Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Summit in Sight for Club Who Climbed Back to the Big Time

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Summit in Sight for Club Who Climbed Back to the Big Time

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones Rugby Correspondent

[bar] IX years ago Harlequins returned to the Premiership at the first time of asking and now the club are just two wins away from completing a remarkable journey back to the top of the English game.

Victory against Leicester at The Stoop on Saturday would earn them a vital home semi-final play-off in May but, with the Tigers boasting an outstanding record in south-west London, Quins can take nothing for granted.

Having led the Premiership since round three, Quins have been the team to beat but Tigers have experience of doing just that and have won on their last seven visits to The Stoop. That run of success serves as a timely warning to Quins that after so many weeks at the top of the table, they could be denied top spot right at the death.

If Leicester extend their domination of this fixture with an emphatic bonuspoint victory, they will reduce the gap between the teams to just one point.

Simply making the play-offs is not enough for Quins and Easter is aware of the boost provided by home advantage as they bid to earn the right to contest the Twickenham final on May 26.

The No8, whose international fortunes have dipped since the World Cup, remains determined to prove his worth at club and Test level.

"Leicester are the form team in the Premiership and a lot of those home games between us have been incredibly close," said Easter, a member of the promotion team in 2006. "You cannot switch off against a team like Leicester because they will punish you and that is the lesson we learnt from last season's match at home, losing 13-17, but we are a better side this time around.

"If we win then we are certain of a home semi-final and that is a real advantage.

With a week off after this game, all our energies are being channelled into what is the biggest challenge in English club rugby at the moment. …

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