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Nick Evans demands change despite Harlequins victory at Leicester

By PA
Press Association

Harlequins attack coach Nick Evans accepts his team need to evolve and adapt different styles if they are to earn more success following their hard-fought 29-25 victory at Leicester.

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Quins sit top of the Gallagher Premiership table following their fourth league win in a row and their second of the calendar year at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

They won admirers for their spectacular attacking style in winning their second Premiership title in 2020-21, but they showed another side to their game against the Tigers, with three of their five tries being close-range efforts from forwards.

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Kwagga Smith cameo

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Evans said: “You look at the teams that win World Cups, the teams that win championships, they have the ability to change the style and the way they play their game.

“We will always have our identity, we’re really clear on that, we train that, but we also need to evolve and be able to stick in games like that.

“You come up here and the dew comes down in the last 20 minutes and it gets a bit wet, and you saw that it maybe got a little bit sticky there.

“There were a few turnovers around the middle of the field, which was obviously an improvement for us, but we stuck in there and we played the game we needed to play towards the end.

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“We just waited for those scenarios where we could imprint our DNA onto the game and, luckily enough, we managed to do that.”

Harlequins led 17-15 at half-time thanks to Tyrone Green’s try after Hanro Liebenberg and Freddie Steward had replied to scores from Alex Dombrandt and Dino Lamb.

The lead changed six times in total, with another Steward try and a Handre Pollard penalty nudging the Tigers ahead, but Quins would not be denied and efforts from Will Porter and Lamb saw them home.

Leicester head coach Dan McKellar said: “We beat ourselves. (We made) errors at critical moments, especially in that second half; handling errors, set-piece errors at key moments.

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“We did enough to win that game. We’ve created plenty of opportunities, we just didn’t take them.

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“I thought defensively we need to be much better, that’s the reality.

“(We have) conceded four soft tries at home, similar to Sale – we can’t be scoring tries and then conceding immediately after, so that’s got to change.

“Our carries and our clean-out work was superb and off the back of that we played off really quick ball.

“I thought we looked good when we shifted the ball, but there were just some critical handling errors at key moments.

“Sam Carter nearly scores, Cam Henderson nearly scores and we just knocked the ball on. We’ve got to tidy that up.”

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