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Tigers dig deep for second win in five days

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Leicester Tigers made it two Aviva Premiership wins in the space of five days as they dug deep to secure a 21-16 victory over Bristol Rugby.

After beating Harlequins at Welford Road on Sunday, Tigers had the shortest of turnarounds to Friday’s trip to Ashton Gate.
They eased into a 21-6 lead early in the second-half through Adam Thompstone’s fourth try of the season and a first in the Aviva Premiership for Ellis Genge against his old club.
But as the bodies tired, they had to withstand a late fightback from the hosts who scored through Tigers old boy Rob Hawkins to claim a losing bonus point.
Manu Tuilagi returned to the Tigers squad for the first time since the opening game of the season taking his place among the replacements.

Tigers academy graduates Will Evans and George Worth came into the starting line-up this week. Worth made his first league start as he replaced Mathew Tait, who suffered a fractured jaw in the win over Harlequins last Sunday, while Evans came into the back row. Sam Harrison returned at scrum-half and Graham Kitchener came into the second row.
Bristol were captained by Jordan Crane, the former Tigers No8, who made his first appearance against his old club since his summer move to Ashton Gate.
Tigers threatened with their first attack. Adam Thompstone, the Lumbers Player of the Month, climbed above Jack Tovey to claim Burns’s high kick and landed in space. Jordan Williams got across to make the tackle and Thompstone’s offload evaded Betham’s hands.
Burns was off target with a penalty from a central position as Tigers dominated the early exchanges.
Burns was alert in defence to halt Bristol’s first attack. Bristol scrum-half Rhodri Williams darted down the blindside at a scrum catching the Tigers defence napping. But Burns made the ground across to the right flank to tackle him into touch 10m out.
Bristol spoiled the lineout to retake possession. And after a series of drives around the fringes they were awarded a penalty that Billy Searle knocked over for a 3-0 lead after 10 minutes.
Tigers made a change on 15 minutes with Lachlan McCaffrey replacing Mike Fitzgerald in the back row. McCaffrey went to No8 with Hamilton at blindside.
Tigers had the majority of possession and territory in the opening quarter while Bristol were content to soak up pressure and look to force the errors. But it was the home side that erred when they went offside in the shadow of their posts and Burns’s penalty levelled the scores.
Kitchener and Slater worked well on Bristol lineout ball and stole a possession for a second time in the game to allow Slater to run at the home defence. Bristol infringed at the breakdown and Burns kicked Tigers into a 6-3 lead.
Tom Brady made a brilliant break from the restart to take Tigers back up to the home 22. But when play was moved to the right Betham spilled possession with the hint of an overlap outside.
At the other end, Owen Williams’s tackle on Will Hurrell forced a knock-on from the former Tigers centre and ended a threatening situation on the Leicester 22.
However, Bristol levelled with their second penalty nine minutes before half-time as they made the most of their visits to Leicester territory.
A lovely break out of two tackles by Worth had Tigers back onto the front foot. But Tigers ball was slowed down by the Bristol back-row, illegally according to referee Wigglesworth and Burns went to the corner.
Bristol infringed again when they pulled down the resulting lineout drive and lock Ian Evans received a yellow card.
Tigers made the man-advantage pay immediately. Burns launched a kick to the right wing where Thompstone again outjumped Tovey and again landed in space and this time he made the 10m to the line for the first try of the game. Unconverted, it gave Tigers an 11-6 lead three minutes before half-time.
It was all Tigers at this stage and their slick handling and quick recycling created another half opportunity on the right where Williams’s kick through just beat Thompstone into touch for the final play of the half.
It was a scrappy start to the second half with a series of lineouts and scrums punctuating the opening five minutes.
Evans,the Bristol lock, returned to the action and saw his team concede another penalty at a lineout that allowed Tigers to take play up towards his line. Tom Youngs, Genge and Slater and Genge were all stopped just short before Genge bulldozed a line under the posts for Tigers’ second try. Burns converted to move Leicester 18-6 ahead.
Kitchener was taken out by centre Jason Woodward as he claimed the restart, which saw him receive a yellow card from referee Wigglesworth.
Rob Hawkins, the former Leicester hooker, came on as a replacement and his front row was pinged at the next scrum. Burns pointed to the posts and moved Leicester 21-6 ahead.
Harry Thacker, Jono Kitto and Manu Tuilagi came on for Evans, Sam Harrison and Betham respectively as the game headed into the final quarter.
But Tigers were reduced to 14 men when McCaffrey was sent to the bin following a series of infringements in the Leicester 22. Bristol made their man advantage pay immediately, former Tiger Hawkins scored from close range after his fellow forwards had done the hard work around the fringes. Adrian Jarvis converted to leave Leicester 21-13 ahead with 16 minutes remaining.
Tigers were camped on the Bristol line but were unable to find a way through the ranks of home defenders. Eventually Bristol forced the knock on and the attacking position went away.
Instead, Bristol punished a lineout infringement with a penalty from Jarvis to move the hosts to within a score of Tigers heading into the final three minutes.
There was one last chance for Bristol to attack from a lineout on the Leicester 10m line. But Tuilagi’s tackle on Hurrell forced the knock-on in midfield to signal full-time.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

