14-man Tigers down Wasps

Date published: May 9 2015

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Leicester cemented their position in the top four with a battling 26-21 win over Wasps at the Ricoh Arena despite Seremaia Bai's red card.

The Fijian international was sent off for a head butt on Nathan Hughes late in the first half, but the Tigers used all their experience to see out the win.

Tries from Niall Morris, Vereniki Goneva and Adam Thompstone were decisive, as Wasps could only muster seven penalties from Andy Goode and Alex Lozowski.

Leicester struck first in this Midlands derby, with Freddie Burns slotting an early penalty for offside to put Tigers three points up.

And that was followed by a Tigers try, with Morris going over in the corner after patient build up and an eventual crucial pass by Goneva. Burns made no mistake from what was a difficult kick, as Leicester raced into a ten-point lead after just nine minutes.

Wasps didn't take too much time before hitting back, just a couple of minutes in fact, as Goode kicked his first penalty of the afternoon, only for Burns to go up the other end and do the same as Tigers killed any Wasps hope of an immediate comeback.

Goode struck again in this pulsating opening at the Ricoh, and Leicester then went over for the second time in the opening 30 minutes.

It came thanks to Ben Youngs' clever attack, before his offload fell into the path of Goneva who went over on the left. Burns' conversion was wide, but Leicester still had a real foothold of the game leading 18-6.

But then came what could have been the turning point, as Leicester were reduced to 14. Bai was originally issued with a yellow card for his apparent headbutt on Hughes in a ruck, but it was upgraded to a red after Wayne Barnes was able to watch the foul back on the big screen, to the fury of the visitors.

Following that, Goode took his tally for the day to nine, as he sent one over from halfway before the break. Goode was given a chance to narrow the gap again soon after the break, but scuffed a kick wide of the posts, Burns showing him how to do it soon after as he put Leicester into a 21-12 lead.

On the hour, Goode was again on target, before doing so again to ensure a huge final 15 minutes with the difference just three.

Wasps, the top try scorers in the league, were always incredibly well marshalled by Tigers, who didn't allow them any real chances for the majority of the game.

And with ten minutes, Leicester went over for the third time to once again grab control of the tie. It came after some lengthy time spent in the Wasps 22 and Thompstone finally went over in the right hand corner as the 14 men of Leicester continued their incredible second-half performance that saw them deny Wasps any way back in.

Burns missed the conversion however, and the gap was at eight. Alex Lozowski came onto the field after that try, and immediately kicked a penalty to ensure an even nervier final five minutes for both sets of fans.

But despite a push forward, the 14 men of Leicester controlled the final passages of play to keep themselves in the box seat for a play-off spot with Wasps only able to pick up a losing bonus point in front of a full house of 32,019.

The scorers:

For Wasps:
Pens: Goode 6, Lozowski

For Leicester:
Tries: Morris, Goneva, Thompstone
Con: Burns
Pens: Burns 3
Red Card: Bai

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 James Haskell (c), 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 James Gaskell, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan 
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay 17 Simon McIntyre 18 Will Taylor 19 Joe Launchbury 20 Guy Thompson 21 Charlie Davies 22 Alex Lozowski 23 Rob Miller

Leicester: 15 Niall Morris, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Seremaia Bai, 11 Vereneki Goneva, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs (c), 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Geoff Parling, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola 
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Christian Loamanu

Venue: Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Kelvin Stewart
TMO: Sean Davey

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