The Londoners have featured prominently in Leicester's immediate past. The Tigers have not won an away game in the league in 1997, the previous victory on foreign soil being at The Stoop. By the same token their previous defeat at home in any competition was in April of this year, the opposition on that occasion - Harlequins.
If it was not quite the comedy store on the terraces as the Leicester fans mocked Harlequins at every opportunity, it was certainly a comedy of errors on the pitch with fumbles and stumbles the order of the day. But Harlequins, who committed most of them, never really created a clear- cut chance.
Leicester had a powerhouse at lock in the South African Fritz Van Heerden. What ball he failed to win invariably ended up in the embrace of Martin Corry, who had an immense game in the famous G shirt formerly worn by Dean Richards. In truth the whole of the Tigers back row did their bit. Neil Back's industry was rewarded with a late try from a line-out - another Van Heerden take, a big drive and Back darted through.
If there had been gloom at Welford Road following that midweek hiccup at Richmond Tigers were lifted by some worthy community singing, a couple of carols and "Always look on the bright side of life", although it took them long enough to obey one of Brian Moore's favourite musical maxims.
Quins were handicapped even before the kick-off, to a long list of absentees was added the name of the prop Danny Rouse, who failed a late fitness test. That brought the veteran Andy Mullins out of retirement and into action for the 122nd time in a league match.
The only bright side of life in those first 40 minutes came when the Leicester tight-head Darren Garforth broke like a stand-off around the blind side of a scrum before popping up a wonderful pass for Waisale Serevi. Unfortunately the Fijian, having chipped ahead, knocked on his attempted pick-up just short of the line.
Leicester only pulled away in the final minute of the half when they were awarded a penalty try, but the best moment of the game, and one which put the game beyond Harlequins' reach, and simultaneously ensured Leicester's continued interest in the destiny of the championship, came in the 62nd minute, when the ball was recycled right following a break down the left by Michael Horak. Stuart Potter drew the cover before finding Will Greenwood with a stunningly timed pass and the England centre galloped in.
Leicester: A Leeds; C Joiner, W Greenwood (J Overend, 75), S Potter, M Horak; W Serevi, A Healey; G Rowntree, R Cockerill, D Garforth, M Johnson (capt), F Van Heerden, L Moody (P Gustard, 59), M Corry (D West, 80), N Back.
Harlequins: J Williams; D O'Leary (R Liley, 30), J Keyter, J Ngauamo, L Belligoi; T Lacroix, N Walshe (H Harries, 46); J Leonard, T Billups, A Mullins, G Llewellyn (L Cabannes, 59), R Strudwick, B Davison, A Leach, R Jenkins.
Referee: J Pearson (Yarm).Reuse content