Planet Rugby

All square at Welford Road

19th December 2010 14:38

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Perpignan s Henry Tuilagi v Leicesters Alesana Tuilagi

Tuilagi v Tuilagi: Henry takes on Alesana

Leicester Tigers and Perpignan battled to a hard-fought 22-all draw in the Heineken Cup at Welford Road on Sunday.

The result leaves Tigers and USAP trailing the Scarlets in Pool Five with two rounds left to play.

After a ding-dong battle that saw the lead swap hands at regular intervals, a 79th minute penalty allowed Perpignan to snatch two tournament points after the game had looked sealed for Leicester.

An opportunistic try from Alesana Tuilagi helped Tigers to an 11-9 lead at the break but visiting scrum-half David Mélé touched down soon after the restart to set up a thrilling second period.

Leicester were forced to make a few late changes to their squad after Toby Flood and Jordan Crane have failed fitness tests and were replaced in the starting XV by Billy Twelvetrees and Steve Mafi.

There was very little to pick between the teams in the first half and the 6-6 scoreline after half-an-hour was a fair reflection of the game.

Nicolas Laharrague put the visitors ahead early on with a neat drop before exchanging penalties with Twelvetrees.

But Leicester moved ahead when Tuilagi caught Perpignan napping by taking a penalty under the posts quickly and barging over the line.

Laharrague added a penalty just before the half-time hooter to leave the teams separated by just two points.

The Catalans started the second period with a bang when Mélé sniped down the blindside from an attacking scrum and somehow managed to beat the touchline, the corner flag and Scott Hamilton to score in the corner.

Laharrague slotted a masterful conversion from the touchline but Leicester replied almost immediately as Twelvetrees hit the target from the kicking tee to level the scores once again.

Twelvetrees put the home side back in front when the Perpignan scrum began to disintegrate in the absence of hooker Marius Tincu, who had been replaced by Charles Geli.

But Laharrague was able to level the scores again when the ref marched Leicester 10m back for a bit of over zealous backchat and the fly-half found the mark from 50m.

The Tigers scrum was getting on top and allowed Twelvetrees to put Leicester in front going into the final fifteen minutes.

Twelvetrees hit the post with sitter that should have sealed the deal for Leicester and his stomach must have turned when the visitors were awarded a penalty in front the posts with two minutes left to play.

Laharrague did the honours to leave Pool Five wide open.

Man of the match: A couple of names spring to mind. Thomas Waldrom had another storming game but was the guilty party in that final penalty. We'll go for Nicolas Laharrague whose kicking, especially his one long-range effort, saved the day for USAP.

The scorers:

For Leicester:
Try: Tuilagi
Con: Twelvetrees
Pens: Twelvetrees 5

For Perpignan:
Try: Mele
Con: Laharrague
Pens: Laharrague 4
Drop: Laharrague

Yellow card: Alvarez Kairelis (Perpignan - 73rd min - foul play)

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Billy Twelvetrees, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Craig Newby, 6 Steve Mafi , 5 George Skivington, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements:16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Julian White, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Calum Green, 21 James Grindal, 22 Jeremy Staunton, 23 Manu Tuilagi,

Perpignan: 15 Joffrey Michel, 14 Farid Sid, 13 David Marty, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Adrien Plante, 10 Nicolas Laharrague, 9 David Mele, 8 Henry Tuilagi, 7 Jean-Pierre Perez, 6 Grégory Le Corvec, 5 Olivier Olibeau, 4 Rimas Alvarez Kairelis, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Marius Tincu, 1 Perry Freshwater.
Replacements: 16 Charles Geli, 17 Kisi Pulu, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 Ovidiu Tonita, 20 Robins Tchale Watchou, 21 Damien Chouly, 22 Florian Cazenave, 23 Manny Edmonds.

Venue: Welford Road
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon

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