Aviva Premiership Semis: Quins can defy away draw at Tigers
Saturday sees Leicester Tigers take on Harlequins in the first of the weekend’s Aviva Premiership Semi Finals at Welford Road and with the boon of home draw Coral make the East Midlands mob favourites 4/11 favourites for victory. However Quins are the reigning champions and they can reward their backers by prevailing on the +6 handicap at odds of 10/11.
Leicester Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill has spoken of the importance of home advantage to his side and the Tigers have won nine of their 11 home games this season. To add historical context to the task facing John Kingston’s Quins just three of 14 semi-finals have been won by the away side since the introduction of the current format in 2005/6.
To make matters harder for the visitors they will be without their England skipper Chris Robshaw through injury.
However if anyone knows how to get the better of the Tigers it’s the boys from the Stoop, who have have beaten them in four of their five encounters across the past two seasons. Travelling to a raucously partisan Welford Road shouldn’t overly inconvenience them either as the 22-9 win they recorded to end Leicester’s 11-month unbeaten home streak in September was their second successive victory at their opponents homestead.
Having beaten Tigers in last season’s Premiership Final to boot the pressures of knock out rugby have failed to change the recent status quo.
Since the disappointment of their Heineken Cup quarter final defeat to Munster, Harlequins have shown no sign of letting lingering disappointment their season go off the boil winning their all three of their remaining Premiership games.
Leicester are the biggest team in English Rugby Union, with an unparalleled record of domestic league titles since the turn of the millennium, but with such a record comes heavy expectation and if Quins can get their noses in front and silence Welford Road they can post a famous victory on the way to their second success final.