Paul Gustard was left “gutted” by his side’s inability to hold on to a healthy second-half lead as Harlequins drew 30-30 with Leicester at Twickenham.


In the 12th version of the Premiership’s annual ‘Big Game’, the outcome was the same as the first edition in 2008 as Quins and the Tigers played out a draw.

This time it was the Tigers who cancelled out a 14-point deficit with the game heading into its closing quarter thanks to scores from Jordan Taufua and Telusa Veainu.

But Quins director of rugby Gustard believes that the scoreline was unjust to his side.

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He said: “For me, (I’m) gutted. I’m disappointed with the referee today and it feels more like a loss than getting two points.

“I think we were the most dominant team by far, apart from them getting up 6-3, they weren’t in the lead in the game again.


“It was difficult, obviously, with sinbinning our tighthead prop, we had to move Joe Marler across.

“Ultimately, the only way they got back in the game was through their scrum and one lineout maul.

“We give a daft pass, intercept try, seven points. We get bullied at the scrum and they get a lineout maul and then at the end we were down to 14 men with Paul Lasike having to come off to make sure we shored up the scrum and the lineout, and we get exposed in the back-field.”


A tightly-fought first 40 saw the sides separated by a crunching Lasike score at half-time, but it was undoubtedly a game that came alive after the break as both sides slipped off the shackles.

Marcus Smith and Chris Robshaw grabbed a pair of quickfire scores after Kyle Eastmond had levelled things as the Londoners took the initiative in front of a bumper crowd of 75,626 in the capital.

And just when the Tigers looked dead and buried, Taufua finished things off from a driving Leicester maul before Will Collier was sent to the bin for the hosts.

Veainu latched on to George Ford’s deft chip to level things, but there was to be no winner.

Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy – try-scorer in the 26-26 draw back in 2008 – heaped praise on his dominant pack for salvaging something.

“We knew that they were on a final warning scrum wise, we thought we had an edge there,” he said.

“We used that to build us a platform and at 30-30 and when they were down to 14 with seven minutes to go, I thought we’d go on and win that game, so it certainly feels like a very strange game.

“We took our opportunities when and where they came, so it was pleasing that we stayed in it and at the end of the day it’s two points.”

Press Association

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