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Rugby News

Tigers come through test to take vital points

Greg Bateman ties up Quins defenders as he joins the Tigers attack
Greg Bateman ties up Quins defenders as he joins the Tigers attack

Matt O’Connor says “resolve and belief” were vitally important as Leicester Tigers secured Aviva Premiership victory over Harlequins at Welford Road on Saturday.

With Tigers eighth in the table, one point and one place above their visitors, the stakes were high and the home side came through to record a 33-18 victory with tries from Matt Toomua, Graham Kitchener and Adam Thompstone.

“To finish the game as we did and dominate the last 20 minutes is very pleasing and that will give the guys some confidence,” said head coach O’Connor.

“The resolve and belief were paramount. Our set-piece was good, by and large our lineout was good, the drive looked good and we managed the game well, played in the right areas of the field and took our points when we had the opportunity.”

Quins went in front with a fifth-minute try before Tigers came back to lead 9-8 at half-time. But a try from Luke Wallace after the Quins forwards had kept pressure on the Tigers line, put the visitors ahead again and they retained a 13-9 advantage as the game approached the hour mark.

Quickfire tries from Toomua, playing at fly-half, and lock Kitchener swung the balance back in Tigers’ favour before Thompstone grabbed an interception score in the final minute of the game.

“It was disappointing when we went behind,” added O’Connor. “But it probably made us push that bit harder and you saw that in the end.

“I thought our bench would be important with guys like Harry Wells, Polota-Nau and Luke Hamilton who were really good for us when they got on. They continued to give us that bit of momentum we needed at big stages of the game.

“We felt the game would be won in the last 20 minutes and thankfully the boys were good there. It was pleasing that we continued to play and when we started to get up in the arm-wrestle it opened up opportunities.”

Tigers go to Saracens in Round 16 on Sunday and then face Worcester Warriors away in the remaining fixtures during the Six Nations period and return home to face Wasps at Welford Road on Sunday, March 25. Tickets for that fixture are on general sale now.