Leicester Tigers came from behind to record a bonus point 41-18 Premiership victory over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park.
Leicester Tigers moved back in to the play-off places in the Premiership with a handsome victory over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park, this afternoon. Two tries from man of the match Vereniki Goneva helped Tigers on their way, as they responded well to a strong Newcastle start.
There was a try a piece for either side in the first-half, as the Tigers went in narrowly ahead at the break with the score at 13-14. Leicester stepped it up in the second-half and raced clear with three more tries to give them a much needed bonus point victory.
The Falcons started the brighter of the two sides, and were quick to put Leicester on the back foot. Lee Smith, playing his first game since converting from league, put the hosts inside with a long distance penalty early on.
Owen Williams briefly levelled the game at 3-3, but moments later Newcastle capitalised on their early dominance with a try from Noah Cato. Leicester's defensive line looked ragged and Phil Godman converted the score to make it 10-3.
That seemed to give Tigers the wake-up call they needed and they responded with another Williams penalty moments later. England scrum-half, Ben Youngs, then made an excellent break only for Blaine Scally to drop a low pass when he could have been clean through.
Leicester continued to threaten and were unfortunate not to score when Marcos Ayerza failed to find a teammate when inside Newcastle's five metre line. Williams and Godman then exchanged penalties to leave the score at 13-9.
It looked as if that is the how the scores would stay going in to half-time, that was before Goneva produced a moment of individual brilliance. He punted the ball forward on the touchline and chased the ball down to touch down in the corner to Leave Leicester 13-14 ahead at the interval.
Two more penalties from Williams stretched Tigers lead to 13-20 shortly after half-time. Ten minutes later, though, Newcastle were given encouragement when Youngs was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on. From the resulting penalty Scott Lawson made a fantastic break to stretch over in the corner to reduce the Falcons arrears to 18-20.
Despite being down to 14 men, Leicester should have scored just moments later. With three men over, Pablo Matera played a sloppy forward pass and the opportunity was gone. Tigers were to make up for it two minutes later, though, as the impressive Goneva broke free after a strong driving maul to go over for his second try of the afternoon to make it 18-27.
Five minutes later, replacement, Thomas Waldrom, ran through the gap in the Newcastle backline to give Leicester huge breathing space at 18-34. The returning Manu Tuilagi was then shown a yellow card for another deliberate knock-on.
Despite that, Leicester remained in control and Matera went over for his first try in a Tigers shirt to give them a bonus point victory. Remarkably another yellow card was given to Toby Flood just before the end, for another deliberate knock-on. But the gloss couldn't be taken off what ended as a comfortable 18-41 victory for the champions.
Tries: Cato, Lawson
Pens: Smith, Godman
Tries: Goneva 2, Waldrom, Matera
Cons: Williams 2, Flood
Pens: Williams 5
Yellows: Youngs, Tuilagi, Flood
Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Lee Smith, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Will Welch (c), 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Scott MacLeod, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Gary Strain, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Sean Tomes, 20 Chris York, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Danny Barnes.
Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Pablo Matera, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Ed Slater (c), 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Sebastian De Chaves, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 David Mele, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Adam Thompstone.
Referee: Gregory Garner
Assistant referees: Andy Watson, Gareth Copsey
Television match official: Graham Hughes