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Report | Tigers snatch win at Bristol in last play

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A score in added time from Guy Porter gave Leicester Tigers a last-gasp 28-26 win over Bristol Bears Ashton Gate on Sunday to continue the team's unbeaten run in the final game of the year.

Playing on Boxing Day for the first time since a home win over Newcastle Falcons in 2015, Tigers trailed by 10 points during each half of the game and were still 26-23 down with the clock beyond 80 minutes when a remarkable sequence of events brought the deciding score.

From 13-3 down in the first half, Nemani Nadolo’s converted score brought Tigers back within range of hosts who had lost just one of the teams’ five previous Ashton Gate meetings.

But a second Bristol try put them 10 in front again in the second half before Julian Montoya steered a maul over the line and Tigers levelled the scores entering the final quarter.

But with Jasper Wiese yellow-carded, Bears fly-half Callum Sheedy kicked a three-pointer for a 26-23 advantage in a fractious closing period which looked like providing a first defeat if the season until a sustained and composed attack in the final play brought the winning score.

Tigers travelled on top of the table and with nine wins out of nine in Premiership rugby this season – and 13 out of 13 in all competitions – to face a Bristol side who had lost just one of the last six meetings of the teams.

Steve Borthwick was forced into a late change in the line-up, with Eli Snyman ruled out by illness ahead of kick-off and Calum Green coming in to start alongside Harry Wells in the second row.

Nadolo, Matías Moroni, Harry Potter and George Ford all returned to the backline and Marco van Staden started at No8 with Jasper Wiese named among the replacements.

Bristol, playing their first game since the start of December owing to the impact of Covid on their scheduled Champions Cup fixtures, gave away a couple of early penalties and, although they worked hard in defence, the hosts escaped their half of the field only briefly in the opening 15 minutes.

Eventually, Tigers were rewarded with a scrum penalty and Ford kicked the opening points.

Ford’s kicking from hand continued to push Bristol back and when they got upfield with a penalty of their own, the force of the Tigers defence knocked ball loose.

Bristol did think they had a score when Semi Radradra, in his first start of the season, won an aerial contest and ran in but referee Tom Foley called for a TMO check on a knock-on and play came back for a Tigers scrum.

The set-piece brought a penalty award but, when Tigers spilled ball in attack, it proved costly as Bears scrum-half Harry Randall picked up play and ran a diagonal towards the left-hand corner. The defence got back quickly but No8 Fitz Harding picked up recycled ball and bounced over the line. Sheedy’s conversion made it 7-3.

Bristol had already lost wing Toby Fricker to injury and Tigers had to make a change when Marco van Staden was hurt in defence and Jasper Wiese received the call from the bench.

Sheedy added a 35-metre penalty to make it 10-3 on the half-hour but Tigers were then guilty of missing an opportunity after sharp work from Dan Kelly and Freddie Steward before ball was lost in the opposition 22.

Tommy Reffell was quick to clear up ball in defence and then Wiese carried strongly out after a quick penalty opened up play on the Bears’ left.

At the other end, a one-handed catch from Nadolo stretched play on the left wing but Bears quickly hit Kelly in support and two penalties followed to take Bears upfield where Sheedy added another kick for a 13-3 lead on 36 minutes.

But the reply was instant with the try from Nadolo.

It began with Moroni cleverly taking play up the left wing and, as he chipped ahead, Nadolo’s left foot nudged it forward and the big wing scooped up ball and dived over the line with two defenders in close proximity. Referee Foley checked the grounding before being fully satisfied that there had not been a knock-on.

Ford added an excellent conversion to cut the gap to 13-10 just ahead of half-time.

A penalty in the opening minutes at the restart gave Sheedy the chance to put another three points between the teams, but a carry from George Martin brought a penalty in the opposite direction and Ford made no mistake with the kick from 30 metres.

At 16-13, the game was finely poised as Bears played a penalty to touch on the left but Tigers won ball at the lineout for Youngs to kick clear.

A scrum penalty followed but, after taking play to the right, Tigers lost ball at the maul and were then penalised in trying to win it back.

