Aviva Premiership
Harlequins see off Tigers at Stoop
PA Sport
January 10, 2015
Date/Time: Jan 10, 2015, 15:15 local, 15:15 GMT
Venue: The Stoop, London
Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester Tigers
Attendance: 14800  Half-time: 15 - 9
Tries: Care, Clifford, Swiel, Yarde
Cons: Botica 2, Swiel
Pens: Botica 2
Pens: Williams 4
Harlequins Jack Clifford is tackled by Miles Benjamin, Harlequins v Leicester Tigers, Aviva Premiership, Twickenham Stoop, London, January 10, 2014
Harlequins Jack Clifford is tackled by Miles Benjamin
© Getty Images
Related Links
Players/Officials: Marland Yarde
Tournaments/Tours: Aviva Premiership

England captain Chris Robshaw returned from injury as Harlequins revived their Aviva Premiership play-off hopes with a 32-12 victory over Leicester, but it was the impact of Danny Care that will have impressed national selectors most.

Care overshadowed rival Ben Youngs, who ended last autumn's QBE series at Twickenham as the preferred scrum-half, by scoring the opening try and using his quick wits to help set up the second. The performance will have caught the eye of Graham Rowntree, who was watching from the stands at Stoop, but England's forward coach will also have enjoyed Nick Easter's man of the match contribution.

Making his 250th appearance for Harlequins, veteran No.8 Easter was outstanding and had a hand in three of his team's four tries in an afternoon that will revive calls for the end of his international exile.

Easter's last Test appearance was at the 2011 World Cup and with Ben Morgan potentially missing the RBS 6 Nations opener against Wales on February 6 through injury, support for the 36-year-old's recall is growing. It is highly unlikely England will look to Easter to fill the number eight jersey in Cardiff, but they will know that Robshaw is on course to lead the team as he made a successful comeback after five weeks out with a shoulder problem.

It was a quiet afternoon for the openside with the highlight proving to be a second-half turnover as Leicester sought to mount a fightback from 25-12 down.

Flanker Jack Clifford, wing Marland Yarde and replacement Tim Swiel also crossed in an important bonus-point victory that keeps Quins in the hunt for a top-four finish after a disappointing start to the season. Fly-half Ben Botica contributed 10 points with two penalties and two conversions, but it took the final play of the match for Swiel to ensure the maximum five-point haul Quins deserved.

Leicester's points came from four penalties by Owen Williams, whose face was disfigured by a pronounced black eye, and on the evidence of the opening quarter they appeared to be set to clinch a fifth Premiership victory in six outings.

They established a 9-3 lead through the boot of Williams and had the better of the open play with centre Vereniki Goneva going the closest to scoring after a cruel bounce placed Mike Brown under pressure.

By the 25th minute Quins had surged ahead, however, with a sublime offload from Easter as Tom Youngs pulled him down creating the opportunity for Care to breach the whitewash.

Care had picked his line perfectly with his momentum carrying him through a tackle from Adam Thompstone and a covering challenge by Youngs and over the line.

The try, converted by Botica, gave Quins the confidence to press for a second but Leicester defended resolutely and would have crossed themselves shortly after had Care not brought down Graham Kitchener following a smart pass by Williams.

Predictably, Easter was involved as Quins conjured a second touch down one minute before the interval with a big carry that forced the Tigers to infringe.

Ten metres out from the goalline, Care took a quick-tap penalty and fed Yarde and once the ball had been recycled Clifford was on hand to score with an outstretched arm.

Four minutes into the second half and Quins grabbed their third, Easter claiming Williams' poor clearance and feeding Yarde. A wall of Leicester defenders faced Yarde, but a hole appeared for the England wing to plot an angled path over the line for a score that will prove uncomfortable viewing for the visitors.

The bonus point appeared to have eluded Quins, only for an injury-time break by Brown to create the chance for Swiel to cross.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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