Planet Rugby

Vainikolo late show sinks Leicester

30th October 2010 19:19

Share:

Lesley Vainikolo smiling after win

All smiles: Lesley Vainikolo

A late try from Lesley Vainikolo gave Gloucester a remarkable 19-12 Aviva Premiership victory over Leicester.

The substitute scored with 90 seconds left to give the hosts their fourth successive league win after an enthralling tussle.

The former England wing powered over in blockbusting fashion, claiming a try that required confirmation from the video referee before it was awarded.

Goalkickers Nicky Robinson and Billy Twelvetrees had earlier cancelled each other out at Kingsholm, slotting four penalties apiece.

Robinson's 72nd-minute miss after Tigers centre Matt Smith was sin-binned looked to have cost his team dear, but Vainikolo got him out of jail.

Robinson converted Vainikolo's score for a 14-point haul, leaving champions Leicester still searching for a first domestic away-day success this season.

Gloucester maintain impressive Premiership momentum heading into two weeks of Anglo-Welsh LV= Cup action.

But although Leicester left the west country with a losing bonus point, they still have not won on the road in Premiership combat since April.

Both teams went at it hammer and tongs, and while the skill factor never threatened to hit overdrive, fearless commitment ensured a gripping encounter for a crowd of just under 14,000.

And the victory means Gloucester have now won their past 16 matches in all competitions, a sequence stretching back to November 8, 2009 when LV= Cup visitors Cardiff Blues toppled them.

Number eight Luke Narraway captained Gloucester with Mike Tindall on England duty - Jonny May replaced Tindall in midfield - while Narraway's back-row colleague Brett Deacon faced his former club.

Leicester were minus England quartet Toby Flood, Ben Young, Dan Cole and Tom Croft, but Jordan Crane returned on the bench following a pre-season ankle injury, where there was also a place for loan scrum-half signing Jason Spice.

Deacon's outing against the Tigers though, lasted just 17 minutes as he was forced off injured during a fast and furious opening.

Twelvetrees kicked Leicester into an early lead that Robinson cancelled out just five minutes later, before Leicester's fly-half restored the advantage with another penalty.

Peter Buxton replaced Deacon, but despite both teams making plenty of errors, there was admirable intent and no little skill on show.

It was the final pass that went to ground on a handful of occasions, and in terms of scoring contributions, the boot dominated.

A second Robinson penalty made it 6-6, and although he then missed two chances in quick succession, a superb strike from halfway by the Welshman gave Gloucester a three-point interval advantage.

Gloucester's forwards began the second period in determined mood, establishing promising field position, but Robinson missed a resulting penalty chance, leaving him with a 50 per cent strike-rate from six attempts.

The home side increasingly looked to free dangerous wing Charlie Sharples in space, and his darting breaks created sufficient problems for Tigers' defence to force another penalty that Robinson landed.

Leicester knew they needed a quick response, and after they noticeably increased the tempo, Twelvetrees completed his penalty hat-trick when Gloucester infringed just 25 metres out.

It was tight, tense and attritional, with no obvious sign of a winner entering the final quarter as Gloucester introduced their firebrand French hooker Olivier Azam off the bench.

Twelvetrees tied the game 17 minutes from time, but with Azam's fellow substitute Vainikolo also joining the action, Gloucester possessed an enhanced attacking thrust.

Leicester continued to give as good as they got, with number eight Thomas Waldrom repeatedly surging over the gain-line and keeping Gloucester's defence honest.

Vainikolo, cleverly used as powerful runner through midfield channels, almost powered over for a try with eight minutes left.

He was hauled down short of the line, but Smith was yellow-carded for killing possession, only for Robinson to miss a gilt-edged penalty chance from 30 metres.

Gloucester lock Jim Hamilton then followed Smith to the bin after an off-the-ball incident, yet Vainikolo came up trumps when it mattered, and the home side could start celebrating another important win.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:
Try: Vainikolo
Con: Robinson
Pen: Robinson 4

For Leicester:
Pen: Twelvetrees 4

Gloucester: 15 Olly Morgan, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Jonny May, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Nicky Robinson, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Luke Narraway (c) 7 Andrew Hazell, 6 Brett Deacon, 5 Alex Brown, 4 Jim Hamilton, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Olivier Azam, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Pierre Capdevielle, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Akapusi Qera, 21 Jordi Pasqualin, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Lesley Vainikolo

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy (c), 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Billy Twelvetrees, 9 James Grindal, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Ben Woods, 6 Craig Newby, 5 George Skivington, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Julian White, 18 Peter Bucknall, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Jason Spice, 22 George Ford, 23 Horacio Agulla.

Referee: Wayne Barnes

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Preview
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs ZebreMunster vs Zebre Preview
Cardiff Blues vs UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Preview
Connacht vs LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Preview
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs ToulonBrive vs Toulon Preview
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse14:45
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:30
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs PumasLions vs Pumas Preview
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Preview
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26