Harlequins moved back into the Premiership’s top four after holding off lowly Leicester Tigers for a crucial 23-19 win on Friday, while Sale Sharks played out a costly draw at Bristol Bears.
In a wide-open race for the final play-off spot, Quins set the marker for the penultimate regular-season weekend at The Stoop to leapfrog Northampton Saints, who host Worcester Warriors on Saturday.
George Ford kicked 12 first-half points as Leicester led by two at the break despite Danny Care’s early score and five points from the boot of Marcus Smith.
Two more Smith penalties edged Quins ahead and Semi Kunatani burst through the visiting defence with seven minutes left for a converted score.
Mike Fitzgerald dived over for Leicester at the death for a losing bonus point that leaves them 10 clear of bottom club Newcastle Falcons, who have two games to play.
.@Harlequins scored the only try in a tense first half but it’s @LeicesterTigers who lead at the break @George_Fordy‘s trusty right boot is doing the damage again #GallagherPrem #HARvLEI pic.twitter.com/RZjgH6QdRN
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) May 3, 2019
A remarkable ending at Ashton Gate saw both teams fluff their chances to snatch victory in a 20-20 draw between Bristol and Sale, who are now five points adrift of the top four and all but out of the play-off picture.
The teams shared two tries apiece with Denny Solomona and AJ MacGinty scores for Sale matched by Charles Piutau and Alapati Leiua.
Sales’ Jono Ross was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle, but Ian Madigan missed with the 80th-minute penalty.
Faf de Klerk then saw a 40-metre effort rebound off the post for Sale and Bristol fumbled the ball on the line after working the ball up to the other end in dramatic scenes.
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