Harlequins 30 Leicester Tigers 23
Harlequins won their first ever Aviva Premiership title with a superb 30-23 victory over Leicester Tigers at Twickenham.
George Ford was favoured at stand-off over Billy Twelvetrees for the Tigers and, despite eight points from the boot of the youngster to go alongside a Steve Mafi touchdown, the league winners led 14-13 at half-time through three Nick Evans' penalties and a Tom Williams' try. Two more three-pointers from Evans took them further clear before captain Chris Robshaw barged across the whitewash. Harlequins' New Zealand stand-off then added another from the tee which, although Leicester mounted a comeback with a converted try from Anthony Allen and a Ford penalty, secured the trophy. Despite Quins finishing top of the table, it was Leicester who were considered odds-on favourites having won their previous 11 encounters. However, the Midlands' outfit started slowly and the London-based side took the early initiative. It was similar to the way in which they opened last year's final against Saracens, allowing the opposition to dominate possession. Credit must also go to Harlequins who seized an 8-0 advantage after 10 minutes. After Evans had kicked a penalty, Williams touched down for the first try of the match when good hands from Mike Brown sent the winger over. The Tigers hit back through the boot of Ford before his opposite number restored their eight-point lead. But it was Leicester who were gaining the initiative and, after their stand-off had reduced the arrears, Mafi sprinted clear from a Quins' mistake at a lineout, Ford converting. On 39 minutes, the Twickenham Stoop side hit back. Thomas Waldrom was sin-binned for cynically slowing the ball down and Evans converted the resultant penalty opportunity. Into the second period and successive three-pointers from the Kiwi fly-half took Harlequins six points clear. And then the killer blow. After successive drives close to the Tigers' line, Robshaw's superb line saw him crash over. Evans scored a sixth penalty, but Leicester responded with Allen's try 13 minutes from time. The Quins' nerves became even more frazzled when Ford reduced the deficit to seven points. However, the London-based outfit deservedly held on despite a late onslaught.