BRI 6-11 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

BRI 16-21 LEI




Tim Wigglesworth

Bristol Bears
Bristol Bears

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers

Match Stats

Bristol Bears
Leicester Tigers
Penalties Conceded
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
Tackles Won
154/173 89%
87/94 93%
Scrums Won
8/9 11%
5/6 17%
Lineouts Won
15/15 100%
10/10 100%

Player Stats

Bristol Bears
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
15George Worth
14Adam Thompstone1T
13Peter Betham
12Owen Williams
11Tom Brady
10Freddie Burns1C3P
9Sam Harrison
1Ellis Genge1T
2Tom Youngs
3Greg Bateman
4Ed Slater
5Graham Kitchener
6Michael Fitzgerald
7Will Evans
16Harry Thacker
17Riccardo Brugnara
19Harry Wells
20Lachlan McCaffrey
22Manu Tuilagi
23Jack Roberts

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

Jordan Williams
Jason Woodward
Will Hurrell
Jack Tovey
Billy Searle
Rhodri Williams
Kyle Traynor
Marc Jones
Gaston Cortes
Ian Evans
Mark Sorenson
Mitch Eadie
Olly Robinson


Rob Hawkins
Ryan Bevington
Jamal Ford-Robinson
James Phillips
Jon Fisher
Will Cliff
Adrian Jarvis
Jack Wallace

Match preview: Tigers at Bristol this Friday

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Leicester Tigers make a first visit to Ashton Gate Stadium since 2007 in Friday's Aviva Premiership Round 9 fixture against Bristol Rugby.

That Ashton Gate meeting nine years ago ended in a 30-13 victory for the home side, though the occasion was memorable for Leicester Tigers scrum-half Ben Youngs who made his Premiership debut as a 17-year-old as a late replacement in the penultimate round of the regular league season. Youngs has since clocked up more than 190 first-team appearances for the club and will win his 64th cap for England this weekend.
Youngs had started the 2007 meeting with Bristol on the bench alongside older brother Tom, while Tigers also included another set of brothers, Louis and Brett Deacon, among the replacements. To recap all of the details from that evening, click here.
The Leicester-Bristol rivalry dates back to 1897, though the two sides have not met since April 2009 when Tigers celebrated a record-breaking 73-3 victory in a Round 22 fixture played at Leicester City during the redevelopment work on the north stand at Welford Road.
Bristol recorded their first win of the season a fortnight ago when they toppled Sale Sharks in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and they were narrowly beaten at Bath in their last league outing.
Tigers have not won away from home in Premiership Rugby action since the trip to Newcastle in September.
Manu Tuilagi returns to the Tigers squad for Friday, with academy graduates George Worth and Will Evans called into the starting line-up following the victory over Harlequins on Sunday. The Bristol team includes four former Tigers, led by captain Jordan Crane who left Welford Road in the summer after more than 200 appearances in nine years with the club. Rob Hawkins, who was called out of retirement to join Bristol this season, and Tigers academy products Will Hurrell and Jamal Ford-Robinson are also in Bristol’s ranks.
Director of rugby Richard Cockerill says Tigers will be braced for a tough encounter.
“We had a good win over Harlequins on Sunday and now we’re on a short turnaround to go to Bristol,” Cockerill said. “They’ve had an upturn in form and are looking a bit more confident. They had a good win over Sale in the Anglo-Welsh and they pushed Bath very close last Friday. They are a very combative side and we need to make sure mentally and physically we are right. This is a very important game for us.”
Referee on Friday evening is Tim Wigglesworth.
Tigers will wear the club’s alternate kit at Ashton Gate.
Bristol Rugby report advance sales of more than 12,400 tickets and are expecting a significant walk-up on the evening. Supporters are advised to arrive early to avoid queues. The ticket office is in the Winterstoke Road Fan Village and is open from 5pm on matchday.
Tigers return to home turf next weekend when Northampton Saints are the visitors. Kick-off is at 5pm on Saturday, December 3, with full coverage of England versus Australia on big screens in Final Whistle from 2.30pm. Tickets are on general sale now. Book in person at Welford Road or phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) 9am-5pm Monday-Saturday. Or click here to book online any time.
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI22140856744512258486466
Bristol Bears
Bristol BearsBRI223019382707-32542942620
Form Guide
Last Match
Beat Bath Rugby 57-44
Past Meeting
Won 25-14
Last Match
Past Meeting
Last Match
Beat Ealing Trailfinders 29-21
Past Meeting
Lost 14-25

Matchday Live

Bristol Bears16
Bristol Bears
Leicester Tigers21
Leicester Tigers
Full Time