Tigers book semi-final spot

Date published: April 30 2016

Leicester secured a place in the Premiership semi-finals after beating Worcester 31-17 at Welford Road in a bonus-point success.

A topsy-turvy first-half saw both sides spend periods in the lead.

It was a high-scoring first 40 minutes with tries from Vereniki Goneva, Opeti Funa and Telusa Veainu putting Leicester in the ascendancy.  Bryce Heem and Andy Symons kept Warriors in touch with the score 21-17 at the break.

The Warriors’ resistance was broken in the second-half as a try from Will Evans put the match to bed.

It was an impressive performance from Worcester but the quality of the home side proved just too much after the interval. Having secured the bonus-point, Leicester remain in fourth, one point off third-placed Exeter having played a game more. Meanwhile, Worcester’s ninth place has been assured for a while now but will be encouraged for next season.

Worcester took an early lead in the eighth minute, Ryan Mills successful from the kicking tee to establish a three-point lead for the visitors.

Tigers struck back in the 13th minute, Goneva intercepting the ball before accelerating in for his 13th Premiership try of the season. Owen Williams successfully converted to put the hosts into an early 7-3 lead.

The advantage did not last long as, in the 16th minute, Kiwi Heem peeled off the shoulder of Francois Hougaard to score a try. Tom Heathcote’s successful conversion took Warriors into a 10-7 lead.

The hosts were back in the lead with 25 minutes on the clock. They built the phases well before number eight Fonua spotted a gap and stormed through it to score. Williams added the extras to establish a 14-10 lead.

Worcester took the lead once more in the 36th minute. After a series of pick and drives, Symons was the man who was finally able to touch down. Heathcote converted to take the advantage to three points.

Fulfilling the pattern of the match, Leicester edged in front on the stroke of half-time. Veainu’s eighth try of the season was well-worked exploiting limited space to score out wide. Williams’ touchline conversion was successful with Tigers heading into the interval leading 21-17.

A line-out drive provided the hosts with another try in the 62nd minute. Evans was the man to score and extend the lead. Williams converted to make scores 28-17.

Williams added another penalty with 69 minutes on the clock to take the score to 31-17 and that was how it finished with Warriors beaten.

The scorers:

For Leicester:
Goneva, Fonua, Veainu, Evans
Cons: Williams 4
Pens: Williams

For Worcester:
Heem, Symons
Cons: Heathcote 2
Pens: Mills

Leicester: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Mathew Tait, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Opeti Fonua, 7 Lachlan McCaffrey, 6 Ed Slater (c), 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Tom Croft, 20 Will Evans, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Matt Smith

Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Andy Symons, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 GJ van Velze (c), 7 Carl Kirwan, 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Tevita Cavubati, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Na’ama Leleimalefaga, 18 James Johnston, 19 Donncha O’Callaghan, 20 Sam Betty, 21 Luke Baldwin,22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Dean Hammond

Referee: Gregory Garner
Assistant Referees: Jonathan Healy, Kevin Stewart
TMO: David Rose