Quins put Euro disappointment behind them with Tigers' scalp
PREMIERSHIP WRAP: Tabai Matson admitted that toppling Leicester 26-20 in their title clash at Twickenham Stoop has helped Harlequins recover from the disappointment of their European setback.
Quins were dumped out of the Champions Cup by Montpellier by a single point on aggregate a week earlier, but defeating the league leaders keeps alive their hopes of securing a home play-off.
“We probably couldn’t have picked a better side to bounce back against because with Leicester on the horizon you just can’t dwell,” senior coach Matson said.
“If you’re off your game they’ll make you look really poor so they were a fantastic team to bounce back into.
“The good thing for us is that we’re still in the top four and that has been our goal all year. Lots of work still to do but this will make us really buoyant coming in on Monday.”
Quins staged a trademark fightback after slipping 20-18 behind with six minutes to go as Leicester’s momentum was halted by an Andre Esterhuizen try in the right corner.
The rivals could meet again in the semi-finals and Harlequins have landed a potentially telling psychological blow.
“To be able to hang on in the fight and be in the fight was really important,” Matson said.
“You have to respect Leicester for what they do. They’ve won 17 games and they’ve set the way because they’re just so consistent.
“To be able to arm wrestle and not give away too many penalties and score three tries is pretty important for a number of reasons, not just the result.
“You know what is coming against Leicester. Stopping it is really difficult even if you know it’s coming.
“But strategically they are really smart too, being able to know that often the game sways in the last 15 minutes.”
Leicester is challenging on domestic and European fronts, but the Director of Rugby Steve Borthwick is happy juggling his playing resources in the quest for silverware after a period in the doldrums.
“It’s an incredibly exciting prospect. If you go back 18 months, could you have possibly imagined Leicester Tigers would be in this position? You will not get one word of complaint from me,” Borthwick said.
“I want to play as many games as possible and give the supporters something to cheer about.
“There are lots of big games. They keep coming thick and fast but I would much rather be in this position than a lot of the other teams’. I want to be at a club and a team that is involved in big games.”
All the Saturday scores and scorers
Bath 31-36 Northampton Saints
Tries: Clark, Muir, Spencer 2
Cons: Cipriani 2, Spencer 2
For Northampton Saints
Tries: Proctor, Augustus, Mitchell, Freeman, Haywood, Penalty try
Cons: Furbank 2, penalty try does not require a conversion
Bath: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Clark, 11 Will Muir, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Miles Reid, 6 Josh Bayliss, 5 Charlie Ewels (captain), 4 Mike Williams, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Valeriy Morozov.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Arthur Cordwell, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Ewan Richards, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Orlando Bailey, 23 Joe Cokanasiga.
Northampton: 15 Tommy Freeman, 14 Ollie Sleightholme, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Tom Collins, 10 George Furbank, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Lewis Ludlam (captain), 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 Alex Coles, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Emmanuel Iyogun, 18 Conor Carey, 19 Alex Moon, 20 Brandon Nansen, 21 Tom James, 22 James Grayson, 23 Piers Francis.
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Joe James, Paul Dix
TMO: Dean Richards
Harlequins 26-20 Leicester Tigers
Tries: Collier, Murley, Esterhuizen
Pens: Smith 3
For Leicester Tigers
Tries: Nadolo, Liebenberg, Wiese
Harlequins: 15 Huw Jones, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Stephan Lewies (captain), 5 Hugh Tizard, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Will Collier, 2 Jack Walker, 1 Joe Marler.
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.
Leicester: 15 Freddie Burns, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Sean Jansen, 7 Olly Robinson, 6 Hanro Liebenberg (captain), 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Calum Green, 3 Joe Heyes, 2 Charlie Clare, 1 Francois van Wyk.
Replacements: 16 Tom Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Chris Ashton.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Wayne Falla
TMO: Tom Foley
Wasps 41-12 Worcester Warriors
Tries: West, Bassett, Stooke, Oghre 2, Willis
Cons: Gopperth 2, Umaga 2
For Worcester Warriors
Tries: Doel, Hill
Wasps: 15 Jacob Umaga, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Joe Bassett, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Alfie Barbeary, 7 Jack Willis, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Elliot Stooke, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Biyi Alo, 2 Dan Frost, 1 Tom West.
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Elliot Millar-Mills, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Tom Willis, 21 Will Porter, 22 Ryan Mills, 23 Paolo Odogwu.
Worcester: 15 Harri Doel, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Oli Morris, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Alex Hearle, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Ted Hill (captain), 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Kyle Hatherell, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Joe Batley, 3 Christian Judge, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Murray McCallum.
Replacements: 16 Isaac Miller, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Jack Owlett, 19 Andrew Kitchener, 20 Sione Vailanu, 21 Gareth Simpson, 22 Fin Smith, 23 Seb Atkinson.
Referee: Andrew Jackson
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley, Phil Watters
TMO: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Source: PA & RugbyPass