Tigers feed on Miller menace

Harlequins 18

Leicester 34

When news of Dean Richards' belated withdrawal reached the Harlequins changing-room there was very probably that upsurge of morale associated with the loss of a champion forward and an irreplaceable talisman. Long before the end of this match, however, the Harlequins would have done anything to see the back of Richards' replacement, Eric Miller, whose unflagging energy and raw aggression had done more than anything else to break the opposition.

It was a tour de force by this hugely talented young forward and Richards would not have been human had his delight at Leicester's success not been tempered by some concern over his future in first-team rugby. Certainly, on the evidence of this match, it will be devilishly hard to leave Miller out of the side. Not only did he bring extra mobility to the Leicester pack but he brought additional width to their game and it was from his initial breach that Leicester scored a gem of a try by John Liley. Niall Malone and Rory Underwood were also involved but none of it would have been possible without the No 8.

It has taken a while in coming but at last we are beginning to see Bob Dwyer's influence. Gone was the slavish subservience to the front five and their blinkered obsession with the scrummage and the rolling maul. Instead we could admire the wondrous agility of Martin Johnson and his fellow tight forwards toughing it out in the close-quarter exchanges and then legging it enthusiastically across the field in eager pursuit of their backs who were revelling in the delivery of quick ball.

Austin Healey had the time of his life behind the scrum and particularly around the fringes, but it was his magnificent covering tackle on Will Carling at the beginning of the second half which was probably of greatest importance to his side. At that point Quins were 18-6 down having failed to make effective use of the bitter wind in the first half. If they were to have any hope of winning this match a quick score was essential. Laurent Cabannes broke, fed Carling and it required all of Healey's blistering pace to bring the centre down. A couple of minutes later Steve Pilgrim crossed Leicester's line but lost possession of the ball.

It was not Pilgrim's day. He had missed three penalties in the first half, none of which was particularly difficult and all of which would have kept Quins in the hunt. Quite why it was that Harlequins waited until the 33rd minute to replace Pilgrim by Paul Challinor, their normal first- choice kicker, was a mystery. But by the time Challinor had kicked Harlequins' second penalty it was too late to save the match. Leicester had taken the lead in the sixth minute with a scorching try by Underwood after Leon Lloyd, another promising youngster, had sent him on his way with a long pass. There followed 20 minutes of mediocrity from both sides highlighting deficiencies of the club game.

There were some fine individual touches spoilt in the main by woefully poor finishing but when, in the second quarter, Leicester got their collective act together there was no stopping them. Despite the Quins' massive investment in players and the enviable talent at their disposal, all their old failings returned. Long before the end they were a disjointed, dispirited bunch of individuals whose heads and whose defences were down. First Will Greenwood broke through Gary Connolly's weak tackle to score and two minutes later Underwood profited from panic in the Harlequins defence to grab his second. Two tries by the excellent Huw Harries could not conceal the fact that Harlequins for all their outward trappings of success have some way to go before they can finally shed the old image.

Harlequins: S Pilgrim; D O'Leary, G Connolly, W Carling, S Bromley; P Challinor, H Harries; J Leonard (capt), K Wood, L Benezech, A Snow, G Llewellyn (I Pickup, 80), G Allison, B Davison, L Cabannes.

Leicester: J Liley; S Hackney, L Lloyd, W Greenwood, R Underwood; N Malone, A Healey; G Rowntree, R Cockerill, D Garforth, M Johnson (capt), M Poole, J Wells (W Johnson, 45), E Miller, N Back.

Referee: B Campsall (Halifax).

Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
News
people
Life and Style
love + sex
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Arts and Entertainment
Jeffrey Archer holds up a copy of 'Kane and Abel', a book he says was ripped-off by Bollywood
books
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Fay Weldon suggested authors should tailor their work for Kindle readers
books
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers