Leicester overcame a sluggish start to earn a convincing 44-19 win over a poor Newcastle side at freezing cold Welford Road.
Leicester overcame a sluggish start to earn a convincing win over a poor Newcastle side at freezing cold Welford Road.
Thirty-five tonnes of snow was cleared from the pitch and terraces by a hundred people comprising staff, stewards and volunteers to enable the game to take place and their efforts were certainly rewarded with a superb second-half performance which saw the Tigers rack up five tries.
Newcastle took the lead after only three minutes when Thomas Waldrom went offside at a ruck thirty metres out and Jimmy Gopperth made no mistake with the easy kick. The Falcons' lead was shortlived as Billy Twelvetrees levelled the scores with a simple penalty, five minutes later.
The Tigers' pack began to gain superiority in the scrummage and from one close to the Newcastle line, Jordan Crane broke strongly, the Falcons were penalised and Twelvetrees kicked another goal but the scores were soon level again when Gopperth kicked one for the visitors.
When Leicester were penalised at a ruck on half way Gopperth made no mistake with another excellent kick to put the Falcons 9-6 ahead after 21 minutes and soon after the outside half repeated the dose with another splendid kick from almost the same position.
The game was a stop-start affair with neither side able to assert any control but at long last the Tigers showed some urgency with Matt Smith and Scott Hamilton running strongly to create a platform in the visitors' 22. The Falcons were penalised and the Tigers chose a scrum at which the beleaguered Falcons were forced to concede a penalty try which Twelvetrees converted.
With the last movement of the first half, Gopperth had a chance to give his side an interval lead but he made a hash of his drop goal attempt to allow the Tigers a 13-12 advantage at the interval.
Leicester then scored a brilliant try within forty seconds of the restart. Crane broke away from a maul, the movement was carried on by Waldrom and George Skivington until it reached the opposition 22. Crane then received the ball again and powered his way to and over the line for the try which Twelvetrees converted.
Six minutes later the game appeared over as a contest. Some good interpassing from the home threequarters got them to within a few metres of the Falcons line. Manu Tuilagi collected the loose ball and brushed away some woeful Falcons' tackling for a try which Twelvetrees was unable to convert.
Matters got a whole lot worse for the Falcons as they were hit by two tries in three minutes. Firstly an inside pass from the outstanding Crane sent Anthony Allen over and then
Tuilagi intercepted from inside his own half to race away and score. Twelvetrees was unable to land either of two difficult conversion attempts.
Despite the usual abundance of substitutions Leicester's impetus was not impeded with Matt Smith crossing for try number six after 68 minutes which Twelvetrees was able to convert before the Falcons got a consolation try from lively wing Luke Fielden, with Gopperth landing the extras.
Tries: Penalty Try, Crane, Tuilagi, Allen, Smith
Cons: Twelvetrees (4)
Pens: Twelvetrees (2)
Pens: Gopperth (4)
Leicester: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Lee Robinson, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Manu Tuilagi, 10 Billy Twelvetrees, 9 James Grindal, 8 Jordan Crane (c), 7 Craig Newby, 6 Thomas Waldrom, 5 George Skivington, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Julian White, 2 George Chuter, 1 Peter Bucknall.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Jonny Harris, 18 Ryan Bower, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Steve Mafi, 21 Jason Spice, 22 George Ford, 23 Andy Forsyth.
Newcastle: 15 Jeremy Manning, 14 Luke Fielden, 13 Tane Tu'ipulutu, 12 Luke Eves, 11 Gcobani Bobo, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Micky Young, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Redford Pennycook, 6 Brent Wilson, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 James Hudson (captain), 3 Micky Ward, 2 Kieran Brookes 1 Grant Shiells.
Replacements:16 Crombie,17 Darren Fearn, 18 James Hall, 19 Glen Townson, 20 Will Welch, 21 Chris Pilgrim, 22 Micheal Tait, 23 Tom Catterick.
Date: Saturday, November 27
Venue: Welford Road
Referee: Greg Garner