|Leicester (23) 35|
|Tries: Holmes 2, Tuilagi, May Cons: Ford 3 Pens: Ford 3|
|Harlequins (9) 24|
|Tries: Murley, Dombrandt Con: Lang Pens: Lang 4|
Leicester Tigers ended an eight-match losing streak in all competitions as they secured a 35-24 bonus-point Premiership win over Harlequins.
The hosts were in control at the break through the boot of George Ford and two Jonah Holmes tries, with James Lang kicking three penalties in reply.
Scores from Manu Tuilagi and Jonny May extended Tigers’ lead as Cadan Murley and Alex Dombrandt crossed for Quins.
Victory came after Geordan Murphy was named permanent head coach in midweek.
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Leicester had been on their worst run of form since 1975 but the former Ireland international, was handed a full-time deal regardless, having been placed in caretaker charge following Matt O’Connor’s sacking in September.
The Tigers, whose preparation, Murphy revealed, had been badly hampered by illness, put themselves in command with a first-half display which featured some of their best play of what has been a difficult season so far.
Quins rarely looked like coming back into the match in the second half as their poor away form, which has seen them win just once on the road in the league since September 2017, continued.
The visitors turned down the opportunity to kick a conversion following Dombrandt’s last-minute score in a bid to secure a losing bonus point, but their hopes were dashed immediately after the restart when they were bundled into touch.
Leicester’s victory was their first since beating Scarlets in the European Champions Cup in October, and their first Premiership win since overcoming Northampton at Twickenham on 6 October.
The five points moves them up to sixth in the table, a place and a point behind Quins.
Leicester head coach Geordan Murphy:
On the illnesses which swept through the Tigers camp this week: “We shut up shop on Wednesday afternoon and our forwards did some light line-outs yesterday and that was it for the week.
“They had all sorts – tonsillitis, flu, colds – it was horrific. Guys like Manu Tuilagi were in bed all day yesterday, Gareth Owen, the replacement 13, Matt Toomua, Ben Youngs, Ben White, Harry Wells did not train yesterday because he was struggling so we had quite a few people down.
“We knew we had to push our engines out today and it was going to be a good physical game. I thought some of those guys did brilliantly. Everyone showed up and everyone wanted to play.”
Harlequins head of rugby Paul Gustard:
“It was old school Leicester today, lying on the wrong side, slowing the ball down. We wanted to play a high-tempo game but they slowed it down at line-outs, slowed it down at restarts and never allowed us into the game.
“At half-time, we were still confident, we believed in ourselves but we didn’t get it going in the second half. We were definitely the second-best team today.
“This was a team that we played against today which could not win a game and we can’t score away from home.”
Leicester: Worth; Holmes, Tuilagi, Toomua, May; Ford (capt), Youngs; Genge, Polota-Nau, Cole, Wells, Spencer, Fitzgerald, Thompson, Kalamafoni.
Replacements: Kerr, Ma’afu, Heyes, Williams, O’Connor, White, Owen, Olowofela.
Harlequins: Brown; Earle, Marchant, Lasike, Murley; Lang, Mulchrone; Marler, Ward, Sinckler, Symons, Merrick, Dombrandt, Clifford, Chisholm (capt).
Replacements: Crumpton, Boyce, Collier, Glynn, Bothma, Lewis, Smith, Alofa.
Referee: Luke Pearce.
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