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Report | Tigers off to a five-point start in Europe

Leicester Tigers got off to a winning start in the European Challenge Cup with a 39-17 bonus-point victory over Brive at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Friday evening.

Tries from Tom and Ben Youngs in each half set the platform in a game largely dominated by the kickers, with fly-halves Joaquin Diaz Bonilla and Enzo Herve trading early penalties before the Tigers captain provided the opening try on the way to a 14-6 lead at the break.

The pattern continued after half-time, with replacement George Ford adding more penalties to the Tigers total before fellow England international Ben Youngs ran in the second try with quarter of an hour remaining.

The visitors supplied fresh hope with a try on 70 minutes but late scores from Cyle Brink and then Nemani Nadolo gave Tigers the perfect start.

Brive had triumphed in the only previous meeting of the teams, in the 1997 European Cup Final, and were making their debut at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in its first-ever European fixture played behind closed doors.

Argentina international Matias Moroni made his Tigers debut at centre, with prop Luan de Bruin named on the bench after his arrival from South Africa. Head coach Steve Borthwick also welcomed back wings Nemani Nadolo and Kini Murimurivalu, and recalled Tomas Lavanini in the second row for his first appearance since last season’s semi-final.

Making their first-ever visit to Leicester, Brive included Tigers academy graduate Wesley Douglas in their line-up after making 12 changes to the starting line-up from last week’s win over Agen in the Top14.

Referee Nika Amashukeli from Georgia was coincidentally also in charge at Tigers in the opening round in Europe last season, got the game started on a still but damp and cold December evening.

Just over a minute had been played when Brive were penalised on the floor on their own 10-metre line and fly-half Joaquin Diaz Bonilla provided the opening points of the evening from the tee.

After enjoying possession in the Tigers half, Brive levelled the scores when the whistle went for offside in chasing a Ben White clearing kick and fly-half Enzo Herve added the penalty.

Freddie Steward and then Kini Murimurivalu were equal to towering kicks into Tigers territory, though spilled ball gave the visitors scrum ball in an advanced position and they remained in the Tigers half until another penalty gave Herve the chance to kick his team into a 6-3 lead on 18 minutes.

The whistle continued to interrupt the game’s flow, but Lavanini was able to block a clearing kick as the visitors were forced into an early change when centre Sevenaia Galala left the field.

When Tigers eventually built some phases of play through the forwards, the French defended well until giving away a cheap penalty in chasing a clearing kick from an offside position and Bonilla made it 6-6 with his kick.

A big scrum from Tigers earned a penalty 30 metres out and when they opted for the right-hand corner, it was skipper Youngs who steered the maul forward and then broke down the touchline to score. Bonilla’s kick from the touchline drew into the far post but hit the top of the crossbar and bounced out with his team 11-6 in front.

When prop Joe Heyes made a big tackle on halfway to put Brive under pressure, Tigers quickly had the advantage of a penalty after promising carries from Jasper Wiese and Jordan Taufua, and this time Bonilla kicked the points for a 14-6 lead just short of half-time.

Persistence at the breakdown from Nephi Leatigaga won an early penalty at the restart but Tigers were unable to build on that as ball was lost in midfield and an error at a defensive lineout gave Herve another sight of the posts and his kick cut the gap to five points.

Tryscorer Youngs and Leatigaga made way as Charlie Clare and Genge joined the front row on 48 minutes and Ford soon joined them on the field, quickly feeding Wiese for a powerful run through the middle and the England fly-half added a penalty on 50 minutes to take the lead to 17-9.

Tigers survived a scare when Ford then had a clearing kick charged down in front of his own posts, only to hear the referee’s whistle for a Brive knock-on in the previous phase of play.

But the scrum only led to a Brive penalty and Herve kicked his fourth three-pointer to chip away at the Tigers lead again.

A flare-up following a hit on Ben Youngs at the base of the ruck soon after his appearance for the bench led to words to both captains from the referee and when play restart with a scrum, the whistle went in favour of Tigers but Ford’s kick drifted pas t the right-hand post.

