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A new low - but something to celebrate

There was a startling statistic from the win over Harlequins last weekend – and not just the fact that it was Quins’ 100th visit to Welford Road.

Even that nugget of knowledge took The Tig by surprise. Derby rivals Northampton yes, and old rivals like Gloucester yes, But Quins? A century of visits in 120-odd years, that did come as a shock.

But the stat that really stuck out – alongside the 100-per-cent record for Tigers in lineout and scrum – was the penalty count.

Tigers conceded just four penalties in 80 minutes. In context, anything below 10 is a pretty decent effort. In the context of the game and perhaps even the season, that is outstanding.

The official stats included in The Roar earlier this week report that Quins had 53 per cent possession and 49 per cent territory, forcing Tigers to make more than 200 tackles.

As most penalties are conceded in desperate attempts to gain possession or at least spoil opposition ball, the figures show defensive discipline was spot-on.

Even with an experienced top-class referee who is able to check players’ actions and allow the game to flow as much as possible, a penalty count of just four is impressive. Even more so when you think of the anxiety among players and supporters around a run of poor results and the nerves that must have been jangling when Quins went in front in the opening few minutes and got a lead again during the second half, threatening what would have been a sixth home defeat of the season.

The penalty count, of course, does nothing for you league position, but in a sport of such tight margins and in such a competitive league, it can certainly play its part.