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Report | Tigers beaten by late Quins score

A try with just six minutes left on the clock and a late penalty secured a 26-20 win for Harlequins against Leicester Tigers at the Twickenham Stoop in Round 23 of the Gallagher Premiership season on Saturday.

There was little to split the teams throughout, following a trend with five of the last six meetings decided by margins of six points or fewer.

In a breathtaking opening few minutes of a game between the defending champions and the current league leaders, Quins led 12-7 with tries from Will Collier and Cadan Murley either side of Nemani Nadolo’s score in his return to the Tigers line-up.

A fierce wind blowing down the pitch made it difficult for both teams, but Tigers levelled the scores with an enterprising score finished by Hanro Liebenberg before the hosts moved into a 15-12 lead at half-time with a penalty.

It was nip and tuck throughout the second half, too, with Jasper Wiese adding a third try for Tigers and Freddie Burns kicking a penalty for a 20-18 lead on 73 minutes.

But Andre Esterhuizen’s try just 60 seconds later gave Quins the lead once more on the way to their sixth successive league win and a late penalty pushed the gap top six points, though Tigers headed back home with one point from the afternoon.

Tigers, who have qualified for the semi-final of the Premiership Cup and last eight in Europe since their last league trip to Exeter at the end of March, were led by Liebenberg with club captain Ellis Genge alongside Dan Cole on the bench. Harry Wells also started among the replacements before making his 150th first-team appearance for Tigers and 100th in the Premiership.

Quins turned down a kick in front of the posts just moments after Marcus Smith got the game started and, after playing to left corner, they were celebrating the opening points of the afternoon with just four minutes gone.

It was prop Collier who made the final charge after a series of carries up front, and Smith added the conversion.

But Tigers replied with a try in their first attack, levelling the scores as George Ford converted a score from Nadolo created from lineout ball on the left.

Quins thought they’d scored again in their next attack, despite a superb covering tackle on his own line by Harry Potter which pushed Stephan Liewes backwards when it appeared the flanker must score. But they recycled towards the left again and Smith ran in.

The try, however, was disallowed after TMO consultation with referee Wayne Barnes, noting an obstruction in the build-up as Ford tried to defend.

Play came back, though, for Quins scrum ball in front of the posts and a quick pass from Smith put wing Murley in unopposed at the left corner flag for the try. Smith’s conversion attempt flew well short in the blustery wind.

A catch and pass through his own legs by Matias Moroni brought cheers from both sections of the crowd, but Nadolo then knocked on as he attacked done the right touchline.

Quins started the gain scrum penalties but, when they attacked down the right, Freddie Burns thumped his kick 70 metres downfield, with the bounce making it into a 50:22 and giving Tigers the throw. They were frustrated, as the defence wrapped up man and ball.

Tigers replied in kind at a Quins lineout near halfway, finally earning scrum put-in as the clock passed 25 minutes, and a second try for the visitors soon followed.

It was a cracker too, beginning midway inside their own half, where Nadolo carried strongly and Moroni showed his create it and his pace to cut in on a diagonal before passing Liebenberg in support and the skipper did the rest to dive in on the left.

Danny Care threatened from a ruck on the 10-metre line but, when met by Potter, he spilled ball as he looked for support.

Another scrum penalty, though, gave Smith the chance to make it 15-12 on 35 minutes, keeping his kick low into the wind from 25 metres.

Referee Barnes and the TMO checked a potential high tackle from Calum Green on Joe Marler, but play restarted with a penalty to Tigers after the officials spotted a push into contact by a Quins player.

Marler made his point to the referee, but Barnes sent him away to speak to captain Lewies as Tigers played ball to the corner. Two more penalties, and a cautionary word to the defenders, followed but Tigers were then whistled as they transferred ball in the drive in the concluding action of the half.

A clearing kick from Care, with the wind now at Quins’ backs, pushed the early action into the Tigers half at the restart  and the threatened with their carries in attack.

But Burns picked off a long pass out wide and set off 60 metres upfield before being chased down. Ben Youngs picked up in support and nudged play forward again, cleverly pushing the hosts back.

Ellis Genge, Dan Cole and Jasper Wiese were sent on with the second half only five minutes old, Harry Wells joining them in his landmark appearance.

Burns was hurt as he chipped ahead again but was back on his feet to meet a kick from Smith and drill towards the right touchline with the game being confined to the middle third of the pitch.

The full-back did well again when Smith landed a high kick on the edge ofd the 22, catching safely with the support of team-mates to allow Youngs to clear.

When the whistle went at the next breakdown, Potter had to react quickly to grab a chip-kick from Smith, but Tigers escaped when centre Esterhuizen dropped ball as he took a tap penalty just short of the tryline.

The scrum which followed brought a whistle in Tigers’ favour and Barnes blew again for an offence on halfway and for a third time as they mauled ball on the 10-metre line.

Quins had sent on a whole new front row as the game passed 50 minutes, still leading by three, but they conceded another penalty as Tigers patiently drove a maul close to the right touchline.

There was a pause in play as Olly Robinson was treated for a cut before the lineout led to a third try and the lead for the first time.

Carries from Nadolo, Wells, Clare and Liebenberg almost reached the chalk but Tigers recycled and then Wiese barged over to make it 17-15. Ford, though, saw his conversion come back off the post.

The referee spoke to Genge and Quins tighthead Wilco Louw before resetting a scrum and Tigers looked like they had closed out a promising position for their rivals until Smith found Lynagh with a long pass to the right.

Although Lynagh skipped down the line to dive into the corner, Liebenberg had done enough to force him to tread on the touchline just short of the corner flag.

Tigers had to work hard to clear from the set-piece with the home crowd pushing their team on.

Lynagh was back on the ball in the next attack, but was wrapped up by Wells before the whistle went in the home side’s favour in a central position and Smith added the kick to put his team, 18-17 in front on 68 minutes.

Ford tested the defence with a towering, spinning kick before Lynagh’s clearing kick was carried by the wind over the deadball line, bringing play back up to the Quins 10-metre line and a Tigers scrum. But after trying to play along the backline, Tigers dropped ball.

The scrum brought a penalty as the home props collapsed, but Ford was off target into the wind from 40 metres.

Kickchase from Tigers was rewarded with another penalty when Richard Wigglesworth was impeded and this time Burns stepped up to score and make it 20-18.

Quins immediately responded by building an attack on the right where Smith had two runners outside as he passed to Esterhuizen and he dotted down just inside the chalk to provide a 23-20 lead.

Smith’s conversion went well wide of the posts, but he did add a thre-pointer moments later to bring the game to a close.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

HAR 15-12 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

HAR 26-20 LEI




Wayne Barnes


Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Penalties Conceded
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
Tackles Won
77/91 85%
104/128 81%
Scrums Won
9/10 90%
4/4 100%
Lineouts Won
9/10 90%
17/17 100%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
15Freddie Burns1P
14Harry Potter
13Matias Moroni
12Matt Scott
11Nemani Nadolo1T
10George Ford1C
9Ben Youngs
1Francois van Wyk
2Charlie Clare
3Joe Heyes
4Calum Green
5Eli Snyman
6Hanro Liebenberg1T
7Olly Robinson
8Sean Jansen
16Tom Cowan-Dickie
17Ellis Genge
18Dan Cole
19Harry Wells
20Jasper Wiese1T
21Richard Wigglesworth
22Bryce Hegarty
23Chris Ashton


FINAL SCORE is 26-20 to Harlequins, taking the lead with a 74th minute try by Esterhuizen and adding a late penalty. 3-3 on tries with Nadolo, Liebenberg and Wiese scoring for Tigers.

Penalty by Smith pushes the Quins lead to 26-20.

Esterhuizen is in at the right-hand corner for Quins with their third try. Smith off-target with conversion but they lead 23-20.

Another penalty after strong kickchase by Tigers. Burns steps up to make it 20-18 to the visitors on 78min. 


Scrum penalty to Tigers on the 10-metre line. Not an easy kick in the conditions, though, and Ford is off target. Still 18-17 to Quins.


