Premiership: Tabai Matson delighted with Harlequins bounce back

·2-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Harlequins senior coach Tabai Matson was pleased with his team’s response to their European exit as they beat Leicester Tigers on Saturday.

Matson’s men suffered an agonising 60-59 loss to Montpellier over two legs in their Champions Cup Round-of-16 clash.

Bounce back win

However, Harlequins bounced back, claiming an impressive 26-20 win over the table-topping Tigers, much to the delight of Matson as they push for a Premiership play-off spot.

“We probably couldn’t have picked a better side to bounce back against because with Leicester on the horizon you just can’t dwell,” he said.

“If you’re off your game they’ll make you look really poor so they were a fantastic team to bounce back into.

“The good thing for us is that we’re still in the top four and that has been our goal all year. Lots of work still to do but this will make us really buoyant coming in on Monday.”

A late Andre Esterhuizen try secured the win against the Tigers, the team they may meet in the semi-finals as the competition heads towards the play-off stage.

“To be able to hang on in the fight and be in the fight was really important,” Matson said.

“You have to respect Leicester for what they do. They’ve won 17 games and they’ve set the way because they’re just so consistent.

“To able to arm wrestle and not give away too many penalties and score three tries is pretty important for a number of reasons, not just the result.

“You know what is coming against Leicester. Stopping it is really difficult even if you know it’s coming.

“But strategically they are really smart too, being able to know that often the game sways in the last 15 minutes.”

Despite the loss, Tigers coach Steve Borthwick was happy that his side is still competing for silverware domestically and in European competition.

“It’s an incredibly exciting prospect. If you go back 18 months, could you have possibly imagined Leicester Tigers would be in this position? You will not get one word of complaint from me,” he said.

“I want to play as many games as possible and give the supporters something to cheer about.

“There are lots of big games. They keep coming thick and fast but I would much rather be in this position than a lot of the other teams’. I want to be at a club and a team that is involved in big games.”

READ MORE: Harlequins strike late to beat Leicester, Wasps thump Worcester and Northampton snatch win at Bath

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