Another scrum brought another penalty and this time Ford made sure as he took the lead to 20-12, though alarm bells rang at the other end when hooker Badri Alkhazashvili latched on to break but then slipped 20 metres out.

Tigers had to work hard for their exit and prop de Bruin appeared for his debut after Ford had taken play up to halfway with his clearing kick, and a second try followed from an incisive break down the right.

Hanro Liebenberg and Morono combined and Youngs arrived to run into the corner and make it 25-12, though Ford was off-target with the conversion attempt.

Just two minutes later, Brive latched on to loose ball in the Tigers half to put Douglas in to score in the right-hand corner against his former club but Herve added the extras as the gap stood at eight points with just under 10 minutes left to play.

A big scrum brought a Tigers penalty which Ford kicked into the left-hand corner and, although the opportunity was missed, an even bigger push on Brive put-in brought another whistle and a referee warning.

But rather than kick, Tigers gave Genge a run at the line, recycled and Cyle Brink forced his way to the line. Ford added the conversion with Tigers 32-17 in front.

And a minute later Nadolo got in on the act, latching on to a Youngs break to slide in on the left and provide the bonus-point score. Ford ended the evening with an immaculate touchline conversion.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 14-6 BRI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 39-17 BRI

Attendance

Not available

Referee

Nika Amashukeli

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Brive
Possession
80%
20%
Territory
100%
0%
Penalties Conceded
10
11
Yellow Cards
0
0
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
97/100 97%
99/116 85%
Scrums Won
7/7 100%
5/6 83%
Lineouts Won
9/10 90%
9/10 90%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Brive
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Freddie Steward
14Kini Murimurivalu
13Matias Moroni
12Matt Scott
11Nemani Nadolo1T
10Joaquin Diaz Bonilla3P
9Ben White
1Nephi Leatigaga
2Tom Youngs1T
3Joe Heyes
4Harry Wells
5Tomas Lavanini
6Hanro Liebenberg
7Jordan Taufua
8Jasper Wiese
16Charlie Clare
17Ellis Genge
18Luan de Bruin
19Calum Green
20Cyle Brink1T
21Ben Youngs1T
22George Ford2C2P
23Guy Porter
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
39

Full Time

Brive
Brive
17
Leicester Tigers
P
P
T
P
P
P
T
T
C
T
C
KOHTFT
Brive
P
P
P
P
T

Commentary

TIGERS WIN IN EUROPE

Tigers claim a their first win in Europe seeing off a late Brive revival to win 39 points to 17 at Mattioli Woods Welford Road. 

FORD SEES OUT GAME WITH SUCCESSFUL KICK

George Ford kicks for the games final action as Tigers win 39-17. 

QUICK FIRE SCORE

Nemani Nadolo is there to score on his return following a burst of pace as Brive look to stretch the game in the final moments. 

FORD ADDS THE EXTRAS

George Ford slips on the run up but his kicks still makes it as Tigers lead extends further. 

TRY FOR BRINK

Cyle Brink is at the bottom of a pile up and claims his first try in Tigers colours. 

77

TIGERS SCRUM

Tigers with the advantage from the scrum and win a huge penalty as the it collapses and Tigers can slow down the clock. 

A quick tap and go, and Tigers advance over the line, and make Brive pay. TRY. 

75

BOTH TEAMS PUSH IN CLOSING 10

Both teams are looking to gain territory in the closing 10 miniutes and Tigers win the penalty, opting for the scrum which works in their favour. Ford kicks for touch and Tigers with the chance to apply pressure on the Brive five metre line. 

TRY FOR BRIVE

Brive have a try as Freddie Steward can't collect the high ball, it's a penalty advantage and Wesley Douglas goes over against his old side. Tigers 25-17 Brive. 

66

FORD MISSES CONVERSION

A tight angle for George Ford sees the scores remain at 25 points to 12. 

A YOUNGS DOUBLE, AS BEN GOES OVER

Ben Youngs does as brother Tom, and goes over in the corner. He's the man on the end of a great phases of play. Tigers 25-12 Brive, 

64

BRIVE KICKING FOR TERRITORY

Brive's Herve receives the ball from the line-out and kicks high but Tigers collect. The play moves back towards the Brive tryline, but they can kick clear. 

Lavanini with the ball in hand, and Ben Youngs finds Liebenberg who feeds Kini Murimurivalu, some great overlapping play sees Ben Youngs go over. for Tigers. 

63

SCRUM ON SCRUM ON

It's another scrum as both packs hold their nerve following the restart. Brive escape out of the back and a chance ro mobe ballin hand, Fa'aso'o moves forward with ball and finds a teammate, but a tap tackle brings him down in the Tigers half. 

Btrive still have the ball, but a failed nudge, sees Youngs collect and slow down the game, A box kick follows, and just escapes Nadolo. Brive still in possession and move through the backline before a knock-on advantage sees Tigers come away. 

FORD MAKES NO MISTAKE FROM TEE

Having missed his second, Ford makes amends for Tigers and Brive are penalised for collapsing the scrum. Tigers 20-12 Brive.

58

FORD MISSES FROM TEE

George Ford kicks for the posts but misses following a penalty advantage for Tigers from the scrum. 

Brive will restart with Herve and Steward returns the kick for Tigers. It's a bit of foot tennis but Nadolo comes away with the ball and Fordy tries to find touch. The ball is returned and he tries the high ball this time, but the ref spots a knock-on. 

It's a scrum. 

55

GAME UPS A NOTCH

The pace of the game has upped a notch as Brive sense an opportunity to get at the Tigers back line. After going through the phases, George Ford kicks for touch but it is held up.

The ball returns, and as we go through the phases a tussle breaks out. The ref will stop the play and speak to the captains. 

TIGERS CONCEDE PENALTY KICK

With Brive on the attack, the Tigers defence can't hold their line and concede the penalty as Herve kicks from the tee. 

FORDY ON TARGET FOR TIGERS

Ford has an immediate impact after coming on from the tee, as he extends Tigers lead by three points. Tigers 17-9 Brive. 

FORD , GENGE CLARE COME ON FOR TIGERS

George Ford, Ellis Genge and Charlie Clare have come on for Bonilla, Leatigaga and Youngs in the second half. 

47

BRIVE LOOK TO CAPITALISE

Those points have riled up the Brive attack and they come back at Tigers, but Ben White can sweep up and kick clear. We'll wait for the line-out as the Brive player receives treatment. 

PENALTY KICKED FOR BRIVE

Herve kicks cleanly through the posts and Brive claw some points back as the Tigers lead narrows. Tigers 14-9 Brive. 

44

SCRUM COUNT ADDS UP

It's a game for the forwards as the scrum count picks up but it's the Brive pack who come out on top on this occasion.

Herve kicks for touch and and replacement Enzo Jouannet throws in. Quick hands but the referee spots and infringement and even though Brive go over the line, we'll go back for the penalty advantage. 

42

EARLY PRESSURE FOR TIGERS

Bonilla kicks the ball into touch and Tigers win the line-out, White finds Bonilla who picks out Moroni but he can't collect cleanly and we'll stop for a scrum from the knock-on. 

40

SECOND HALF UNDERWAY

We're back for the second half of Tigers versus Brive in the European Challenge Cup. 

HALF-TIME | TIGERS 14-6 BRIVE

Tigers on top in their first European game of the season with three kicks from Bonilla and a Tom Youngs try. 

39

TIGERS LOOKING TO SEE OUT HALF

Tigers having to defend in the closing stages of the first half and are relieved of a final brive push with Ben White box-kicking clear after Freddie Steward collects from up high.

We'll finish on a scrum as the clock hits 40. 

TIGERS EXTEND LEAD

Bonilla extends Tigers lead from the tee after some huge pressure with the ball in hand. Tigers 14-6 Brive. 

37

BONILLA WITH THE PENALTY...

Brive manage to force Tigers back, but the referee pulls play back to the Brive five metre mark whilst the medics do their job. 

Bonilla has the chance to add to his tally as we approach the final few minutes. 

36

MOMENTUM WITH TIGERS

The game is with Tigers now as their ball carriers gain yards in the Brive half. The pressure forces the opposition back, but the loose ball is retrieved and Delarue kicks clear. 

Ball in hand as Ben White finds Jasper Wiese, with the next phase finding Liebenberg as Tigers make the small yards. 

34

BONILLA MISSES CONVERSION

Bonilla misses the conversion from a tight angle right by the touch line as Tigers have some breathing space 

ROLLING MAUL ROLLS ON

Tigers take the game to Brive after the line-out and it's Tom Youngs who can break free and flies over the line in the right-hand corner. 

31

TIGERS SCRUM WORKING HARD

The kick-chase tactic works in Tigers favour who win the knock-on and we'll have a scrum in the Brive half. 

The heat rises from both packs, as Ben White feeds in the ball and the referee spots another penalty. We'll have another scrum 

Tigers force another penalty and Bonilla opts to find the right-hand corner. 

31

TIGERS SCRUM WORKING HARD

The kick-chase tactic works in Tigers favour who win the knock-on and we'll have a scrum in the Brive half. 

The heat rises from both packs, as Ben White feeds in the ball and the referee spots another penalty. We'll have another scrum 

Tigers force another penalty and Bonilla opts to find the right-hand corner. 

28

The lineout in front of the dugouts gives Brive the chance to break and they force Tigers back into their own 22. But Joe Heyes is their to force the penalty, and a chance for Bonilla to find touch. 

 

26

LOOSE PLAY CREATES SPACE

Some loose play and a procession of kicks results in Tigers regaining possession in the Brive half. It finds touch and Brive have the lineout.

The roling maul is held up by the Tigers pack and David Delarue is forced to kick. 

Tigers come back at them, but concede the penalty for some over eagerness in the breakdown.

SCORES LEVEL AGAIN

Bonilla lines up and kicks the points as the scores are levelled once again. Tigers pressure has paid off. Tigers 6-6 Brive. 

23

CHANCE FROM THE POSTS

Bonilla will kick for the posts from just under 40 metres and a chance to level the scores once again in the game...

22

TIGERS UP PRESSURE

Skipper Tom Youngs throughs from the line-out on the Brive right flank and Harry Wells collects it. Some quick hands move the ball forward and a chance for Tigers ball carriers to break forward.

Massive meetings made as Murimurivalu surges down the left. But Brive hold string, and the penalty is givem away to Brive, who kick clear.  

20

TIGERS KICKING FOR TERRITORY

The ball comes back at Tigers following the restart and after a cheeky nudge, Nadolo collects to find Steward who kicks hgh.

The tactic works and Tigers have a line-out after forcing the error. A chance for both teams to take a breath. 

BRIVE TAKE THE LEAD

Enzo Herve gives Brive the lead for the first time in the game, as Tigers soak up the pressure in these early stages. Tigers 3-6 Brive. 

16

BALL STAYS IN TIGERS HALF

Tigers are on the back foot again, as Brive look to barrel through the gain line. Some how Tigers take the hits, and Taufua's hard work is penalised and a chance for Brive to take the lead from the tee. 

15

BIG SCRUM IN TIGERS HALF

The big packs face off in the game's first scrum and after a reset, Brive with the penalty and will once again go for the scrum.

It's going to be one of those games. 

 

12

GAME ON

Both teams are up for this!

Both sets of teams have big ball carriers with the Brive back row looking to get ball in hand when they can. 

With possession going back and forth, Tigers are once again put under pressure and the result is the first scrum. 

BRIVE GAIN FIRST POINTS

Herve sucessfully kicks the penalty and the scores are even once again as we reach the 10 minute mark. Tigers 3-3 Brive. 

8

TIGERS WIN LINE-OUT

Harry Wells wins the line-out and Tigers form the maul and look to gain yards. Ben White collects from the breakdown and kicks, but the referee spots an infringement and it's a penalty to Brive. 

Enzo Herve will kick for the posts...

