Premiership: Harlequins 25-19 Leicester Tigers

By Adam WilliamsBBC Sport
Marland Yarde
Marland Yarde's late try proved decisive
Harlequins (9) 25
Try: Yarde Con: Botica Pens: Botica 6
Leicester (9) 19
Try: Thacker Con: Burns Pens: Bryant 3, Burns

Harlequins ended a run of three consecutive Premiership defeats as they edged out Leicester.

Marland Yarde pounced on a late mistake from returning Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi to run in the decisive try in the closing six minutes at The Stoop.

Leicester led midway through the second half of a scrappy game when replacement hooker Harry Thacker crossed.

But Harlequins fly-half Ben Botica kicked 20 points as they withstood a late rally from the visitors.

Harlequins climbed above Leicester into third in the table, although the Tigers claimed a losing bonus-point as Freddie Burns kicked a penalty.

Relive the action as Harlequins beat Leicester

Chasing the late converted try which would have given them victory, a Leicester knock-on at the break down after 20 phases in the hosts' 22 signalled full-time on a night of numerous handling errors.

England head coach Eddie Jones was among the sell-out crowd, but the spectators were denied open, attacking rugby in the first half by the wet and windy conditions.

Oli Bryant and Botica traded three penalties each, while Leicester winger Telusa Veainu spurned the best chance of the first half when he spilled the ball in sight of the line under pressure from Ross Chisholm.

The second half marked an improvement in quality and Leicester sneaked into a 16-15 lead on the hour when Thacker picked up Tuilagi's offload for the opening try.

But after Botica re-established the lead from the tee, Yarde took advantage of a succession of Leicester errors and Botica's chip ahead to run in unopposed from 30 metres.

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea said:

"That was a great win for the team and I thought Ben Botica really fronted up in terms of his play. That is the mark of a proper sportsman.

"You always have parts of a season where you lose games and you get into a difficult time and you have a performance like we had last week against Gloucester.

"But I thought that the reaction of the boys was magnificent.

"I was getting sick of people saying that we are missing players, we've got plenty good enough players to win matches."

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill on centre Manu Tuilagi's chances of an England call-up:

"He's not ready to play at Test level yet. He's played one game and still isn't quite sharp, as you saw.

"He did some things but needs to be managed properly.

"Me and Eddie (Jones) can have that discussion. If he's fit, he can play. If he's not then he won't. We'll be sensible about it."

Harlequins: R Chisholm; Yarde, Stanley, Sloan, Visser; Botica, Tebaldi; Lambert, Ward, Jones, Horwill (capt), Matthews, Luamanu, Wallace, Easter.

Replacements: Gray, Evans, Sinckler, Merrick, J. Chisholm, Egerton, Swiel, Hopper.

Leicester Tigers: Tait; Betham, de Villiers, Tuilagi, Veainu; Bryant, Harrison; Ayerza, Ghiraldini, Balmain, Slater (capt), Fitzgerald, Croft, O'Connor, Pearce.

Replacements: Thacker, Brugnara, Mulipola, Kitchener, Crane, Kitto, Burns, Smith.

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