Leicester return to winning ways

Date published: February 11 2017

Leicester Tigers ended a three-match losing streak when they claimed a deserved 34-9 win over Gloucester at Welford Road on Saturday.

The home side controlled the opening period and took a 17-point advantage into the interval through Luke Hamilton’s score and a penalty try.

Freddie Burns and Owen Williams also kicked three-pointers while Billy Burns responded for the Cherry and Whites with a penalty.

Burns reduced the arrears in the second period after two more efforts off the tee, but the Tigers made sure of the bonus-point win when Adam Thompstone and Maxime Mermoz crossed the whitewash.

Despite the teams showing glimpses of excellence during the 2016/17 season, it has been an ultimately unsatisfactory campaign for both of these sides.

The Midlanders’ poor form saw director of rugby Richard Cockerill sacked in January, but matters have not improved for the Welford Road-based outfit since then.

However, they were much better in the first half against Gloucester and were rewarded for a positive start when Jack Roberts’ excellent carry resulted in a score for Hamilton.

Burns reduced the arrears from the tee but his brother, Freddie, almost immediately restored the hosts’ seven-point buffer when he successfully converted a penalty attempt.

Gloucester had chances to find their way across the whitewash but the Tigers’ defence, particularly on their own line, remained resolute.

With the home side’s scrum also working efficiently Aaron Mauger’s men smelt blood and a set-piece five metres out sent the Cherry and Whites into reverse, leaving referee Ian Tempest with little option other than to award a penalty try.

Williams then added a drop-goal as Leicester went into the break 20-3 ahead. The visitors started the second period on the front foot and Burns kicked successive three-pointers to keep them in contention.

Conditions were making it difficult for a free-flowing encounter but Leicester reasserted their authority late on and Thompstone made the victory safe.

All they needed for an excellent afternoon’s work was the bonus-point and it came via Mermoz, who touched down on his league debut in the last minute.

The scorers:

For Leicester Tigers:
Hamilton, Thompstone, Mermoz, Penalty try
Cons: Burns, Williams 3
Pen: Burns
Drop goal: Williams

For Gloucester:
Burns 3

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Jack Roberts, 12 Matt Smith, 11 Tom Brady, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Jono Kitto, 8 Luke Hamilton, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Dom Barrow, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 1 Michele Rizzo
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Greg Bateman, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Harry Thacker, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Maxime Mermoz

Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Andy Symons, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Willi Heinz (c), 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Jacob Rowan, 6 Lewis Ludlow, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Josh Hohneck
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Salesi Ma’afu, 19 Mariano Galarza, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Callum Braley, 22 James Hook, 23 Matt Scott

Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Dean Richards, Simon McConnell
TMO: Graham Hughes