Smith lands penalty for Quins to give them an 18-17 lead on 68mins.


Incredible stretch by Liebenberg to take Lynagh into touch as he reaches the right-hand corner. No try.


Ford conversion hits the post so Tigers are 17-15 in front on 58min.

Wiese scores as Tigers hammer at the Quins line and Tigers have the lead for the first time at 15-17 on 58min. 


Genge and Cole on in the front row, Wiese at No8, Wells on for his 150th Tigers appearance and 100th in Premiership rugby. 


Teams are back out for the second half, Quins are 15-12 in front as George Ford kicks off.


Harlequins 15-12 Leicester Tigers, 2-2 on tries with Nadolo & Liebenberg over the line for Tigers.

Scrum penalty to Quins, Smith puts the kick through the posts for as 15-12 lead, 36min.

Superb counter-attacking try from Tigers. Nadolo makes the break, Moroni shows his pace on a diagonal from the left touchline and find Liebenberg in support to score. Ford off-target with conversion but it's 12-12 on 30min.


25 minutes gone and, after that frantic scoring in the opening quarter of an hour, it is still 12-7 to Quins. 

Cadan Murley scores in the left corner for Quins, playing from scrum ball after initially having 'score' by Smith disallowed. Smith misses conversion, 12-7 to hosts on 13min. 

Ford levels scores 7-7 with conversion of Nadolo try.

NEMANI NADOLO is over for Tigers. 7-5 on 8min

Smith adds the conversion, Quins lead 7-0 on 5min. 

Collier scores for Quins.

KICK-OFF | Harlequins v Leicester Tigers

Tigers are playing left to right as we look from the dugouts, playing in the white change colours. Quins will kick off. 



It is bright and sunny at The Stoop, and it is windy.



Harlequins Starting XV

15 Huw Jones, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Jack Walker, 3 Will Collier, 4 Matt Symons, 5 Hugh Tizard, 6 Stephan Lewies (c), 7 Luke Wallace, 8 Alex Dombrandt

Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Simon Kerrod, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 George Hammond, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Tom Lawday, 22 Lewis Gjaltema, 23 Nick David    



STARTING XV: 15 Freddie Burns [96], 14 Harry Potter [35], 13 Matías Moroni [29], 12 Matt Scott [44], 11 Nemani Nadolo [31], 10 George Ford [122], 9 Ben Youngs [276]; 1 Francois van Wyk [16], 2 Charlie Clare [46], 3 Joe Heyes [95], 4 Calum Green [85], 5 Eli Snyman [18], 6 Hanro Liebenberg [52] (c), 7 Olly Robinson [5], 8 Sean Jansen [2]

REPLACMENTS: 16 Tom Cowan-Dickie [6], 17 Ellis Genge [104], 18 Dan Cole [283], 19 Harry Wells [149], 20 Jasper Wiese [38], 21 Richard Wigglesworth [32], 22 Bryce Hegarty [13], 23 Chris Ashton [5]


Leicester Tigers return to Gallagher Premiership action today with a trip to defending league champions Harlequins.

This is a first league game since the win at Exeter Chiefs at the end of March, with Tigers reaching the semi-finals of the Premiership Cup and quarter-finals in Europe over the last few weeks.

Quins head into Round 23 in third place in the league table, on 68 points, with Saracens on 72 and Tigers on 80.

Five of the last six games between these teams have been decided by margins of six points or fewer, with Tigers winning the home leg 16-14 in December with a try from Harry Potter and 11 points from fly-half George Ford.

Ben Youngs and Ford are paired at half-back today, with Matt Scott coming into the team at centre. Hanro Liebenberg is captain in the back row where Sean Jansen makes his first Premiership appearance for the club.

Ellis Genge and Dan Cole are among the replacements alongside Harry Wells who is in line for his 150th first-team appearance for Tigers and 100th in the Premiership.

Harlequins club captain Stephan Lewies returns after injury and Luke Wallace steps into the starting line-up in place of the injured Will Evans, as one former Tigers back-rower replaces another.

