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Match report | Late Bears try denies Tigers

Leicester Tigers were beaten 20-23 by Bristol Bears at Welford Road on Saturday afternoon but the consolation losing point created a nine-point gap over the bottom of the table with two games remaining.

A try from Jordan Olowofela, after the teams had exchanged early penalties, gave Tigers the lead at 11-6. But Bristol drew level shortly before half-time with a Callum Sheedy try on a blustery, cold afternoon.

There was little to divide the teams after the break, with Ford kicking a couple of penalties before the Bears responded with a try to cut the gap to 17-16 as Tigers lost Matt Toomua to a yellow card. And it was Leicester old boy Harry Thacker who added the Bears' third try from close range as they decisively edged in front with just five minutes left to play in this Gallagher Premiership Round 20 clash.

Bristol stretched their advantage over Leicester to six points, with 44 to 39. Worcester Warriors, who host Gloucester on Sunday, are in 11th place on 37 with Newcastle Falcons on 30 after their home defeat by Northampton on Friday evening.

Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy gave a debut to full-back Clayton Blommetjies following his hat-trick in the Premiership Shield at Easter and brought Sione Kalamafoni into the back row after a three-match ban. Telusa Veainu, one of the tryscorers in a 50-17 win over Bristol on their last visit to Leicester in 2017, was  included in the squad for the first time since October on his return from a foot injury. He made his first Premiership appearance since Round 3 as a late replacement.

Tigers started the game strongly, keeping ball in hand for the opening phases as they took play 50 metres upfield in a series of carries before gaining a penalty award on the edge of the Bristol 22. Ford, with scrum-half Sam Harrison having to hold the ball still on the tee in the wind, struck it firmly for a 3-0 lead on five minutes.

The Bears created their first opening as they found extra men out wide on the right but the offload from No8 Nick Haining went behind the supporting players and Tigers shut out the chance.

Bristol, though, then retained possession for several minutes, forcing defenders into tackles until Tigers knocked-on in contact 10 metres in front of the posts. And when the whistle went in Bristol’s favour at the scrum, fly-half Callum Sheedy levelled the scores with a straight-forward kick.

A midfield break from Matt Toomua provided some momentum for Tigers, but they were then penalised at the breakdown just as they were gaining territory.

Tigers also fell foul of the whistle at a scrum near the touchline on halfway but when Sam Bedlow called for the tee he failed to connect cleanly and the ball barely made crossbar height as it fell wide.

The strong wind was making it difficult to find a rhythm in the game and, after a scrum penalty Ford kicked Tigers into a 6-3 lead, Sheedy levelled the scores again when Guy Thompson was penalised for not releasing in the tackle just 20 metres out.

A high tackle on Olowofela on the left wing brought another penalty and Ford took play into the corner. But, after securing lineout possession, Tigers were robbed of ball 15 metres out and had to start again.

This time, they made sure as Jonny May and Thompson combined with some slick handling to put Olowofela clear and he scored in the left corner. Ford was unable to add a tricky conversion as the wind pushed his kick wide with Tigers five points in front.

Then Bristol, in their very next attack, claimed their first try as Sheedy squirmed away from two attempted tackles to score near the posts. But the fly-half pushed his kick just wide with the scores level at 11-11.

The visitors started the second half with what they thought was a precious try, with Tom Pincus going over on the right. But referee Karl Dickson spotted and checked an obstruction in the build-up and the try was crossed out.

Bristol continued to play by building phases across the field but strong work on the floor from Kalamafoni won a penalty for Tigers and Ford pushed play upfield. When Tigers looked to play out from the lineout, Bristol were blown again and Ford pointed to the posts. His kick made it 14-11 in favour of the home side.

Tellingly, Tigers lost the restart as the kick was held up on the wind and Siale Piutau claimed possession to set the visitors on the attack. And, when they neared the tryline, Toomua was yellow-carded as he contested the ball off his feet.

Tigers were forced on to the defensive, surviving when Bristol lost possession in attack and then seeing Thompson, just seconds after being penalised for one attempted turnover, earn a superb steal as they battled on with a man short.

Another penalty against Bristol allowed Ford to kick for goal and his fourth successful kick made it 17-11 after 55 minutes.

But the Bears came straight back and scored through flanker Dan Thomas as Steve Luatua and Pincus combined on their right flank, creating extra numbers across the field where Thomas dotted down. Sheedy’s kick was another victim of the swirling wind as the conversion blew wide of the posts.

Toomua returned from the sin-bin shortly afterwards with Tigers still in front at 17-16 and Crane made his Welford Road return from the Bears bench.

The visitors expected better reward as they kept ball in hand in rival territory but then found themselves 20-16 behind when they offended at a scrum on their 10-metre line and Ford added the three-pointer.

The fly-half was then in action at the other end, winning the race to a kick by Mat Protheroe but being back over his own tryline, giving Bears a close-range scrum.

