Planet Rugby

Leeds down the Tigers

08th November 2009 17:35

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Henry Faafili v Leicester

Keeping the pressure on: Henry Fa'afili goes for a run for Leeds

Neil Back guided a youthful Leeds side to a 28-17 win over former employers Leicester in the opening match of their LV= Cup at Headingley.

The 2003 World Cup-winner, who served the Tigers with such distinction during his seven years at Welford Road, is steadily acclimatising to the demands of top-flight rugby as Leeds' head coach.

Last weekend, his men beat Wasps to register their first Guinness Premiership win of the season - and overcoming the reigning champions represented another notable scalp.

It has to be remembered this was the much-maligned Anglo-Welsh Cup and against a severely under-strength Leicester outfit.

Yet Back and director of rugby Andy Key - another Leicester old boy - have fashioned an admirable spirit at Leeds for what promises nonetheless to be a long, hard winter.

There were certainly plenty of encouraging signs as Leeds outscored Leicester by three tries to two, and many of their players on show had progressed through the club's Academy system.

Debutant Joe Ford, son of England coach Mike, put in a man-of-the-match performance at fly-half and upstaged his younger brother George - who was playing in the same position for the Tigers.

Joe Ford, 19, got Leeds off the mark in the ninth minute with a penalty. But his brother levelled the scores five minutes later with a three-pointer of his own.

In the 17th minute, Joe Ford claimed his second penalty and then finished off a brilliant move seven minutes later as Leeds cut Leicester to pieces to claim their first try.

Scott Mathie broke from midfield at pace, finding Rhys Oakley to his right - and he showed intelligence to send the supporting Joe Ford scampering clear down the right flank.

He could not convert his own try - but eight minutes later, Leeds had their second try when full-back Jon Goodridge broke from deep and sent wing Scott Armstrong in at the left corner.

Joe Ford added the conversion, and it got even better for the hosts on the stroke of half-time when a quick penalty tap from Mathie allowed him to saunter clear past a dozing Leicester defence.

The extras were added by Joe Ford, and Leeds were in total control at half-time with a 25-3 advantage.

Ten minutes after the restart, Leeds lost former Leicester prop Alex Moreno to the sin-bin - and moments later, Leicester's Tom Armes burrowed his way over the line for a try which George Ford converted.

Another penalty from Joe Ford gave Leeds a little breathing space. But they lost rookie flanker Calum Clark to the sin-bin on the hour - and with 11 minutes remaining, Will Hurrell capitalised on some flimsy defending to claim Leicester's second try.

George Ford added the extras, but Leeds held on and will head to Sale on Friday in confident mood when they go in search of a third successive win.

The scorers:

For Leeds:
Tries: Armstrong, Mathie, Ford
Cons: Ford 2
Pens: Ford 3

For Leicester:Tries: Hurrell, Armes
Cons: Ford 2
Pen: Ford

Leeds Carnegie: 15 Jon Goodridge, 14 Henry Faafili, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Henry Paul, 11 Scott Armstrong, 10 Joe Ford, 9 Scott Mathie, 8 Rhys Oakley, 7 Calum Clark, 6 Tom Denton, 5 Jon Pendlebury (capt), 4 Phil Murphy, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Phil Nilsen, 1 Alex Moreno.
Replacements: 16 George Warner, 17 Mike MacDonald, 18 Peter Bucknall, 19 Richard Beck, 20 Jacob Rowan, 21 Dan White, 22 Jason Strange, 23 Peter Wackett.

Leicester: 15 Lucas Amorosino, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Greig Tonks, 12 Joe Cobden, 11 Will Hurrell, 10 George Ford, 9 James Grindal (capt), 8 Tom Armes, 7 Matt Everard, 6 Craig Hammond, 5 Dan Hemingway, 4 Sam Raven, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Robbie Harris.
Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 Ryan Bower, 18 Johnny Harris, 19 Rob Conquest, 20 Huw Marsden, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Andy Forsyth, 23 Connor Smith.

Referee: Sean Davey (England)
Assistant referees: Paul Emerson (England), Alan Hughes (England)
Television match official: David Hudson (England)

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