A second-half fightback fell just short as Leicester Tigers were beaten 46-30 by Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm on Sunday.
Four tries from wing Ollie Thorley among six first-half scores for Gloucester put the hosts in control of the Round 17 clash in the Gallagher Premiership season.
But Tigers, fielding a young team after the midweek win over London Irish, added 24 unanswered points with tries from Harry Potter, Jordan Taufua and Cameron Henderson to provide fresh hope at 36-30.
Just when the momentum favoured the visitors, though, Gloucester created some breathing space with a penalty and then added another try to deny the visitors any consolation.
Meeting for the 225th time – with 108 wins each – but in the unusual circumstances of playing behind closed doors, both teams made 15 changes to their midweek line-ups with Ollie Chessum making his Tigers debut in a team captained by Thom Smith, overtaking Ben White as the club’s youngest Premiership captain.
Tigers got the opening points of the afternoon, with Henry kicking a penalty after strong work in pinning Gloucester inside their own territory following Tom Hardwick’s kick in behind the defence from turnover ball.
But the lead was short-lived as Gloucester made use of advantage ball to find a hole for scrum-half Joe Simpson to score under the posts. Billy Twelvetrees added the kick for a 7-3 lead with seven minutes elapsed.
Only two more minutes elapsed before Thorley opened his personal account as quick transfer along the backline from a lineout gave the wing the run-in on the right. This time the conversion came back off the post at 12-3.
Potter had his first opportunity when he picked off an ambitious offload from Danny Cipriani near halfway and his kick down the touchline had Gloucester stretched until Jonny May won the race back to dot down in-goal.
Henry’s perfect left-footed punt to the five-metre mark on the right allowed Tigers to build some pressure and, after carries among the forwards and efficient clear-out on the floor, the fly-half added his second penalty to make it 12-6.
After Gloucester spilled ball from a Simpson attack, Tigers’ respite did not last long as Cipriani capitalised on possession close-in to put Thorley over again and Twelvetrees added the conversion.
The wing completed his hat-trick on 26 minutes, racing on to a kick from May to dot down in the corner. The conversion made it 26-6, with Blake Enever replaced by Cameron Henderson as Henry took the restart.
Thorley made it four for his tally and five for the hosts on the half-hour, taking possession on halfway and, with support on his left, staying wide to beat last man Henry and score.
The restart gave Guy Porter a chance to take play up the right but, when ball was lost in attack, Gloucester broke free and Chris Harris ran in unopposed to make it 36-6 with six minutes still to play in the half.
George Ford entered the fray for the restart with Tom Hardwick making way in a shuffled backline, and after kicking off, his next touch was a conversion of a first Tigers score for Harry Potter.
Henry, now at full-back, was the creator, taking high ball then jinking through broken field and popping a pass for the young wing, running diagonally from right to left, to pick off without breaking stride and run in from 25 metres. Ford’s extras made it 36-13.
Jordan Taufua and Ben Youngs were sent on at the start of the second half and Tigers started with some fire, Potter showing good work in defence to mop up a dangerous kick from Cipriani, and Porter hitting hard in contact and then carrying strongly in attack on the left.
Tomas Lavanini made a strong intervention to win penalty ball near halfway and skipper Smith then latched on to lost ball at a Gloucester attacking lineout to avert the danger.
Dan Kelly made his debut as a replacement for Jordan Olowofela as Ford kicked penalty ball towards the corner on the right as a platform for a second score.
Lavanini’s quick exchange of ball to the back set up Smith peeling round and, after Porter was brought down just short of the line, Taufua bumped over the whitewash. Ford added the kick to make it 36-20 with just under an hour played.
A lineout drive moments later, steered by hooker Charlie Clare, brought a penalty into the corner as Tigers built on their momentum. And they made it count too, with Taufua stopped a fraction short and replacement Cameron Henderson adding the final push up to and over the line.
Ford added the kick to make it 36-27 as the teams took a drinks break.
Referee Matthew Carley spoke to Gloucester when No8 Jake Polledri gave away another penalty in defence and Ford’s kick got Tigers into range at 36-30 with 15 minutes to play.
Gloucester finally got back into Tigers territory on the back of a penalty on halfway and, when the whistle blew again against Taufua, it was Twelvetrees who knocked over the kick to add their first points since the 33rd minute. More importantly, it pushed the home side nine points in front with only eight minutes left.
Any lingering hopes of a successful comeback were snuffed out moment later when Lloyd Evans found space to run in on the right for Gloucester’s seventh try of the afternoon.
Tigers still chased something out of the day with one final push on the right before being shut out at a close-range lineout.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
Not the result we wanted this afternoon, but plenty of lessons to take into next weekend's clash with Sale.
You can catch that one in the same place - right here on Matchday Live - next Saturday, September 5 (3.00pm). Until then, goobye.
FULL TIME | 46-30
Gloucester take the spoils in Round 17 despite an impressive second-half fightback from the men in green, white and red.
More gritty work from Lavanini and Co push Tigers up into the 22 in the final minute of the match.
The Cherry and Whites probe the Leicester defence, but the referee's arm is up in favour of Steve Borthwick's men ... and then they win another 10 metres as Gloucester are marched back for back-chat.
...two more points from the boot of Billy Twelvetrees.
Gloucester force an overlap on the right, and Lloyd Evans breaks through the Tigers cover to score.
Neither side wanting to play much rugby in their half, as Woodward and then Ford opt for the air as they attempt to find some ground.
Twelvetrees' penalty attempt is good, and Tigers' 24 second-half points are finally answered.
GLOUCESTER RUMBLE FORWARDS
Jack Singleton joins the back of the Gloucester maul from their lineout, and they push up and into the Tigers 22 for the first time in a little while, before winning a shot at goal.
Replacement hooker Jake Kerr is on in place of Cameron Henderson.
That's frustrating! Thom Smith is pinged on the floor for a momentary pause in placing the ball, and Gloucester can take a breath.
Tigers build a brilliant platform once more from the scrum, and Ford's up-and-under deflects off the Gloucester defender into touch. Lovely stuff.
BACK IN POSSESSION!
Nervy times for both teams on halfway as the ball flits between the two teams, but as Gloucester go to open up the field it's Ben Youngs who pounces and wins the ball back for Tigers. Great work.
CHANGE AT NINE
Stephen Varney joins the fray in place of Gloucester scrum-half Joe Simpson.
Former Tiger man Fraser Balmain is replaced by Jack Stanley on the Gloucester side.
SIX POINT GAME
Ford adds a penalty goal and Tigers are within six points of their hosts.
SLICK FROM YOUNGS
Ben Youngs makes a sniping run around the corner and into the heart of the Gloucester defence, and gets the ball away to Henderson for good mesaure.
The home side concede another penalty after a crunching tackle on Potter, and Ford will steer the ship back into the red zone...
Jack Clement takes the place of Gloucester back-rower Ruan Ackermann.
Tigers are within nine points after another successful conversion from Ford.
THIRD TIGERS TRY!
Cameron Henderson is over for his first try in Tigers colours after sustained pressure from the Leicester forwards.
Some more heavy carries from the Tigers forwards, with referee Carley still maintaining the penalty advantage as the sustained pressure builds ... and we'll come back for the original offence.
More great darts from hooker Clare, who finds Cameron Henderson with his latest throw.
Ollie Thorley is off the field, with Lloyd Evans now on in his place.
FORD ADDS THE EXTRAS
Ford drills the ball between the posts for his second conversion of the match.
TAUFUA CRASHES OVER
Tomás Lavanini is the target at the lineout, and a couple of phases later it's Jordan Taufua who crashes over for a Tigers score.
Taufua gets a head of steam up once more off the back of the scrum, and his work wins a five-metre lineout for the viistors.
That will be Olowofela's last engagement of this match, though, as he's replaced by debutant Dan Kelly.
OLOWOFELA BEATS TWO
Jordan Olowofela gets a rare bit of time on the ball, and he beats the first defender before making a half-break past the next and getting the ball away to Ford, who puts it in behind the Gloucester defenders. Neat.
Gloucester win a penalty on the floor before some afters break out between the two forward packs.
Referee Matthew Carley threatens to reverse the penalty in Tigers' favour, but the red shirts disperse and the home side will have a throw-in inside the Tigers 22.
Tom Seabrook is on for Gloucester, in place of Danny Cipriani.
Facundo Gigena makes his first Tigers appearance in more than six months as he replaces Ryan Bower.
THIS WAY ... AND THAT
Ford and Henry combine to put Tigers in the right place on the field, and Clare finds Ollie Chessum from the lineout.
Gloucester win possession back a few phases later, but the green wall holds strong this time and presses the Cherry and Whites back into their own half.
TAUFUA BREAKS OUT
Jordan Taufua scoops the ball out the back of another big Tigers scrum and makes 15 metres on the fringes before his side win a breakdown penalty.
Nephi Leatigaga replaces Joe Heyes at tighthead.
POTTER ON THE BALL
Cipriani extricates his side from some Tigers pressure, but try-scorer Potter has his man covered and he wins the ball back.
CHANGE AT NO8
Jordan for Jordan - Taufua for Coghlan - at the back of the Tigers scrum.
Ben Youngs is onto the field in place of Jack van Poortvliet.
Thom Smith puts in a big hit on the Gloucester fly-half and forces the handling error.
Ben Youngs will have the put in at the Tigers scrum.
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY
Danny Cipriani puts the ball high into the sky to get the second half underway at Gloucester.
HALF TIME | 36-13
Gloucester have the lead at the break, but Tigers respond through Harry Potter.
TIME AND SPACE
Van Poortvliet finds some much-needed time at the back of the ruck, and then gets the ball away for some decent Tigers territory.
George Ford adds the extras from the tee.
Henry flashes some more footwork to beat the Gloucester defenders, and he feeds Harry Potter for his first Tigers try.
FORD ON TO THE FIELD
George Ford is on to the field in place of Tom Hardwick.
TRY NUMBER SIX
Jake Polledri busts through a tangle of Tigers defenders on the left before offloading to Chris Harris for the score.
Twlevetrees fails to convert from the touchline.
GLOUCESTER ADD ANOTHER
Thorley beats the last man on the right-hand side and takes his fourth score of the afternoon.
Cameron Henderson replaces Blake Enever in the Tigers engine room.
THROUGH THE UPRIGHTS
Twelvetrees adds two more points with a successful conversion.
Jason Woodward splits Tigers lines with a neat kick through and Thorley dots down for the bonus-point score.
Gloucester disrupt the Leicester lineout for the first time this afternoon, and the loose ball sets up another thrust down the left, but the touchline comes at just the right time for Tigers.
AND THE EXTRAS...
Twelvetrees gets the conversion this time, and Gloucester lead by 19 points to six.
GLOUCESTER MAKE IT THREE
The Cherry and Whites sustain more pressure in the final quarter of the field, and it's Thorley who benefits with his second try of the match.
Another great effort from the Tigers forwards, holding strong on their line to give Van Poortvliet the chance to break out from the back.
Gloucester fumble the ball as they get into the Tigers 22 and the ball bobbles dead.
THREE FROM THE TEE
Two from two for Henry, and he adds three more points to Tigers' tally.
Leicester win the penalty advantage so Henry attempts the cross-field kick before we come back for a shot at goal.
Clare finds his man with the throw, and the Tigers forwards are called into action as they press up to the Gloucester line with some industrious runs. Gritty.
Zack Henry gets under a Gloucester box kick and races past the first two defenders, before drawing a penalty for offside from the next pair. He kicks Tigers downfield for Charlie Clare to feed the lineout.
The Tigers pack get a decent nudge on at scrum-time, and No8 Jordan Coghlan dives on the loose ball bouncing out the back of the Gloucester side, and wins possession back for the visitors.
FOOT RACE DOWN THE WING
Tigers take their chance with the first piece of possession in a little while as Harry Potter picks up a loose ball on the right-hand side and chips forward for a foot race with May. Productive.
Billy Twelvetrees' conversion attempt rebounds off the post.
THROUGH THE HANDS
Gloucester pull the trigger through their backs to put Ollie Thorley over for a second score.
Gloucester add the conversion and they now lead by seven poitns to three.
Chris Harris breaks through the Tigers line after a few phases of pressure, and he feeds scrum-half Joe Simpson to score.
FIRST POINTS TO TIGERS
Henry opens the scoring with three from the tee.
HIGH FROM HENRY
...but Tigers are quickly back into the home half with ball in hand, with Jack van Poortvliet getting quick ball away from each ruck.
When fly-half Henry runs out of options to his left, he puts boot to ball for Jordan Olowofela to go head-to-head with his oppostie man.
INTO TIGERS TERRITORY
Former Tiger Jonny May claims the first ball, before George Worth takes possession and heads into a thicket of red shirts on halfway, but Gloucester win an early penalty and Danny Cipriani kicks to the corner.
KICK OFF FROM KINGSHOLM!
Zack Henry kicks us off and Tigers are underway in Gloucester.
RUGBY AGAINST RACISM
The Tigers squad take their now-familiar places as we show the club’s solidarity for equality in our sport under the banner of Rugby Against Racism.
FIVE MINUTES TO GO
Just five minutes to go until kick-off from Kingsholm, and the players have just completed their final warm-ups...
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COME ON TIGERS!
TEAM TALK | BORTHWICK LOOKS FOR MORE PROGRESS
Steve Borthwick has challenged Sunday’s line-up to take another step forward with their performance at Gloucester.
“This week’s team have earned the opportunity to represent Leicester at Kingsholm on Sunday, and now what they need to do is put the best 80 on the pitch,” the head coach told LTTV.
“We want to take another step forward and we want to develop our game again.
“There are a different set of players that have got this opportunity, but the whole squad works towards this.
“Everyone is working for us to put the best 80 that we can on the field.”
Watch the full Team Talk, brought to you by Topps Tiles, on LTTV.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS
Tigers Academy graduate Thom Smith will become the third-youngest captain in Premiership history when he leads out an exciting Tigers side at Kingsholm this afternoon.
Only James Gaskell and Alex Sanderson (both Sale) were younger when they led in the Premiership for the first time.
Head coach Steve Borthwick makes 17 changes to the matchday squad that defeated London Irish on Wednesday evening, including a new-look starting team for the Round 17 fixture.
An all-international combination of Tomás Lavanini and Blake Enever offers some experience from the second row, while Zack Henry earns a first start at fly-half alongside Jack van Poortvliet at No9.
Ollie Chessum makes his club debut in the back row, with Jordan Taufua, Ben Youngs and George Ford all backing-up from Wednesday's win among the replacements. Ireland Under-20s cap Dan Kelly is also in line for his first taste of Tigers action, wearing 23.
See the full match line-ups by clicking here, or scrolling down on this page.
MATCH PREVIEW | HISTORIC MEETING AT KINGSHOLM
Leicester Tigers and Gloucester Rugby meet this Sunday for the 225th time in a rivalry dating back to the tail-end of the 19th Century.
Among the oldest rivals in English rugby, with a first meeting dating back to 1891, Kingsholm hosts this clash in Round 17 of the restarted Gallagher Premiership campaign.
Both teams have won five times so far this season, with Tigers travelling to the West Country on the back of a home win over London Irish in midweek while the Cherry and Whites are seven points better off in the league table.
See all the important facts and stats in our full match preview here, or scroll down on this page.
WELCOME TO MATCHDAY LIVE!
We’re LIVE for Round 17 of the Gallagher Premiership, as Leicester Tigers travel to Kingsholm to face Gloucester Rugby (4.30pm).
Follow all the action as it happens with our Matchday Live coverage, right here on the Tigers App and LeicesterTigers.com.