The scrappy restart continued when Bears knocked on as they reached the Tigers 22 but they claimed a second try when Randall took a tap at a free-kick and Radradra offloaded for Ioan Lloyd to score in the corner,

Referee Foley spoke to both captains after the forwards came together again, and Tigers sent on Richard Wigglesworth, Guy Porter and Ollie Chessum at the restart.

The accuracy of the Tigers set-piece brought a second try, a 20-metre drive from the forwards ending with Montoya’s third try of the season and Ford’s conversion brought the scoreboard back to 23-20 with an hour played.

Tigers missed a chance with lost ball at a lineout but quickly had another from a scrum and Ford’s kick levelled the scores at 23-23.

The score served to increase the tempo, Wiese carrying strongly from the restart and then Porter prodding play down the wing, only to see the ball bounce dead. When play came back for the scrum five metres in from touch and five metres short of halfway, Sheedy took it on but was well short with the kick at goal.

Bristol stayed on the attack, despite a turnover win by Julian Montoya, and Sheedy had another penalty chance after hands in a ruck but pushed it wide.

But a Wiese challenge in attempting to charge down a Sheedy kick brought another opportunity, with the back-rower also sent to the sin bin.

This time the Bears fly-half got his kick correct and put the hosts 26-23 in front with seven minutes remaining.

Bears tried to take the clock down in the opposition half, but were penalised and then knocked-on in their own 22 when Ford’s kick missed touch.

That provided one last scrum and one last chance to take a remarkable victory.

And credit to Borthwick’s men, they kept playing with ball in hand, looking for one more decisive chance. Ford, Steward and Porter were heavily involved in the backline, the forwards did their work too and finally, Ford and Nic Dolly combined to give Porter the chance to run in on the right.

Ford’s kick shaved the far post but it had no effect on the results as the celebrations began in the travelling support.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

BRI 13-10 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

BRI 26-28 LEI

Attendance

20,761

Referee

Tom Foley

Bristol Bears
Bristol Bears
26

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
28
Bristol Bears
T
C
P
P
P
T
C
P
KOHTFT
Leicester Tigers
P
C
P
T
C
P
T

Match Stats

Bristol Bears
Leicester Tigers
Possession
46%
54%
Territory
50%
50%
Penalties Conceded
12
15
Yellow Cards
0
1
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
129/160 81%
68/83 82%
Scrums Won
5/8 63%
3/5 60%
Lineouts Won
16/17 94%
15/15 100%

Player Stats

Bristol Bears
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Freddie Steward
14Harry Potter
13Matias Moroni
12Dan Kelly
11Nemani Nadolo1T
10George Ford2C3P
9Ben Youngs
1Ellis Genge
2Julian Montoya1T
3Dan Cole
4Harry Wells
5Calum Green
6George Martin
7Tommy Reffell
8Marco van Staden
16Nic Dolly
17Nephi Leatigaga
18Joe Heyes
19Ollie Chessum
20Jasper Wiese
21Richard Wigglesworth
22Bryce Hegarty
23Guy Porter1T

Commentary

80

Thank you Tigers Family for your support, whether you are here at Ashton Gate or staying in touch from further afield. 

TEN OUT OF TEN TIGERS

A score from Guy Porter, well into added time, seals a victory at Ashton Gate. It's his first Premiership try too.

80

WHAT A FINISH

Ford just off target with the kick but it's over.

A remarkable finish. Tigers keep ball in attack and keep going. And going. Eventually, overloading the right hand side, Ford times the pass, Dolly takes it on and GUY PORTER scores to make it 26-28

GET IN

73min | Sheedy adds the penalty to but Bears in front st 26-23.

71min | Wiese is sin-binned after a late challenge on Sheedy. 

71

71 min | Sheedy misses with a penalty, it's still 23-23.

62min | Scrum penalty to Tigers, and Ford levels the scores from 35 metres at 23-23. 

Nice kick from Ford adds the conversion and the teams are three points apart again at 23-20.

57min | A 20-metre driving maul takes play to the line and it's that man, Julian Montoya, who dots down.

53min | Sheedy adds the conversion to try by Lloyd and Bristol lead by 10 again at 23-13.

52min | Bristol score in the corner thorugh Lloyd after Randall takes a tap in the 22 and stretches play. 

