Leicester Tigers 18-13 Harlequins, Aviva Premiership, November 19
Twelvetrees kicks Leicester to victory
November 19, 2010
Leicester's Billy Twelvetrees exploits a gap in the Quins defence
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Billy Twelve trees accounted for all of Leicester's points as they recorded an 18-13 victory over Harlequins at Welford Road on Friday evening.
Twelvetrees' six successful penalties came from a combined total of 237 metres as Leicester pulled clear either side of the break. But Quins would be frustrated as they missed a number of chances to move into the lead as the Tigers went third in the Aviva Premiership table.
Leicester's recent run of defeats was their worst in six years - four losses in all competitions, stretching back ti a 21-15 Welford Road victory over Bath in the Premiership on October 23. One of those losses came against Quins earlier this month in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and Harlequins looked like they were intent on making it five defeats for the East Midlanders as New Zealand international fly-half Nick Evans ran the show for the first twenty minutes.
The 30-year-old All Black landed two penalties in the first 10 minutes and was involved in all three try-scoring chances that the Londoners had in the opening period. He was pulled down just a few metres short of the home line by centre Matt Smith and then put the excellent No.8 Tom Guest away after 18 minutes. The back row sent a pass to the wing for Tom Williams to have an easy unopposed run-in but referee Wayne Barnes said the ball went forward and pulled it back.
Then Guest stormed 50 metres upfield into the Leicester 22 as the home side flapped but Evans could not hold onto the final pass and that chance went begging as well.
A Quins front-row of props Ceri Jones and James Johnston plus hooker Joe Gray, George Chuter and Julian White a tough time too as all seemed to be going sweetly for the visitors. But, when the mistakes came, 22-year-old Leicester ace Twelvetrees shone amid the fog that engulfed Welford Road.
Twelvetrees made Quins pay heavily for those missed opportunities as he turned the match upside down with some mighty kicking. From 6-0 behind, Leicester went 9-6 ahead at the break, two 25-metre penalties preceding a huge 52-metre score from his own half.
He added another 35-metre shot early in the second-half, an even longer kick from his own half after 48 minutes and his sixth success was a 45-metre penalty that gave Leicester an 18-6 lead. And the crowd seemed disappointed when another enormous 47-metre penalty from the right by Twelvetrees just grazed the wrong side of the upright.
Quins had little to go on in the final stages as big home wing Manu Tuilagi caused havoc, smashing William's with one thumping tackle, and his team-mates bullied their opponents into submission.
The Londoners threatened to get a try a couple of times at the end but their best chance saw Chuter jump on a loose ball right on his own line to turn the opportunity over. Eventually, Quins got over the line and grabbed a losing bonus point as Williams was put in on the right wing for Evans to convert. But it was nothing more than a consolation.
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