7

BALL IN TIGERS HALF

Brive keep the pressure on as Tigers look to defend their line on the 22. The Brive backline are looking to stretch Tigers at every opportunity, but they force the line out on the left flank. 

5

BRIVE COME AT TIGERS

Brive come back at Tigers following the restart with both packs flying into the breakdown at every opportunity.

The result is a penalty to Brive who opt to kick for the corner, winning the line-out and and try to kick for the corner but Ben White is there to clear up. 

BONILLA CONVERTS FOR LEAD

Bonilla kicks high and it falls between the posts to give Tigers the lead after two minutes of play. 

0

FIRST PENALTY FOR TIGERS

After an exchange of possesion, it's Tigers who have the advanatge with Boniila opting to kick for the posts in the early minutes. 

TIGERS KICK-OFF EUROPEAN CAMPAIGN

We're underway here at Mattioli Woods Welford Road as Bonilla kicks things off with Tigers attacking the Mattioli Woods Stand end. 

0

LAST YEAR'S SEMI-FINALISTS

Tigers reached the semi-final of last year's competition missing out on a place in the final to another French side, Toulon.

In what was their maiden voyage in the competition, head coach Steve Borthwick will be aiming to go make a winning start to this season's campaign. 

0

MATCHDAY LIVE - CHALLENGE CUP COMMENTARY

Welcome to Matchday Live for live real-time commentary of Leicester Tigers first match of this season's European Challenge Cup.

Brive are the opponents tonight. A fixture more than 23 years in the making following their last encounter back in 1997.

With half an hour until kick-off, we'll bring you all the latest right here. 


Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Joris Jurand
14
Wesley Douglas
13
Guillaume Galletier
12
Sevenaia Galala
11
Eneriko Buliruarua
10
Enzo Herve
9
David Delarue
1
Hayden Thompson-Stringer
2
Badri Alkhazashvili
3
Daniel Brennan
4
Dan Malafosse
5
6
Esteban Abadie
7
Matthieu Voisin
8
So'otala Fa'aso'o

Subs

16
Enzo Jouannet
17
Wesley Tapueluelu
18
Luka Japaridze
19
Steevy Cerqueira
20
Irakli Tskhadadze
21
Quentin Delord
22
Stuart Olding
23
Aaron Grandidier

Match Preview | Tigers and Brive finally meet again

Figure image

Leicester Tigers and French club Brive meet this evening (Friday) for the first time since the 1997 European Cup Final.

The teams meet in a new-look European Challenge Cup featuring 14 teams drawn in just one pool, with each team playing four times in the preliminary stage to determine qualifiers for a Round of 16 and then the later stages.

Tigers reached the European Cup Final at the first attempt in 1997 but were beaten by an impressive Brive team who went all the way to the Final again a year later before suffering defeat by Bath who became the first English winners of the trophy.

Brive make a first-ever trip to Mattioli Woods Welford Road on the opening night of the Challenge Cup season in Tigers’ first European encounter since defeat at the semi-final stage in Toulon last season.

It will also be the first time a European game has been played behind closed doors at the venue as Covid restrictions remain in place.

Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick gives a debut to Argentina international Matias Moroni at centre and will also hand a first appearance to prop Luan de Bruin from among the replacements. Nemani Nadolo and Kini Murimurivalu return to the backline and Tomas Lavanini plays for the first time since that game against Toulon back in September.

England’s Autumn Nations Cup winners George Ford, Ellis Genge and Ben Youngs are among the replacements and in line for a first club appearance of the season.

Guy Porter, who is in line for his European debut after being named in the matchday 23, said: “I’ve never played against a French side before, but we know they’ll have a big, physical pack, they’ll want to take us on up front and it’ll definitely be a physical encounter.

“It’s a different competition and it’s for us to move towards a different challenge and rip into it.”

Brive include Tigers academy graduate Wesley Douglas in their starting line-up as they make changes following a first away win of their Top14 campaign at Agen last weekend.

The former European champions scored a home-and-away double over domestic rivals Stade Français in the pool stages of the Challenge Cup last season but did not progress to the knockout rounds after two defeats to Bristol Bears and a narrow loss to Zebre in Italy.

