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Report | Second-half fightback not enough

Figure image

Leicester Tigers have fallen to Bristol Bears 25-14 in round one of the Gallagher Premiership after Tigers were unable to rein the home side in after leading 22-0 at the break.

A much-improved second half saw Tigers take two opportunities for tries, Leicester left to rue not taking more of their chances in the second-half as they look forward to getting back to Mattioli Woods Welford Road next time out against Sale. 

Bears wing Gabriel Ibitoye scored twice in the first half, the first coming off a deft kick in behind Tigers defence and the other from an impressive solo run from his own half.

The Bears also added a further score through hooker Harry Thacker and a penalty from James Williams, the centre having taking over the kicking duties from injured flyhalf AJ MacGinty.

Williams slotted another penalty after halftime giving the Tigers a mountain to climb at 25-0.

Tigers’ centre Dan Kelly got Leicester on the board at the 50-minute mark which Atkinson converted.

That try definitely lifted Leicester and a perfect pop pass saw captain Hanro Liebenberg go through a gap and the bruising backrow showed good speed and footwork to score.

Tigers grew in the closing 20 minutes, creating enough opportunities to close the gap. The killer pass would evade Leicester however, and the game would finish at 25-14.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

BRI 22-0 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

BRI 25-14 LEI

Attendance

15,674

Referee

Ian Tempest

Bristol Bears
Bristol Bears
25

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
14
Bristol Bears
T
T
C
T
C
P
P
KOHTFT
Leicester Tigers
T
C
T
C

Match Stats

Bristol Bears
Leicester Tigers
Possession
47%
53%
Territory
46%
54%
Penalties Conceded
11
6
Yellow Cards
0
0
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
138/158 87%
110/132 83%
Scrums Won
6/9 67%
5/6 83%
Lineouts Won
10/13 77%
14/14 100%

Player Stats

Bristol Bears
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Mike Brown
14Josh Bassett
13Guy Porter
12Dan Kelly1T
11Ollie Hassell-Collins
10Charlie Atkinson1C
9Joe Powell
1Francois van Wyk
2Charlie Clare
3Joe Heyes
4Cameron Henderson
5Harry Wells
6Hanro Liebenberg1T
7Olly Cracknell
8Matt Rogerson
16Nic Dolly
17James Whitcombe
18Will Hurd
19Mike Williams
20Kyle Hatherell
21Tom Whiteley
22Jamie Shillcock1C
23Phil Cokanasiga

Commentary

OPENING ROUND DEFEAT FOR TIGERS

A late comeback falls short for Leicester away to Bristol in the opening round of the 23/24 Gallagher Premiership season. 

The Bears eventual winners by eleven points, 25-14, at Ashton Gate.

75

FINAL FIVE IN BRISTOL

Just five minutes remaining at Ashton Gate and Leicester gifted a chance deep inside the Bristol half after repeated infringements from the home side.

CON | JAMIE SHILLCOCK

Jamie Shillcock converts the Hanro Liebenberg try, with six minutes left, to cut the deficit to 11 points. 

TRY | HANRO LIEBENBERG

A patient build-up from almost the entire Leicester side, working themselves into an attacking position, builds momentum and Hanro Liebenberg is the beneficiary with a try after a well-timed run off Tom Whiteley. 

70

TIGERS PUSHED OFF BALL

The Leicester pack is pushed back on their own feed by Bristol, winning the home side a crucial penalty deep inside their own half at the set piece to relieve some pressure.

65

CHANGES APLENTY

Both sides calling on replacements as we enter the final 15 minutes at Ashton Gate with the difference still 18 points.

60

TIGERS FIGHTING FORWARD

Leicester, on the back of a dominant scrum, working their way back into attacking positions but another error brings the opportunity to an end.

55

KICK BATTLE ONGOING

Both sides playing the territory game, through the boot, in Bristol approaching the hour mark. 

CON | CHARLIE ATKINSON

Charlie Atkinson adds the extras to make it an 18-point game, 25-7, after 53 minutes in Bristol. 

TRY | DAN KELLY

Leicester have their first, 51 minutes into the fixture, after Tom Whiteley - just on the field as a replacement - chips from the base of a ruck over the Bears defensive line and Dan Kelly chases well before regaining possession and going over to score.

50

CHANCE GOES BEGGING

Leicester put together several impressive, patient phases before another error ends the attack inside the Bristol half.

PEN | BRISTOL BEARS

The Bears lead is out to 25-0 just two minutes into the second half at Ashton Gate after a long-range penalty goal from James Williams.

SECOND HALF UNDERWAY

The second half is underway at Ashton Gate!

BEARS LEAD AT THE BREAK

A strong first 40 minutes from Bristol sees them lead 22-0 at the break.

PEN | BRISTOL BEARS

The Bears extend their lead to 22-0 with just two minutes remaining in the first half with a penalty-goal from 25m out, in front of the uprights.

35

PHYSICALITY AT FOREFRONT

Both sides throwing themselves into everything as the first half approaches its conclusion and the Bears have suffered two injuries, forcing replacements in their pack and at fly-half through the knocks.

30

BRISTOL MISS CHANCE TO EXTEND

Both sides looking for territory approaching the half hour mark in Bristol and the Bears fly-half, AJ MacGinty, misses a long range drop-goal attempt. 

CON | BRISTOL BEARS

Bristol lead 19-0 after 25 minutes as AJ MacGinty adds another successful conversion.

TRY | BRISTOL BEARS

Seconds after the re-start, Gabriel Ibitoye has a second and Bristol have a third after a mistake in trying to regather the kick-off from Leicester ends up in the hands of the home side. 

A race down the touchline is finished by the Bears wing. 

CON | BRISTOL BEARS

Bristol's lead is out to twelve points, after 22 minutes, with a successful conversion from AJ MacGinty.

TRY | BRISTOL BEARS

The home side have a second, through Harry Thacker, after a lineout from 5m out is brought down and driven over the Leicester try line.

20

TIGERS COME UNDONE

After weathering an early onslaught from the Bears, Leicester find themselves deep in the Bristol half but - after six phases - a pass goes to ground and in the hands of the home team, who kick clear and win a lineout 5m from the Tigers line.

15

LEICESTER PACK HIT BACK

The Tigers forwards respond and respond in the best way they know how. 

A huge scrum from Leicester, against the feed, wins them a penalty and chance to relieve some pressure. 

14

PRESSURE BEING PILED ON

The home side continue to pile on the pressure, again through a short kicking game, as they grubber one phase off the scrum and end up dragging Mike Brown backwards and winning a 5m scrum in their favour.

13

TOO BIG, TOO STRONG

A clearing kick from deep inside his own half from Ollie Hassell-Collins, in the midst of a kick tennis battle, ends up trickling over the deadball line and wins Bristol a scrum on Leicester's 22m line.

10

TIGHT AFTER TEN

The difference remains just five points, with the lone try for the hosts, after ten minutes at Ashton Gate in the season opener. 

TRY | BRISTOL BEARS

The first points come just two minutes into this clash as Bristol Bears bring it wide to the left, before dropping a grubber in behind the Leicester line and Gabriel Ibitoye beats the retreating Tigers to the ball to dot it down.

THE PREM GETS GOING

The 23/24 Gallagher Premiership season is underway! 

The home side kick deep into Leicester's half to start the new league campaign.

-15

NOT LONG NOW...

The 23/24 Gallagher Premiership season is almost here! 

Dan McKellar's side are in Bristol to take on the Bears under the Ashton Gate lights in Round 1 of their league campaign. 


Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Richard Lane
14
Noah Heward
13
Benhard Janse van Rensburg
12
James Williams
11
Gabriel Ibitoye
10
AJ MacGinty
9
Harry Randall
1
Jake Woolmore
2
Harry Thacker
3
Jay Tyack
4
James Dun
5
Joe Batley
6
Fitz Harding
7
Daniel Thomas
8
Magnus Bradbury

Replacements

16
Will Capon
17
Andrew Turner
18
George Kloska
19
Josh Caulfield
20
Steven Luatua
21
Kieran Marmion
22
Virimi Vakatawa
23
Piers O'Conor

Team News | Tigers name team to play Bristol in Premiership opener

Figure image

Leicester Tigers Head Coach Dan McKellar has named his side for Friday night’s trip to Bristol for the opening game of the 2023/24 Gallagher Premiership season.

The blockbusting fixture will see Tigers taking on the Bears at Ashton Gate Stadium and McKellar has named a strong matchday squad despite the club’s Argentinian, English, South African and Welsh internationals still to return from the Rugby World Cup.

Six players are named for potential Premiership debuts for the club, including summer recruits Josh Bassett and Ollie Hassell-Collins who start on the wings with Mike Brown the veteran presence at fullback.

Dan Kelly and Guy Porter form a familiar centre pairing and Joe Powell, another league debutant for Leicester, partners Charlie Atkinson as the halfbacks.

In the pack, Francois van Wyk, Charlie Clare and Joe Heyes form the front row with Cameron Henderson and Harry Wells the locks.

Hanro Liebenberg will lead the team from blindside flanker with Olly Cracknell at openside and Matt Rogerson, on Premiership debut for Leicester, at No.8 in the back row.

Nic Dolly, James Whitcombe and Will Hurd will be the finishing front row, with Mike Williams and Kyle Hatherell covering lock and backrow.

Tom Whiteley, Jamie Shillcock and Phil Cokanasiga complete Tigers matchday squad as the replacement backs.

Speaking ahead of the league opener, Leicester Tigers Head Coach Dan McKellar said: “It’s an exciting week for the group and we’re well prepared for the challenge against Bristol on Friday night.”

“We’ve worked really hard for 15 weeks to put ourselves in the right place on and off the field with our game and our connection and now it’s about performing against a really good side on Friday night.

“There’s plenty of quality in the team that will represent us, who have earned their opportunity this week, and are intent on delivering a performance we can all be proud of.”

STARTING XV

15 Mike Brown [9]
14 Josh Bassett [2]
13 Guy Porter [63]
12 Dan Kelly [59]
11 Ollie Hassell-Collins [3]
10 Charlie Atkinson [20]
9 Joe Powell [3]
1 Francois Van Wyk [34]
2 Charlie Clare [80]
3 Joe Heyes [125]
4 Cameron Henderson [39]
5 Harry Wells [178]
6 Hanro Liebenberg (c) [87]
7 Olly Cracknell [26]
8 Matt Rogerson [2]

REPLACEMENTS

16 Nic Dolly [27]
17 James Whitcombe [39]
18 Will Hurd [27]
19 Mike Williams [83]
20 Kyle Hatherell [4]
21 Tom Whiteley [7]
22 Jamie Shillcock [4]
23 Phil Cokanasiga [9]

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
7
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI84042091743524212220
8
Bristol Bears
Bristol BearsBRI8305213205827293217
Form Guide
Form
LLLLW
Last Match
Beat Gloucester Rugby 51-26
Past Meeting
Won 25-14
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
LLWWW
Last Match
Beat Newcastle Falcons 47-3
Past Meeting
Lost 14-25

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