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Harlequins make it three wins on the bounce with victory over Leicester

By PA

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Harlequins maintained their push for a Gallagher Premiership play-off spot with a try-filled 37-24 win over Leicester at The Stoop. Tries from Mike Brown, Marcus Smith, Andre Esterhuizen and Louis Lynagh helped Quins make it three league wins on the bounce.

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It was Leicester who drew first blood after being camped on the Harlequins line following sustained pressure, Cyle Brink finishing the job as he barged over from a metre out. Zack Henry added the extras to give them an early 7-0 lead.

The hosts soon had a score of their own. Matt Scott gave away the ball by kicking out on the full just outside his own 22, and after some good hands from both the forwards and backs, Brown had the easy task of crossing the line from close range.

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Smith, who signed a contract extension earlier this week, booted the sides level with the conversion and then pushed Harlequins ahead with a penalty less than ten minutes later. They extended their lead when a wonderful line-splitting run from Lynagh and interlinking passing from Danny Care put them within the five-metre line, but would have to settle for another penalty from Smith instead.

Smith soon got a try of his own, Will Evans offloading in the tackle leaving the out-half to score untouched under the posts before adding his own conversion to lead 20-7.

Leicester got back in the game straight afterwards, with Jack van Poortvilet making a darting run from the back of a ruck to touch down after good work from Freddie Steward. Henry added the extras again before exchanging penalties with Smith. Harlequins grabbed a try on the stroke of half-time, Esterhuizen barrelling through his opposite number from five metes out and Smith converting to give them a 13-point half-time.

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Quins started the second half as they ended the first by scoring a try as the ball was spun through the backs before finding Lynagh on the wing to cross from a few metres out and grab the bonus point, Smith remaining perfect from the tee to push the lead to 37-17.

Smith’s boot got the home side in trouble soon after though, his clearing kick charged down by Jaco Taute who smothered the ball before offloading to George Martin to give Leicester a slither of hope with 34 minutes to go after Henry converted.

The game slowed down after a frantic first hour, Leicester’s attacks not gaining a head of steam as they kept squandering possession and field position by kicking the ball out on the full. With the game out of sight heading into the final five minutes, focus turned to just playing for bonus points for the visitors, but despite one final push, the home side held out to take a well-earned victory.

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Harlequins make it three wins on the bounce with victory over Leicester

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