They are the competition’s record appearance holders, heading into their 118th game in the Challenge Cup and have progressed to the knockout stags 13 times.

Referee on Friday is Nika Amashukeli from Georgia, who was coincidentally also in charge in Tigers’ opening round in Europe last season, when Pau were beaten on their trip to the East Midlands.

Although this game is not selected by competition broadcasters, there is livestream coverage from Mattioli Woods Welford Road on the website at www.ChallengeCupRugby.com. Register here to watch the FREE coverage.

You can also keep up on the move using the Tigers Matchday Live service on the app and social media channels.

Tigers' other opposition in the preliminary stage comes from Bayonne who begin their campaign in Italy with a game against Zebre on Saturday.

Elsewhere in Round 1:

Friday – Stade Francais Paris v Benetton Rugby, Newcastle Falcons v Cardiff Blues

Saturday – Agen v London Irish, Ospreys v Castres Olympique, Pau v Worcester Warriors, Zebre Rugby Club v Bayonne

 

Team news | Tigers versus Brive in Challenge Cup

Head coach Steve Borthwick has named his Leicester Tigers team to face French visitors Brive at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Friday evening (7.45pm) and gives a first call-up to Matias Moroni and Luan de Bruin.

Freddie Steward continues at full-back for this opening fixture in the European Challenge Cup, with Fiji international duo Kini Murimurivalu and Nemani Nadolo on the wings on their return from international duty. Argentina international Moroni makes his Tigers debut alongside Matt Scott at centre.

Joaquín Díaz Bonilla and Ben White start at half-back after appearances from the bench in each of the first three games in the domestic season.

Club captain Tom Youngs is in the centre of the front row and is joined by Nephi Leatigaga and Joe Heyes, who makes his 50th first-team appearance for the club.

Tomas Lavanini returns from an injury picked up in the semi-final of this competition last season to join Harry Wells at lock, with Jordan Taufua starting in the back row alongside Hanro Liebenberg and Jasper Wiese.

Former South Africa Under-20s prop De Bruin joins Charlie Clare, Calum Green and Cyle Brink among the replacements where there is also a place for Guy Porter and England internationals Ellis Genge, Ben Youngs and George Ford.

There is livestream coverage of Friday’s game on the EPCR website at www.ChallengeCupRugby.com

Leicester Tigers (v Brive, Mattioli Woods Welford Road, Friday 7.45pm)

15 Freddie Steward

14 Kini Murimurivalu

13 Matias Moroni

12 Matt Scott

11 Nemani Nadolo

10 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla

9 Ben White

1 Nephi Leatigaga

2 Tom Youngs (c)

3 Joe Heyes

4 Harry Wells

5 Tomas Lavanini

6 Hanro Liebenberg

7 Jordan Taufua

8 Jasper Wiese

Replacements

16 Charlie Clare

17 Ellis Genge

18 Luan De Bruin

19 Calum Green

20 Cyle Brink

21 Ben Youngs

22 George Ford

23 Guy Porter

Brive: 15 Joris Jurand, 14 Wesley Douglas, 13 Guillaume Galletier, 12 Sevanaia Galala, 11 Eneriko Buliruarua, 10 Enzo Herve, 9 David Delarue; 1 Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 2 Badri Alkhazashvili, 3 Daniel Brennan, 4 Dan Malafosse, 5 Stan South, 6 Esteban Abadie, 7 Matthieu Voisin (c), 8 So'otala Fa'aso'o
Replacements: 16 Enzo Jouannet, 17 Wesley Tapueluelu, 18 Luka Japaridze, 19 Steevy Cerqueira, 20 Irakli Tskhadadze, 21 Quentin Delord, 22 Stuart Olding, 23 Aaron Grandidier Nkanang

 

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
4
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI220067373073109
12
Brive
BriveBRI20023357-2426011
Form Guide
Form
WDWDD
Last Match
Draw with Bayonne null-null
Past Meeting
Won 39-17
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
LWLLD
Last Match
Draw with Zebre Rugby null-null
Past Meeting
Lost 17-39