The 2012 Aviva Premiership Final lived up to expectations. Big hits, flare a big crowd and the sunshine coupled with two sides that had come to play and the Final gave us a great day out at Twickenham and for the uncommitted fans possibly the result they hoped for.
Like their last meeting, it was Quins who started stronger and were rewarded with a Tom Williams try on 9 minutes. Evans failed with the conversion but kicked three penalties to take Quins in with a one point lead at half time 14-13, thanks to a Tigers steal and Mafi try from a lineout and a couple of penalties and the conversion from Ford making it tight.
We all felt that the side that scored first in the second period who get the edge and it was fitting that man of the match Robshaw should go over for Quins on 57 minutes, Evans converted and it was 21-13. Evans continued to kick his penalties and took Quins out to 30-13 and the commentators said it was in the bag! But as usual no one told the Tigers and back they roared with a try from Allen and conversion from Ford 30-20 and 10 minutes for Quins to hang on. A couple of penalties took Tigers into the Quins 22 but they were not to be denied their first ever Premiership crown and this new look side stood firm to take us to the final whistle and the score of:
Harlequins 30-23 Leicester
Tries: Williams, Robshaw
Pens: Evans 6
Tries: Mafi, Allen
Cons: Ford 2
Pens: Ford 3
Harlequins: Brown; Williams, Lowe, Turner-Hall, Monye; Evans, Care; Marler, Gray, Johnston, Kohn, Robson, Fa’asavalu, Robshaw, Easter.
Replacements: Buchanan, Lambert, Collier, Vallejos, Guest, Dickson, Clegg, Hopper.
Leicester: Murphy; Agulla, M Tuilagi, Allen, A Tuilagi; Ford, B Youngs; Ayerza, Chuter, Cole, Skivington, Parling, Mafi, Salvi, Waldrom.
Replacements: T Youngs, Mulipola, Castrogiovanni, Kitchener, Newby, Harrison, Hamilton, Twelvetrees.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU).
Harlequins coach Conor O’Shea: “A couple of years ago this team said it wanted to create a different chapter in Quins history. We want to be a great side. This has to be a starting point. We’ll start from scratch next year, but we’ll enjoy tonight. It’s a very special day for the club. I’m so proud of the effort of those players.”
Leicester head coach Richard Cockerill: “We didn’t cherish the ball. We tried to force it a bit too much which we didn’t want to do. They outplayed us at times although we still managed to score two good tries and fight right until the end again. But they probably deserved it. We will go away now and regroup.”