres form their own line, but the kick from the base of the ruck doesn't go far, and Tigers claim the following throw in. Now bashing down the door of the home 22...

30

TIGERS CONTROL PLAY

Tigers making the most of a good run of possession, with some decent box kicks and hard carries from Aspland-Robinson and Genge.

THROUGH THE STICKS

Ford drills the ball through the posts for another penalty, taking the score to 10-9.

26

TIGERS DRAW THE PENALTY

The maul is halted, so Sam Harrison looks to use his backs. Marcus Smith is offside, though, and draws another opportunity for Ford to go for goal...

25

ANOTHER AT SCRUM TIME

Wayne Barnes raises his arm on Leicester's side again at scrum time, as Kyle Sinckler goes down under pressure from Ellis Genge. Ford kicks into the 22, and Fitzgerald claims the lineout to set up a rolling maul.

MIKE SWAP

Mike Williams is replaced by Mike Fitzgerald for a head injury assessment.

SMITH GETS THREE

Marcus Smith lands the penalty to get three back for Quins, making the score 10-6.

22

THROUGH THE HANDS

Harlequins get the ball away from the lineout quickly this time, and put the ball through the hands to get within five metres of the line. Tigers give away a penalty at the ruck, so Smith calls for his kicking tee...

21

TELUSA CHASES BACK

Veainu chases back from a Marcus Smith kick into the corner, and claims it just before the tryline before booting it downfield. Quins will have a throw about 30 metres out from the Leicester line.

THOMPSON OFF

Guy Thompson is off the field for some treatment, and Brendon O'Connor joins the fray.

19

NEAT WORK

Kitchener claims Tatafu Polota-Nau's throw, and a neat box kick from Sam Harrison gets Tigers into the Quins 22. The home side just about win the contest in the air, and we'll have a break for treatment on both sides before the next lineout.

18

PENALTY AT SCRUM TIME

Dan Cole gets the better of Joe Marler at the first scrum of the game, and Tigers win the penalty. Ford makes good ground with the kick, and the away side have a throw just inside the Quins half.

17

CARE KNOCKS ON

Another Quins throw, this time inside the Tigers' 22, and Care knocks on after great service from his pack. We'll scrum down.

15

NOT QUITE READY TO RUMBLE

The home side try and get a lineout drive going from inside their own half, but great disruptive work from both Graham Kitchener and Will Spencer mean they're forced to put it through the hands. They win another throw just inside the Leicester half.

13

TO ME, TO YOU

Quins think they're away down the left-hand side, but knock on so Tigers win an advantage, but Toomua can't quite gather Ford's cross-field kick and the home side have the advantage. Smith kicks it away, and Aspland-Robinson calls the mark at the back.

FORD CUTS THE DEFICIT

Three more points from George Ford's boot cut the deficit to a single point with 12 minutes gone.

11

QUINS OFFSIDE

Tigers pulling the ball left and right, making metre by metre with each phase. Jonny May gets the furthest, coming in off his left wing, but when Matt Toomua makes the next break he's taken by an offside Harlequins player and Ford will get another kick at goal.

8

TELUSA DINKS THROUGH

Some quick thinking from Telusa Veainu sees the Tonga international dink the ball through the Quins line in the hope of finding Sam Aspland-Robinson on the right, but Brown is there to cover and the home side have a lineout. Nice idea, though.

SMITH CONVERTS

Marcus Smith nails the conversion to take the score to 7-3 in Quins' favour.

QUINS DOT DOWN

Quins take the lineout on their five-metre line and though the initial drive is halted, they get over the line through scrum-half Care.

5

FRANTIC PACE

Harlequins hammer the Leicester line, but Mike Brown decides to put boot to ball and try the aerial route. Tigers do the same, but when Danny Care gets a hold of the ball at the ruck he makes a snipe down the far touchline and Ellis Genge is pinged at the following breakdown. The home side kick to the corner.

FORD SLOTS EARLY PENALTY

George Ford kicks the first points of the match, and Tigers lead three points to nil.

1

OPENING SALVOS

Harlequins have started at a frantic pace, but returning Leicester full-back Telusa Veainu intercepts the last pass to remove the threat.

Tigers keep a hold of the ball over the next two phases and win a penalty at the breakdown. George Ford points to the posts.

KICK OFF AT THE STOOP

Marcus Smith boots the ball into a grey London sky and we're underway at The Stoop.

0

TEAM ONTO THE PITCH

Tigers run out of the tunnel, led by captain George Ford in their white and purple alternate kit.

There will be a minute's silence ahead of kick off.

0

CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS

Telusa Veainu returns to the starting line-up for this evening’s game after featuring off the bench a week ago, while Sam Aspland-Robinson fills the right wing berth against his former club.

Mike Williams at blindside flanker is the only change in the forward pack that faced Bristol Bears last time out, while loosehead Ellis Genge is in line to make his 50th Premiership appearance for the club.

Get up to speed with full team news here (or scroll down on this page).

0

BIG MATCH PREVIEW

Tigers head into this penultimate round of the regular season knowing that just two league points will secure their Premiership status for 2018/19. Having met 203 times previously, Leicester lead 115-79 on the historic win count over Quins, with nine games drawn.

Read our big match preview here (or scroll down on this page).

0

WELCOME TO MATCHDAY LIVE!

