TABAI MATSON admitted that toppling Leicester 26-20 in their Gallagher Premiership title clash at Twickenham Stoop has helped Harlequins recover from the disappointment of their European setback.

Quins were dumped out of the Heineken Champions Cup by Montpellier by a single point on aggregate a week earlier but defeating the league leaders keeps alive their hopes of securing a home play-off.

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

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

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Harlequins' players celebrate Andre Esterhuizen scorring a try during the Gallagher Premiership match at Twickenham Stoop, LondonHarlequins' players celebrate Andre Esterhuizen scorring a try during the Gallagher Premiership match at Twickenham Stoop, London

“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.”

Quins staged a trademark fightback after slipping 20-18 behind with six minutes to go as Leicester’s momentum was halted by an Andre Esterhuizen try in the right corner.

The rivals could meet again in the semi-finals and Harlequins have landed a potentially telling psychological blow.

“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.”

Leicester are challenging on domestic and European fronts, but director of rugby Steve Borthwick is happy juggling his playing resources in the quest for silverware after a period in the doldrums.

“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,” Borthwick 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.”

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