Premiership: Harlequins draw 30-30 with Leicester Tigers at Twickenham

By Adam WilliamsBBC Sport at Twickenham
Marcus Smith
Fly-half Marcus Smith contributed 20 of Harlequins' 30 points at Twickenham
Gallagher Premiership
Harlequins (13) 30
Tries: Lasike, Smith, Robshaw Cons: Smith 3 Pens: Smith 3
Leicester Tigers (6) 30
Tries: Eastmond, Taufua, Veainu Cons: Ford 3 Pens: Ford 3

Premiership strugglers Leicester Tigers battled back to draw with Harlequins in the annual 'Big Game' at Twickenham.

Quins had looked on course for a fourth successive Premiership win when Chris Robshaw's try made it 27-13 in front of 75,626 fans during the second half.

But Leicester rallied and scored twice through Jordan Taufua and Telusa Veainu to end a run of three league defeats.

Earlier, Paul Lasike and Marcus Smith crossed for Quins, while Kyle Eastmond scored an interception try for Tigers.

In Quins' 12th annual 'Big Game' at headquarters, the result saw the two sides repeat their 28-28 draw in the very first such fixture in 2008.

Harlequins missed the chance to climb to third and will rue not taking more advantage of their dominant spell midway through the second half when Smith, who scored 20 of their points, and Robshaw went over in the space of six minutes.

They almost snatched a bonus-point win in the closing minutes, but Alex Dombrandt not knocked on just metres from the line.

For Leicester, the draw will be a welcome relief in a difficult Premiership campaign that has featured only one win.

In fact, momentum appeared to be going their way when Quins replacement prop Will Collier was sin-binned for the closing 10 minutes for collapsing a scrum.

Tigers stay second from bottom, but moved within two points of Wasps in 10th.

There were also injury concerns for both sides, as Quins lost centre Michele Campagnaro to an early knee problem in an off-the-ball incident, while England prop Kyle Sinckler also hobbled off after a collision in the build-up to Robshaw's try.

Leicester number eight Sione Kalamafoni had to be taken off after just 10 minutes having accidentally clashed with team-mate Ford when the pair both competed for a high ball.

Harlequins head of rugby Paul Gustard:

"We were the most dominant team by far. Apart from getting in front early at 6-3, they weren't in the lead again.

"The sin-binning (of Will Collier) was obviously quite difficult without a prop and we had to move Joe Marler across from loose-head.

"But, ultimately, the only way Leicester got back into the game was through their scrum and one line-out maul. We also gave a daft pass for an intercept score.

"For me, I'm gutted and disappointed with the referee. It feels more like a loss than two points gained."

On Kyle Sinckler's injury ahead of the Six Nations: "It's too early to tell to be honest. I don't think he's even been assessed yet, so I can't even tell you which part of the body hurts him."

Leicester head coach Geordan Murphy:

"It feels a bit like a loss, to be honest. Throughout the game, we felt we were in it and at times we gifted Quins field position.

"At 27-13, we got some gains from their scrum and knew they were on their last warning in terms of infringements. We used that as a platform and at 30-30, when they were down to 14 men with seven minutes to go, we certainly felt we would go on to win.

"It feels like a very strange game in that we let them in too easily, but we took our opportunities when and where they came. At the end of the day, it's two points."

Harlequins: R Chisholm; Murley, Campagnaro, Lasike, Goneva; Smith, Care; Marler, Elia, Sinckler, Lewies, Symons, J Chisholm, Robshaw (capt), Lawday.

Replacements: Musk, Garcia Botta, Collier, Cavubati, Dombrandt, Landajo, Herron, Ibitoye.

Leicester: Veainu; Thompstone, Taute, Eastmond, May; Ford, B Youngs; Genge, T Youngs (capt), Cole, Lavanini, Green, Lewis, Taufua, Kalamafoni.

Replacements: Polota-Nau, Gigena, Leatigaga, Wells, Reffell, White, Reid, Worth.

Referee: Matthew Carley