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Mafi try saves Tigers

17th September 2011 17:21

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Steve Mafi Greg Goosen leicester Newcastle 2011

Key figure: Steve Mafi

Leicester needed a last-gasp try from Steve Mafi to edge Newcastle 27-26 in a Kingston Park thriller on Saturday.

Mafi's late try spared Billy Twelvetrees' blushes and handed Leicester their first win of the season.

England Saxon Twelvetrees had a shocker with the boot as the Tigers just avoided slipping to the foot of the table with the telling try against Newcastle coming two minutes from time.

Twelvetrees, who scored all 29 of Leicester's points at Wasps last weekend, could only convert four of the ten chances that came his way in the north east; his goal kicking woes never better demonstrated than when he hit the post with a simple conversion to Julian Salvi's try.

The outside centre showed great composure to land two subsequent penalties, however his earlier misses looked like proving costly in a tight affair between the sides placed 11th and 12th.

An entertaining first half saw both sides score a try apiece, Leicester lock Ed Slater powering his way over the Newcastle line on 18 minutes before the home side found a quick response.

Impressive full-back Greg Goosen helped Newcastle break out of their own half by launching a dangerous attack, that he went on to finish in the left corner after the ball had gone through several pairs of hands.

The Falcons pressurised the Tigers' line on a couple of occasions as half-time drew near, however they were unable to take their opportunities, and Leicester should have gone in at half-time in front only for Twelvetrees to miss the penalty awarded to Tigers by referee J.P Doyle after Newcastle had repeatedly collapsed the scrum.

The see-saw nature of the game continued after the break with the lead changing hands eight times in total. Falcons captain James Hudson and Luke Fielden scored for Newcastle, with Salvi's try sandwiched in between, before Mafi touched down in the corner.

There was still time for more drama after the rangy forward's try, however the Falcons were unable to fashion a clear cut drop goal chance for Gopperth and Leicester held on to win by the narrowest of margins.

The scorers:

For Newcastle:
Tries: Goosen, Swinson, Fielden
Con: Gopperth
Pens: Gopperth 3

For Leicester:
Tries: Slater, Salvi, Mafi
Pens: Twelvetrees 4

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Greg Goosen, 14 Luke Fielden, 13 Luke Eves, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Alex Tait, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Chris Pilgrim, 8 Richard Mayhew, 7 Will Welch, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 James Hudson, 3 Ashley Wells, 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Grant Shiells.
Replacements: 16 Joe Graham, 17 Darren Fearn, 18 James Hall, 19 Glen Townson, 20 Ally Hogg, 21 Jordi Pasqualin, 22 Rikki Sheriffe, 23 Tom Catterick,

Leicester Tigers: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Matt Smith, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Niall Morris, 10 George Ford, 9 James Grindal, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 George Skivington, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Julian White, 2 George Chuter (capt), 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs 17 Michael Holford 18 Kieran Brookes 19 Graham Kitchener 20 Ben Woods 21 Mickey Young 22 Jeremy Staunton 23 Andy Forsyth

Venue: Kingston Park
Referee: JP Doyle

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