Tigers late show sinks Gloucester

Date published: April 2 2016

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Manu Tuilagi scored two tries as Leicester came from behind to edge out Gloucester 35-30 in a thrilling game at Welford Road on Saturday.

The visitors had been on a very poor run of late and this looked set to continue as the hosts raced out of the blocks, Telusa Veainu and Tuilagi scoring early tries.

However, Gloucester rallied and tries from Steve McColl, Henry Trinder and Paddy McAllister established a remarkable 14-point lead at the interval.

Recent weeks have seen Gloucester become more and more injury hit and this played a part in the second half as fresh legs from the hosts' bench stretched their defence.

Tuilagi added his second try of the match early in the half before Peter Betham and Vereniki Goneva scored late on to secure a dramatic victory.

The win will provide a huge boost to Leicester's hopes of securing a play-off ahead of rvals Northampton. They now sit in fourth following the bonus-point victory, four points clear of Saints in fifth who travel to Wasps on Sunday.

Gloucester, meanwhile, will see this as an opportunity missed in the chase for the top six and are now nine points adrift of Quins. 

Gloucester took an early lead through the boot of scrum-half Grieg Laidlaw. The Scotsman scoring a penalty in the fourth minute for a three-point lead.

Prior to the match Tuilagi was marked out as the danger man for Gloucester, tearing a hole in the Gloucester defence he played in Veainu for the first try of the match in the eighth minute.

Tuilagi got on the scoresheet himself in the 12th minute, crossing in the corner. The touch judge nearly denied him but the TMO adjudged that he had remained in touch and awarded the try for Tigers to lead 10-3.

Greig Laidlaw cut the deficit to four points with a penalty in the 19th minute. This was before McColl was played in by James Hook to score a first try for the Cherry and Whites and take them into the lead.

Another try was scored in the 31st minute by Gloucester, Trinder stepping away from a defender to touch down. Laidlaw added the conversion for a 10-20 lead.

The visitors remarkably scored again in the 37th minute, they showed good patience in building up phases in the hosts' 22 before McAllister drove over in the corner. Laidlaw landed his conversion from the touchline to establish a 17-point lead.

Before the break Owen Williams scored a penalty for Tigers to make the half-time score 13-27.

After the interval Tuilagi scored his second try of the match, the England international powered his way out of the clutches of Tom Marshall to cross for a vital score. Williams converted to bring the hosts within seven points of the visitors. He followed this up with a penalty in the 55th minute to bring the score to 23-27.

Laidlaw notched another three points for Gloucester in the 66th minute. However, Leicester had a try through Betham in the 67th minute. Tulagi was in the tick of the action once more, offloading to Betham who raced in. Williams missed the chance to draw Leicester level with the conversion.

This did not hurt the Tigers as they rallied back in the 74th minute, Goneva getting on the end of a well-worked move to put the hosts back in the lead. Williams added the extras to make the score 35-30 as the hosts held on to ensure victory.

The scorers:

For Leicester:
Tries: Veainu, Tuilagi 2, Betham, Goneva
Con: Williams 2
Pen: Williams 2

For Gloucester:
Tries: McColl, Trinder, McAllister
Con: Laidlaw 3
Pen: Laidlaw 3

Leicester Tigers: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ed Slater (c), 7 Lachlan McCaffrey, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Sebastian de Chaves, 20 Brendon O'Connor, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Mathew Tait

Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Rob Cook, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Steve McColl, 10 James Hook, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Paddy McAllister
Replacements: 16 Luke Cole, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 John Afoa, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Ollie Thorley, 23 Jacob Rowan

Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick, Paul Burton
TMO: David Grashof

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