This fixture is a rematch of May’s showpiece final when Harlequins beat Leicester at Twickenham (5.30pm BST, Saturday, Sept 22).
Quins thoroughly deserved their victory after dominating the regular Aviva Premiership season for its entirety. Harlequins won that game by seven points to condemn Leicester to their second Premiership final defeat in as many years, but Leicester should never have got that close.
For many fans and pundits, Quins performances last season were a one-off, as players such as Chris Robshaw, Mike Brown, Matt Hopper and Tom Williams played far above their expectations. Robshaw, particularly, was a revelation and after being given the England captaincy, the question was always going to be how his team would cope this year.
For the first 40 minutes of their game against Wasps on the opening day, it looked as though Quins still had last season’s celebrations in their minds, as they found themselves 40-14 down. What happened in the second half was truly remarkable as Nick Evans led a breathtaking recovery, as Quins scored four unanswered tries to seal victory.
Since then Quins have easily put away London Welsh and Sale, scoring try bonus points in each game. The danger this weekend may be that they have not been fully tested, as each game has been a formality. Now their forward pack is in for an almighty challenge after three weeks of practically unopposed rugby.
Leicester come into this fixture fortunate to have their unbeaten record intact after Charlie Hodgson missed a last gasp drop-goal from practically under the posts in last weekend’s 9-9 draw with Saracens. Leicester had been at their free-flowing best in the first two weeks, with bonus point victories over London Welsh and Worcester, but they were far from immaculate, conceding a number of tries.
Leicester are likely to be without full-back Geordan Murphy this weekend after he was taken off injured just 15 minutes into last weekend’s big game. His place will likely be taken by Scott Hamilton, with either Matt Smith or new signing Adam Thompstone coming into the starting XV on the wing. Thompstone is yet to make his first appearance, as are fellow summer signings Dan Bowden or Myles Benjamin.
Neither side were able to win their home match last season in the corresponding fixture, with Quins obviously winning the one that counted in the final. Leicester have a very strong home record as they haven’t lost since October 2011. Then is was Harlequins who beat them 27-18, though it was a Leicester side missing almost 15 players due to World Cup commitments.
Leicester v Harlequins Preview Betting Tips Verdict
Leicester don’t lost at home, and after their titanic battle with Sarries last week, they may well be more battle-hardened that Quins, who are yet to be tested this season. Quins best hope is to open the game up and use the likes of Monye and Brown, but in doing that they allow the equally dangerous Manu Tuilagi and Vereniki Goneva into the game.