Quins have won their last five games in Premiership rugby after losing their previous three and chase six in a row for the first time in the regular season since 2011.

Tigers have won six of their last seven matches in the Gallagher Premiership.

Referee is Wayne Barnes, the most experienced official in Premiership rugby, in charge of his 257th top-flight fixture.



We’re LIVE as Leicester Tigers go to Harlequins in Round 23 of the Gallagher Premiership season today. Kick-off is at 3.00pm.

If you are not at the game, you can keep up to date with all of the action right here with our Matchday Live service on the Tigers App and website at www.leicestertigers.com.

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

Huw Jones
Louis Lynagh
Joe Marchant
Andre Esterhuizen
Cadan Murley
Marcus Smith
Danny Care
Joe Marler
Jack Walker
Will Collier
Matt Symons
Hugh Tizard
Stephan Lewies
Luke Wallace
Alex Dombrandt


Joe Gray
Simon Kerrod
Wilco Louw
George Hammond
James Chisholm
Tom Lawday
Lewis Gjaltema
Nick David

Team News | Tigers side to play Harlequins

Steve Borthwick has named the Leicester Tigers matchday squad for Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership fixture against Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop.

Hanro Liebenberg will captain the team in a new-look back row alongside Olly Robinson and Sean Jansen.

Jansen, in just his third appearance for the club, will make his Gallagher Premiership debut, and Robinson, in his sixth appearance, his first Premiership start for Tigers.

Elsewhere in the Tigers pack, Calum Green and Eli Snyman are the second-row pairing, Francois van Wyk and Joe Heyes are the props and Charlie Clare starts at hooker.

Tom Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge and Dan Cole are the front-row replacements, with Harry Wells and Jasper Wiese the other forwards included on the Leicester bench.

Wells, if used, will make his 150th Leicester Tigers appearance and 100th appearance in Premiership rugby.

Ben Youngs and George Ford are the starting half-backs, with Matt Scott making his first starting appearance in more than a month in the Tigers midfield alongside Matías Moroni.

Nemani Nadolo and Harry Potter are the wings in the Leicester back-three and Freddie Burns starts at full-back.

Richard Wigglesworth, Bryce Hegarty and Chris Ashton are the backs on the Tigers bench.

Speaking about the matchday squad named to travel to London, the Tigers Head Coach said: “We have a blend of experience and some players that are just coming into Leicester Tigers.”

“I am excited to see how the players go on Saturday at Twickenham Stoop.”

“Harlequins are a dangerous team with multiple threats,” said Borthwick.

“They have a really strong attacking game, phase attack game and also have a strong kicking game, led by Danny Care and Marcus Smith.

“On top of that, Harlequins are a side with a strong set piece and experienced players up front in their forward pack.”

15 Freddie Burns [96]
14 Harry Potter [35]
13 Matías Moroni [29]
12 Matt Scott [44]
11 Nemani Nadolo [31]
10 George Ford [122]
9 Ben Youngs [276]
1 Francois van Wyk [16]
2 Charlie Clare [46]
3 Joe Heyes [95]
4 Calum Green [85]
5 Eli Snyman [18]
6 Hanro Liebenberg [52]
7 Olly Robinson [5]
8 Sean Jansen [2]

16 Tom Cowan-Dickie [6]
17 Ellis Genge [104]
18 Dan Cole [283]
19 Harry Wells [149]
20 Jasper Wiese [38] 
21 Richard Wigglesworth [32]
22 Bryce Hegarty [13]
23 Chris Ashton [5]

HARLEQUINS: 15 Huw Jones, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Jack Walker, 3 Will Collier, 4 Matt Symons, 5 Hugh Tizard, 6 Stephan Lewies (c), 7 Luke Wallace, 8 Alex Dombrandt

Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Simon Kerrod, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 George Hammond, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Tom Lawday, 22 Lewis Gjaltema, 23 Nick David    

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI221804679437242835011386
Form Guide
Last Match
Lost to Northampton Saints 31-32
Past Meeting
Won 26-20
Last Match
Past Meeting
Last Match
Lost to Leinster Rugby 14-23
Past Meeting
Lost 20-26

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