Premiership: Harlequins 23-19 Leicester

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Premiership: Harlequins 23-19 Leicester
Mike Fitzgerald’s try in the third minute of stoppage time could be the moment that keeps Leicester in the Premiership
Gallagher Premiership
Harlequins: (10) 23
Tries: Care, Kunatani Cons: Smith, Lang Pens: Smith 3
Leicester: (12) 19
Tries: Fitzgerald Cons: Ford Pens: Ford 4

Leicester put pressure on bottom side Newcastle with a losing bonus point against play-off chasing Harlequins.

George Ford’s four penalties cancelled out Danny Care’s try and Marcus Smith’s three-pointer as Quins ended the half a man down when Jack Clifford saw yellow.

Two Smith penalties saw the hosts go back in front as Leicester struggled.

But Semi Kunatani broke through for Quins’ second try before Mike Fitzgerald’s late score gave the Tigers a crucial losing bonus point.

It means Newcastle must get bonus-point wins in their final two games and hope Leicester fail to get a point in their last match at home to Bath if the Falcons are to stay up.

Quins ended a five-game losing streak to move up to fourth, four points ahead of Northampton Saints but having played a game more.

Leicester – who have never finished lower than sixth in the league – now cannot finish any higher than 10th this season.

Former Australia captain James Horwill, who will retire at the end of the season after four years with Harlequins, played his final game at The Stoop

They struggled to create any decent try-scoring chances against a Quins side hoping to make the final play-off place. And the result could have been worse for the Tigers, if a second try for Care with 13 minutes to go not been ruled out after television replays showed he was tackled short of the line.

Ford’s penalties looked like they would be the only way the Tigers would score, even when they had a man advantage either side of the break following Clifford’s sin-binning for a collision with Telusa Veainu as he jumped into the full-back in an unsuccessful attempt to block a clearance kick.

But replacement forward Fitzgerald was able to squeeze over from two metres out in stoppage time to score their only try and go a long way to sealing survival.

Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw told BT Sport:

“We’ve had a tough couple of weeks where things have gone against us.

“We’ve made things hard for ourselves and our discipline’s been extremely poor and it almost cost us again today.

“To get back on track today, a good win at home and sending off a lot of boys was hugely important for us.”

Leicester head coach Geordan Murphy told BBC Radio Leicester:

“I thought Quins deserved to win tonight, we faded away and I don’t want to hide behind any excuses, they were the better side, certainly things went away from us in the second half, but to get a late try and a bonus point shows resilience.

“You look at what’s likely to happen, for Newcastle to get 10 points out of their last two games, yes it is feasible, it’s not overly likely.

“But we’ve got control of our own destiny, it’s in our own hands and we have the opportunity, I want to go into that last game of the season against Bath and I want to put a show on.”

Harlequins: Brown; Ibitoye, Marchant, Tapuai, Walker; Smith, Care; Marler, Elia, Sinckler, Symons, Horwill (co-capt), Dombrandt, Robshaw (co-capt), Clifford.

Replacements: Buchanan, Auterac, Collier, South, Kunatani, Hidalgo-Clyne, Lang, Chisholm.

Leicester Tigers: Veainu: Aspland-Robinson, Smith, Toomua, May; Ford (capt), Harrison; Genge, Polota-Nau, Cole, Spencer, Kitchener, Williams, Thompson, Kalamafoni.

Replacements: Kerr, Gigena, Heyes, Fitzgerald, O’Connor, White, Worth, Olowofela.

Referee: Wayne Barnes.

For the latest rugby union news follow @bbcrugbyunion on Twitter.

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