45min | This time it's the Bristol defence whistled by the referee. Ford adds the kick from 30 metres to cut the gap to 16-13.

43min | Whistle goes against Tigers, Sheedy kicks it and Bears lead 16-10.

41

We are back out for the second half with Bears 13-10 in front. No changes to the line-ups.

Bristol Bears 13-10 Leicester Tigers at the break, with Nemani Nadolo's try bringing Tigers back into range shortly before the break.

And Ford adds the conversion from wide on the left to make it 13-10 to Bears.

38

INSTANT REPLY

38min | Moroni and Nadolo combine on the left and the Fiji wing crashes over. All set for the conversion but the referee wants a look at the grounding... Verdict is a try.

36min | Lineout penalty goes against Tigers, Sheedy makes the kick and it's 13-3 to Bristol.

29min | Lineout penalty goes against Tigers, Sheedy from the tee 30 metres out, kicks to make it 10-3.

24min | Callum Sheedy converts try by Harding to give Bears a 7-3 lead.

23min | Counter-attack try for Bristol, Randall taking play almost to the line and No8 Fitz Harding going over.

15min | Scrum penalty 30 metres out, Ford points to goal and lands the first points of the day for a 3-0 lead to Tigers.

10

The opening stages have been played almost permanently in the Bears half. A scrum brings a Tigers penalty too. 

KICK-OFF | Bristol Bears v Leicester Tigers

It’s Bears fly-half Callum Sheedy to get the game started in the afternoon sunshine at Ashton Gate. Tigers are lining up from right to left as we look at it from the dugouts.

0

TODAY'S OPPOSITION

Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Toby Fricker, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Ioan Lloyd, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall; Yann Thomas, 2 Harry Thacker, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Joe Joyce, 5 Chris Vui, 6 Steven Luatua (c), 7 Sam Jeffries, 8 Fitz Harding.
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 John Hawkins, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Piers O’Conor, 23 Henry Purdy.

0

THE TIGERS LINE-UP

There is a late change to the Tigers team with Eli Snyman ruled out by Illness. Calum Green comes into the starting team in the No5 shirt and partners Harry Wells in the second row..

STARTING XV: 15 Freddie Steward [43], 14 Harry Potter [23], 13 Matías Moroni [21], 12 Dan Kelly [29], 11 Nemani Nadolo [24], 10 George Ford [115], 9 Ben Youngs [271]; 1 Ellis Genge (c) [97], 2 Julián Montoya [12], 3 Dan Cole [275], 4 Harry Wells [136], 5 Calum Green [71], 6 George Martin [26], 7 Tommy Reffell [58], 8 Marco van Staden [7]

Replacements: 16 Nic Dolly [11], 17 Nephi Leatigaga [52], 18 Joe Heyes [83], 19 Ollie Chessum [19], 20 Jasper Wiese [26], 21 Richard Wigglesworth [22], 22 Bryce Hegarty [5], 23 Guy Porter [28]

0

MATCH PREVIEW | ROUND 11

Leicester Tigers are at Bristol Bears for a first Boxing Day fixture since 2015.

Last year’s December 26 game at Newcastle Falcons was cancelled due to Covid, though the Tynesiders did provide the opposition the last time Tigers played on this date, six years ago.

On that occasion, Tigers secure a 22-10 home win and after coming back from 10-0 down early on.

Tigers are at Ashton Gate to face the last team to beat them in the Premiership.

After defeat by Bristol at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in June in Round 21 of last season,  Steve Borthwick’s men began an unbeaten run at Wasps the following week and go into the final game of 2021 on top of the Gallagher Premiership table with nine wins from nine games so far.

Bristol have lost just one of the last six games against Tigers and just one of the five previous meetings at Ashton Gate.

In team news announced on Christmas Eve, Tigers bring in Nemani Nadolo, Matías Moroni, Harry Potter and George Ford after missing the win over Connacht in the Champions Cup last weekend, and there is start for Marco van Staden in the back row.

Bristol have not played since a 27-10 defeat at Gloucester at the start of December due to the impact of Covid on their fixtures in the Heineken Champions Cup this month.

Full preview. 

0

WELCOME TO MATCHDAY LIVE!