Good evening and welcome to south west London for Leicester Tigers’ Round 21 Gallagher Premiership match against Harlequins.

You can follow all of the action LIVE, right here with Matchday Live.


Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Mike Brown
14
Gabriel Ibitoye
13
Joe Marchant
12
Ben Tapuai
11
Charlie Walker
10
Marcus Smith
9
Danny Care
1
Joe Marler
2
Elia Elia
3
Kyle Sinckler
4
Matt Symons
5
James Horwill
6
Alex Dombrandt
7
Chris Robshaw
8
Jack Clifford

Subs

16
Rob Buchanan
17
Nick Auterac
18
Will Collier
19
Stan South
20
Semi Kunatani
21
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne
22
James Lang
23
Ross Chisholm

Team news | Tigers go to Harlequins

Telusa Veainu starts at full-back for Leicester Tigers at Harlequins on Friday after successfully recovering from a foot injury.

Tonga international Veainu made his return as a replacement in the home game against Bristol Bears last Saturday and is brought into the starting line-up as Tigers travel to the Twickenham Stoop in Round 21 of the Gallagher Premiership season.

Clayton Blommetjies, who made his club debut against Bristol, is ruled out by illness as Sam Aspland-Robinson comes into the backline to start against his former club.

The only change in the forward pack is the inclusion of Mike Williams in the back row alongside Guy Thompson and Sione Kalamafoni. England international prop Ellis Genge makes his 50th Premiership appearance for the club this weekend.

Brendon O’Connor and George Worth are added to the replacements for the trip to The Stoop.

Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy said: “We’ve had good spells in games but we’ve not put together a full 80-minute performance and we’ve been working on our resilience and belief. Quins are a good team, we obviously know Paul Gustard well and they are trying to cement their spot near the top of the table so we know it will be a big challenge.”

Leicester Tigers (v Harlequins, away, Friday 7.45pm)

15 Telusa Veainu

14 Sam Aspland-Robinson

13 Matt Smith

12 Matt Toomua

11 Jonny May

10 George Ford  (c)

9 Sam Harrison

1 Ellis Genge

2 Tatafu Polota-Nau

3 Dan Cole

4 Will Spencer

5 Graham Kitchener

6 Mike Williams

7 Guy Thompson

8 Sione Kalamafoni

Replacements

16 Jake Kerr

17 Facundo Gigena

18 Joe Heyes

19 Mike Fitzgerald

20 Brendon O’Connor

21 Ben White

22 George Worth

23 Jordan Olowofela

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Gabriel Ibitoye, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Charlie Walker, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Elia Elia, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Mat Symons, 5 James Horwill, 6 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Chris Robshaw, 8 Jack Clifford.

Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Nic Auterac, 18 Will Collier, 19 Stan South, 20 Semi Kunatani, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 James Lang, 23 Ross Chisholm.

Friday night lights | Tigers at Quins

After more than 200 previous meetings, Leicester Tigers and Harlequins meet on Friday in the penultimate round of the Gallagher Premiership season.

This is the 204th encounter between the two clubs, with Tigers 115-79 in front on the win count, with nine games drawn.

Harlequins, now led by former Tigers back-rower Paul Gustard, dropped to fifth place in the league table after a 17-15 defeat at Exeter last weekend but remain level on points with fourth-placed Northampton.

Defeat at home to Bristol last weekend, coupled with Worcester’s win over Gloucester, meant Tigers slipped to 11th place, nine ahead of bottom-of-the-table Newcastle with just two games remaining.

Tigers’ only win in the last five rounds was at Newcastle in Round 19 but travel with a decent record against Quins, having won the last five meetings of the teams since a 25-19 defeat at The Stoop in February 2016.

Danny Care, James Horwill and Joe Marchant return to the Quins’ starting line-up and head of rugby Gustard, a former team-mate and house-mate of opposite number Murphy, said: “We have demonstrated throughout the year our resilience and tenacity, and in the last two weeks we have yet again shown how competitive we are with strong outings at Clermont and Exeter.

“We are still fighting to be in the top four and we’ll be giving our all for that.

“Tigers are a strong outfit with lots of excellent players and whose results don’t always reflect their performances.”

Tigers welcome back Telusa Veainu for his first Gallagher Premiership start since September and Sam Aspland-Robinson comes into the backline against his former club. Brendon O’Connor and George Worth are recalled among the replacements.

Veainu was among the tryscorers in the corresponding fixture last season, with prop Greg Bateman claiming the supporters’ Try of the Season award for his score in a 27-18 victory for Tigers.

Match referee is Wayne Barnes, Premiership rugby’s most experienced official, assisted by Craig Maxwell-Keys and JP Doyle.

Tigers will wear the club’s alternate white and purple kit at The Stoop.

Tickets are still available from the Quins ticket office online at www.quins.co.uk

There is live coverage of Friday’s game on BT Sport or you can keep up to date with all of the action using the Matchday Live service on the Tigers website, mobile website and official app. Or follow the club’s social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
5
Harlequins
HarlequinsHAR22100125445281663567956
11
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI227015478632-15447815841
Form Guide
Form
LLLWL
Last Match
Lost to Wasps 25-27
Past Meeting
Won 23-19
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
LWLLL
Last Match
Lost to Bath Rugby 31-32
Past Meeting
Lost 19-23

Matchday Live

Harlequins23
Harlequins
Leicester Tigers19
Leicester Tigers
Full Time