Play stayed in that area of the pitch with a couple of penalties and, at the second time of asking, the whole Bears pack gathered to drive to the line and it was Thacker who emerged from the pile of bodies to edge them in front. Ian Madigan’s conversion made it 20-23 with four minutes left on the clock.

Veainu emerged from the bench at the kick-off and was quickly on to the ball as Tigers looked for one last chance. It came when Crane was penalised at a ruck on halfway with two minutes remaining but, after building some impetus on the ball in the Bears half, ball was lost in contact and the visitors took their opportunity to close out victory.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 11-11 BRI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 20-23 BRI

Attendance

20,119

Referee

Karl Dickson

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Bristol Bears
Possession
55%
45%
Territory
53%
47%
Penalties Conceded
12
12
Yellow Cards
1
0
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
125/148 84%
175/194 90%
Scrums Won
7/7 100%
7/7 100%
Lineouts Won
7/8 88%
11/13 85%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Bristol Bears
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Clayton Blommetjies
14Jonny May
13Matt Smith
12
11Jordan Olowofela1T
10George Ford5P
9Sam Harrison
1Ellis Genge
2Tatafu Polota-Nau
3Dan Cole
4Will Spencer
5Graham Kitchener
6Michael Fitzgerald
7Guy Thompson
8Sione Kalamafoni
16Jake Kerr
17Facundo Gigena
18Joe Heyes
19Harry Wells
20Mike Williams
21Ben White
22Sam Aspland-Robinson
23Telusa Veainu
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
20

Full Time

Bristol Bears
Bristol Bears
23
Leicester Tigers
P
P
T
P
P
P
KOHTFT
Bristol Bears
P
P
T
T
C

Commentary

80

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT

Thank you to the 20,119 supporters who joined us at Welford Road and to all of you who followed along at home using Matchday Live.

We'll see you again for the final home game of the season on Saturday, May 18 (4.00pm) for our Round 22 clash with Bath Rugby.

FULL TIME | 20-23

Tigers fall short in the final play of the game, and Karl Dickson blows for full time.

80

FINAL PLAY OF THE GAME

Crane scoops the ball out the back of the Bristol scrum, but the ball is knocked on into touch by one of his teammates so White will feed into the lineout on halfway in the final play of the game.

79

KNOCK ON ON THE FLOOR

Kerr's throw finds his man, and Tigers look to batter the door down on the away 22. The momentum is broken by a knock on on the floor, and Bristol have a scrum with 45 seconds remaniing.

78

IN AT THE SIDE

Jordan Crane is clearly in at the side as he disrupts the Leicester breakdown, and Thacker rushes in to try and steal the ball after he thinks White has tapped it. He hadn't, so Ford nudges it into touch on the Bears 22.

TRIO OF TIGERS CHANGES

Facundo Gigena, Joe Heyes and - to a roar from the crowd - Telusa Veainu join the Tigers fray, in place of Ellis Genge, Dan Cole and debutant Clayton Blommetjies.

MADIGAN CONVERTS

Madigan's conversion puts Bristol three points ahead with just under five minutes to go.

BEARS MAUL OVER

Chris Vui claims the throw, and the Bears maul rumbles over the line. Harry Thacker is the scorer.

74

PENALTY AT THE THROW

The Tigers pack give away a penalty at the first lineout, so Bristol will have another throw...

73

THROUGH THE MARK

Bristol win a scrum penalty on the Leicester five-metre line, after the Tigers pack hit through the mark. Madigan puts the ball into the dorner for a Bears lineout.

72

FORD GATHERS

George Ford hares after a Bristol kick and secures possession five metres from his own line.

71

PAUSE FOR TREATMENT

We'll pause for treatment on both sides of the ball after a Tigers knock on on halfway.

WHITE FOR HARRISON

Sam Harrison is replaced by Ben White at scrum-half for Leicester.

FORD SPLITS THE UPRIGHTS

Ford adds another penalty to his tally, to give Tigers a four-point lead at 20-16 with 10 minutes to play.

68

SCRUM DOWN

We finally get the scrum - after a couple of resets - and it's another penalty won by the Tigers pack. Boris will be pleased...

WELLS TAKES KITCH'S PLACE

Graham Kitchener takes the applause from the home supporters as he is replaced by Harry Wells.

66

KNOCK ON

Another Bristol mistake, as full-back Mat Protheroe spills the ball in front of the Breedon Terrace. The scrum goes down on the Bears' side, but Tigers come away with it. There's a clash of heads at the next ruck as Jordan Crane and Siale Piutau go into each other, but they both remain on the field for now.

65

BRISTOL FUMBLE

The Bears look to put the ball through hands again, but Siale Piutau can't quite keep a hand to it, before John Afoa knocks on. Leicester play the advantage, and Olowofela chases the ball before it bobbles into touch inside the Bristol half.

CHANGE AT 10

Ian Madigan replaces Bristol fly-half Callum Sheedy.

MIKE FOR MIKE

Mike Williams is on, in place of Mike Fitzgerald.

