It won’t be a surprise if in-form visitors take the spoils
ANOTHER week and another top four Premiership side for Leicester to face.
Steve Borthwick quite rightly says that the recent run of form is a perfect indication of where Leicester are in their development.
They are capable of doing good things, and on one-off occasions can do very good things (witness Ulster and the Challenge Cup in general).
But in the main they are still a side in transition and rightly sit in the bottom half of the table. The continuing tendency for slow starts, and presenting the opposition with a lead, is a symptom of a squad still finding its way.
Harlequins are a side in very good form. Lying fourth in the table, nine points up on fifth-placed Northampton and on a three-game winning streak, including coming from behind to beat Wasps with only 14 men, is indicative of a side heading for the play-offs and it’s 2018 since the Tigers beat them.
Meanwhile, Leicester’s Premiership form could be categorised as understandable but worrying.
The last Premiership victory was in March against Newcastle, and it is feasible the rest of the season could be lacking any further wins in the competition.
For all that the Premiership is the bread and butter for the club, it would be a surprise if some eyes aren’t already turning towards the added jam of Twickenham and the European Challenge Cup final.
Tigers will be second favourites against an in-form Montpellier, but the prospect of a trophy for the club cannot be ignored.
For that reason, there might be some surprise that Borthwick has gone strong with his selection this weekend.
While, to Borthwick’s credit, it is no longer certain which is the Tigers’ first choice 15 or even 23, a large number of this week’s matchday squad can lay claim to high status in the pecking order.
It may be that Borthwick wants some match practice for some of the likely combinations for Twickenham. Given the positions in the table, the fact that Harlequins are largely full strength (injuries and suspensions permitting) is less of a surprise.
For yet another week Leicester will go into the game as the underdogs, and while a loss is never welcome, no one would be surprised if Quins take the spoils.
However, Leicester are getting better and have managed to pull off wins in unlikely circumstances.
Thankfully, the Tigers can no longer be written off.