Match Centre: Leicester Tigers 35-29 Harlequins

Ellis Genge scored two tries for Leicester Tigers
Ellis Genge scored two tries for Leicester Tigers

Leicester Tigers 35-29 Harlequins, Mattioli Woods Welford Road

Leicester managed to hold on a late fightback from Harlequins as they sealed a 35-29 win in the 19th round of the Gallagher Premiership at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

Despite the defeat, Harlequins continue to remain at four but Northampton have a chance to reduce the gap with them as they face Newcastle Falcons on Saturday while Leicester Tigers are at sixth with 44 points.

The hosts got off to a dominating start with Guy Porter finding George Ford, who in turn set Matt Scott over the line in the fourth minute and six minutes later Ellis Genge went for a quick tap after they won a penalty and eventually went on to crash over the line. Ford kicked both the conversions as they raced to a 14-0 lead.

The response from the Quins came in the 14th minute with Joe Marchant setting up Nathan Earle over for their first points but the conversion from Marcus Smith went wide. Leicester extended their lead further with this time when skipper Tom Youngs dotted down to complete his fifth try of the season in the 19th minute and with Ford once again converting the scoreline became 21-5.

However, the home side's momentum took a beating as they lost Dan Cole to sin-bin for collapsing the maul in the 24th minute that also resulted in a penalty try for the Quins making it 21-12. Three minutes later, Genge was yellow carded for contact with the head but despite down on the numbers, Leicester did well not to concede further points before Ford's first penalty kick in the 32nd minte made the scoreline 24-12.

As the break was approaching, Genge, who returned from sin-bin made amends as he forced his way over to help Leicester secure a bonus point as they finished the opening half with a 29-12 scoreline.

Leicester were the quickest to get off the block in the second half with Ford's second penalty extending their lead to 20 points before Alex Dombrandt set up Marchant for Harlequins' third try in the 53rd minute and this time Smith improved making it 32-19.

As the final 10 minutes kicked off, Earle dived in the corner to help the visitors secure bonus point but Smtih's conversion sailed wide before Zack Henry calmed the nerves of the Tigers with a 74th minute penalty kick making it 35-24. With four minutes left in the game, Luke Northmore touched down following fine breaks from Tyrone Green and Martin Landaj but eventually Quins fell short as Leicester completed a six-point victory.

Team line up:

Leicester: Steward; Porter, Scott, Kelly, Nadolo; Ford, B Youngs; Genge, T Youngs, Cole, Wells, Green, Martin, Reffell, Wiese.

Reserves: Clare, de Bruin, Heyes, Liebenberg, Brink, Wigglesworth, Henry, Murimurivalu

Harlequins: Green; Marchant, Northmore, Lang, Earle; Smith, Care; Marler, Baldwin, Louw, Symons, Lewies, Lawday, Kenningham, Dombrandt.

Reserves: Gray, Garcia Botta, Collier, Lamb, Chisholm, Landajo, Edwards, Tapuai.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

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