|Harlequins celebrate (Getty)|
The game changed hands a number of times with Leicester heading into the encounter as favourites. However, it wasn’t long before Harlequins asserted themselves in the match as firm contenders when Tom Williams scored the game’s opening try.
But the Tigers dug their claws back into the game when they led towards the end of the half after a superb try from Steve Mafi.
It was Harlequins who kicked off what was set to be a thrilling Premiership final but they were shuddered by a flurry of early hammering tackles from Leicester’s defence.
Referee Wayne Barnes deemed Manu Tuilagi’s opening hit on George Lowe as illegal and awarded Harlequins with the opening penalty which Nick Evans slotted with ease.
Evans was gifted another penalty chance after a break from Nick Easter from the back of a half-wheeled scrummage. George Lowe made a break on the outside but Quins could take nothing from the attack as Evans’ kick struck the post.
Nick Easter and George Robson created momentum going forward for Quins halfway through the opening quarter and after some speedy work at the breakdown, Tom Williams was put through for the try by Mike Brown on the blindside.
|Tom Williams scores (Getty)|
Both fly-halves added a penalty each before Leicester’s opening try of the match. From a lineout within their own half, Dan Cole led the Leicester charge and after a short burst passed to Steve Mafi who exploited large gaps in the Quins defence to score.
Leicester were left with 14 men when Thomas Waldrom blatantly impeded at the ruck which led to Nick Evans giving Harlequins the lead at the end of the half.
When the teams returned it was Evans who scored first again as Harlequins extended their lead to 17-13. Quins continued their exciting play in the opening exchanges of the second half with Jordan Turner-Hall igniting another break. Danny Care made a sly grubber kick to Mike Brown which he would’ve gathered if it wasn’t for Horacio Agulla’s defence.
Following Thomas Waldrom’s return from the bin, Leicester had the chance to catch-up with Quins’ tally but a strong rolling maul led to the Tigers giving away another penalty which further displeased Leicester Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill.
In another high-paced attack from Quins Danny Care offloaded to Nick Easter which provided the initial momentum. Care popped another ball up for Chris Robshaw, which the man of the match capitalized on for what was surely the winning score.
But after another penalty from Nick Evans, Ben Youngs made a quick tap after the scrum and then broke into the Harlequins 22. The scrum-half passed to Anthony Allen who finished off the attack with a try. Almost instantly after, Youngs broke away again but this time, Leicester could only take three points from the attack.
In a tense finish, Leicester needed a converted try in the last play of the match to take it to extra time but Harlequins were awarded a penalty and Rory Clegg kicked the ball into the stands to confirm a huge Aviva Premiership final victory for Conor O’Shea’s men.
Scores: 3-0 Evans pen, 8-0 Williams try, 8-3 Ford pen, 11-3 Evans pen, 11-6 Ford pen, 11-11 Mafi try, 11-13 Ford con, 14-13 Evans pen, 17-13 Evans pen, 20-13 Evans pen, 25-13 Robshaw try, 27-13 Evans con, 30-13 Evans pen, 30-18 Allen try, 30-20 Ford con, 30-23 Ford pen
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 George Lowe, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (capt), 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy (capt), 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 George Skivington, 3 Dan Cole, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Yellow cards: Thomas Waldrom
FT Score: 30-23 HT Score: 14-13
Referee: W Barnes (RFU) Att: 81,779