Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Wallace fires warning to Tigers

Harlequins flanker Luke Wallace has warned Leicester his side are playing their best rugby ahead of their' crunch Aviva Premiership clash at the Stoop on Friday night.

Quins go into the game fifth in the table, five points behind fourth-placed Bath and nine points short of their opponents.

An impressive 27-12 victory at Sale last Friday kept Quins' faint hopes of a play-off place alive but Conor O'Shea's team may need to win all three of their remaining matches to secure a semi-final spot.

After Leicester, Quins face Exeter away in the league before hosting Bath on the final day of the season and Wallace believes his team are hitting form at just the right time.

"We've played well in patches this season, we just haven't been able to do it on the pitch for 80 minutes each match," Wallace told Press Association Sport.

"But we're playing well now and putting in those complete performances and with that we're playing better rugby too - I think we're playing better rugby now than we have all season.

"So there's definitely a chance of finishing fourth - we have to approach every game as a knock-out game because if we slip up at any point we're going to be out of the running.

"The pressure is on there's no doubt about that."

Leicester, who are third and still aiming for a home semi-final, will provide a stern test on Friday night.

The Tigers are unbeaten in the Premiership this year and have won their last seven league matches in a row.

"With Leicester you always have to match them up front," Wallace said.

"So how we do in the scrum and the line-out and the maul will be pretty key for us.

"But it's also about focusing on our strengths - putting pressure on them in defence, looking after the ball and winning rucks - dominating at the break down.

"We're getting more consistency now with people coming back from injury and I think the conditions suit us - we can play the game how we want to play and at the tempo we want to."

The contest is likely to be decided on fine margins and few players at the Stoop will have more experience of handling the big occasion than Quins number eight Nick Easter.

Easter admits his team are outsiders for a place in the top four but believes momentum at this stage of the season can often prove crucial.

"We've got a chance of finishing fourth - it's slimmer than we would have liked but stranger things have happened before," the 35-year-old said.

"Pressure does funny things to teams and we can only control what we do.

"We'll be more battle-hardened if we do reach those play-offs because we know every game now is effectively a knock-out game.

"If we can keep the momentum going, that breeds confidence and belief which can get you through games when you're not playing so well.

"There's no doubt both teams will be hugely up for it - the Premiership is our biggest focus and Leicester are gunning for a home semi-final so neither team is going to be holding back that's for sure."

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph