While the timing of his decision to join the Sale Sharks next season may seem confusing with Leicester on the rise again, it doesn’t appear to have had a negative impact on his game.

But Youngs was a worthy contender as well, benefiting from a new conditioning schedule this season that made him look as sharp as he has ever been. He was a constant threat from the fringes, at one point knocking down Smith with a defense as he moved up into the Quins 22.

Ford and Youngs combined appropriately for the decisive moment of the match, when, with Leicester leading 9-6 after a close first half, they instinctively teamed up to expose Louis Lynagh, who had isolated himself on the edge of the defensive line. Ford pulled the young Harlequins winger into the tackle before clearing Youngs’ left sideline. The England scrum-half cleared before showing lavish skill as he kicked the ball with the outside of his boot into midfield for Potter to recover and score under the posts.

The Quins these days are however a defiant team and despite the momentum and conditions seemingly against them they did not collapse and Lynagh would make amends with his own thrilling try, winning the race on his own chip after the hands Smith’s rapids have carved out. open half a chance.

Moments earlier, Smith had picked up his third penalty but failed with his conversion attempt which ultimately cost Quins the chance to draw.

But it is the lavishness of the champions that has lost them. Their golden opportunity presented itself just before half-time, when Huw Jones overlooked a two-man overlap and instead tucked in the ball and pushed towards the line, only to be held back by a brilliant tackle from Potter.

Alex Dombrandt had previously been denied a try in an accidental collision with referee Ian Tempest which prevented a tackle from Ellis Genge and deep in the second half the No.8 failed to holding back a cross shot from Smith when a try was thrown. But Leicester, who had lost Jasper Wiese to a yellow card at the end of the first half, had the means to secure a long distance victory.

“There was a period here where the games the Leicester Tigers were involved in weren’t seen from the outside as big games – or they were big games for the wrong reasons,” Borthwick said. “This is not where we want to be. The players have worked incredibly hard to get this team out of where they were and you’ve seen the crowds gradually increase. Hope they are proud of what the team is doing at the moment.

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