Good afternoon and welcome to Boxing Day Matchday Live this Boxing Day as Leicester Tigers visit Bristol Bears in Round 11 of the Gallagher Premiership season.

Kick-off at Ashton Gate is at 2.00pm.

Follow all the action with our Matchday Live coverage on the Tigers App and website at www.leicestertigers.com.


Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Charles Piutau
14
Toby Fricker
13
Semi Radradra
12
Sam Bedlow
11
Ioan Lloyd
10
Callum Sheedy
9
Harry Randall
1
Yann Thomas
2
Harry Thacker
3
Kyle Sinckler
4
Joe Joyce
5
Chris Vui
6
Steven Luatua
7
Sam Jeffries
8
Fitz Harding

Subs

16
Will Capon
17
Jake Woolmore
18
Max Lahiff
19
John Hawkins
20
Jake Heenan
21
Andy Uren
22
Piers O'Conor
23
Henry Purdy

Team News | Tigers side to face Bears

Steve Borthwick has named the Leicester Tigers matchday squad for Round 11 of the Gallagher Premiership season against Bristol Bears on Sunday.

Ellis Genge returns to the starting side to lead Leicester on Boxing Day, joining Julián Montoya and Dan Cole in the front row.

Nic Dolly, Nephi Leatigaga and Joe Heyes are the replacement front-rowers.

Harry Wells and Eli Snyman are the starting locks, with George Martin, Tommy Reffell and Marco van Staden starting in the back row.

Ollie Chessum and Jasper Wiese are the remaining forwards on the Tigers bench.

“They come into Sunday’s game on the back of a couple of quieter weeks, without any games, and have an experienced coaching team who will have them prepared for a big performance at home in front of their supporters on Boxing Day"

Ben Youngs and George Ford are the starting half-backs, while Matías Moroni returns to partner Dan Kelly in the Leicester midfield.

Freddie Steward returns to full-back and is joined by Harry Potter and Nemani Nadolo in the Tigers back-three.

Richard Wigglesworth, Bryce Hegarty and Guy Porter are the replacement backs on the Leicester bench.

Previewing the Boxing Day fixture, Borthwick said: “We know Sunday will be a big challenge for us against a Bristol Bears team who have world class players available for selection again.

“They come into Sunday’s game on the back of a couple of quieter weeks, without any games, and have an experienced coaching team who will have them prepared for a big performance at home in front of their supporters on Boxing Day.

“While it has not been an easy place for Leicester Tigers to play, winning only one of six games at Ashton Gate, our focus remains the same as a group; delivering a performance our supporters will be proud of at full-time.”

STARTING XV
15 Freddie Steward [43]
14 Harry Potter [23]
13 Matías Moroni [21]
12 Dan Kelly [29]
11 Nemani Nadolo [24]
10 George Ford [115]
9 Ben Youngs [271]
1 Ellis Genge (c) [97]
2 Julián Montoya [12]
3 Dan Cole [275]
4 Harry Wells [136]
5 Eli Snyman [7]
6 George Martin [26]
7 Tommy Reffell [58]
8 Marco van Staden [7]

REPLACEMENTS
16 Nic Dolly [11]
17 Nephi Leatigaga [52]
18 Joe Heyes [83]
19 Ollie Chessum [19]
20 Jasper Wiese [26]
21 Richard Wigglesworth [22]
22 Bryce Hegarty [5]
23 Guy Porter [28]

Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Toby Fricker, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Ioan Lloyd, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall; 1 Yann Thomas, 2 Harry Thacker, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Joe Joyce, 5 Chris Vui, 6 Steven Luatua (c), 7 Sam Jeffries, 8 Fitz Harding
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 John Hawkins, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Piers O’Conor, 23 Henry Purdy.

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
1
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI242004726452274885211394
10
Bristol Bears
Bristol BearsBRI248016573718-145739811548
Form Guide
Form
LWLWL
Last Match
Lost to Sale Sharks 19-42
Past Meeting
Lost 26-56
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
LWWWW
Last Match
Beat Saracens 15-12
Past Meeting
Won 56-26

Matchday Live

Bristol Bears26
Bristol Bears
Leicester Tigers28
Leicester Tigers
Full Time