63

INTO THE 22

Guy Thompson trucks the ball up into the Bristol 22, but just a phase later the ball is knocked on off a Leicester knee. Sheedy kicks to touch to ease the pressure.

CRANE ON

Former Tigers man Jordan Crane replaces Steven Luatua.

61

CROUCH, BIND, SET

Tigers win a penalty just inside their own half when Dan Cole forces James Lay to ground.

CHANGES ON THE HOUR

Jake Kerr and Sam Aspland-Robinson are both onto the field in place of Tatafu Polota-Nau and Matt Smith. Matt Toomua returns from his yellow card to return Tigers to 15 men.

BEARS SCORE

After a check with the TMO, Dan Thomas' try is awarded, though Sheedy misses the kick. Tigers still lead 17-16.

58

THROUGH THE HANDS

Bristol put the ball through hands and think they're over through flanker Dan Thomas, but we'll go to the TMO to see if there was a foot in touch in the build up...

SMITH JOINS THE FRAY

George Smith replaces Nick Haining in the Bristol back row.

TIGERS PENALTY

Ford nudges the ball through the uprights and Leicester lead 17 points to 11 with almost an hour gone.

55

MAY BREAK

The noise levels rise at Welford Road as Jonny May spots a gap on the left-hand side, but Bristol cover and he is bundled into touch. We'll come back for a tackle in the air, and Ford has another kick at goal.

54

GREAT NUDGE

Ford makes great ground with the kick - even if the Breedon Terrace thinks the touch judge should be closer to the corner flag - and Taf finds his man at the throw.

53

TAP AND GO

Randall taps and goes with his first touch of the ball after Tigers give away a penalty on the floor. But his support doesn't get to him in time, and Leicester win the ball back just inside their own half.

BRISTOL SWAP SCRUM-HALVES

Harry Randall is onto the field in place of Andy Uren.

49

'CHECK WITH KITT-Y'

Tigers think they've ripped the ball on their own line, but there's slight confusion over how the ball then gets over the deadball line. Dickson checks with TMO Rowan Kitt and awards Tigers a 22 dropout.

YELLOW CARD FOR TOOMUA

Matt Toomua is sent to the bin for cynically slowing the ball at a breakdown on his own line.

THREE MORE POINTS

...and it's through! Tigers pull ahead once more via George Ford's boot, score now 14-11.

46

NOT ROLLING AWAY

Sam Harrison keeps the ball in the breakdown long enough for Tigers to win a penalty for a Bristol player not rolling away. Ford points to the posts...

BEARS CHANGE

Jake Woolmore is replaced by James Lay in the Bristol front row.

45

WARNING AT THE RUCK

Dickson warns Guy Thompson at a ruck on the far side, but Kalamafoni needs no such advice - he's over the ball at the next ruck, and wins the penalty for Tigers.

43

NO TRY

The decision is NO TRY after obstruction from Bears loosehead Jake Woolmore in the build-up. Ford kicks to touch for a lineout well into the Bristol half.

43

POTENTIAL BEARS TRY

Bristol think they're over, but Karl Dickson has turned to his TMO to look for possible obstruction and then check the grounding.

41

EARLY SCRUM

Bristol win the penalty at an early scrum, and are now attacking on the fringes of the home 22.

SECOND HALF STARTS

Callum Sheedy gets the second half underway at Welford Road, Tigers now attacking towards the Mattioli Woods Stand.

HALF TIME | 11-11

All square at the break at Welford Road, after what has been a to-and-fro first half.

40

OFFSIDE

Dickson has another peep on the whistle, this time for a Tigers offside. But Leicester steal the lineout, and that'll be the final play of the half.

38

TIGERS PINGED

Genge is pinged for dangerous play at a ruck, with Dickson claiming the ball was already out.

Tigers come away with the ball from the lineout, and Blommetjies breaks down the left before the ball dribbles into touch.

SHEEDY THROUGH

Bristol work the ball to the centre of the field and fly-half Sheedy spots a gap to cross the whitewash. He can't convert his score, though, so we're level again at 11-11.

34

DARTS FROM TAF

Bristol work the ball into the Tigers 22 from the restart, and Tigers have a lineout in their right-hand corner. Tatafu Polota-Nau finds Mike Fitzgerald with his throw, and Leicester get it clear.

BEARS CHANGE

Siale Piutau replaces Sam Bedlow in the Bristol midfield.

31

CONVERSION MISSED

A gust of wind takes Ford's kick wide across the face of the posts, but Tigers still lead 11-6.

OLOWOFELA DOTS DOWN

Tigers pull Bristol across the field before Jordan Olowofela spots an overlap on his left-hand side, and gallops in for the first try of the match. That's his first score for 18 games for the young man.

29

WOBBLE IN MIDFIELD

Graham Kitchener takes the lineout, but the ball is lost in midfield and we're back on halfway before Tigers win it back again via Guy Thompson.

28

HIGH TACKLE

Olowofela is taken high on his second burst down the left-hand touchline, and Ford kicks to the corner once again. The Tigers pack smell a score, clearly...

26

CLAYTON UNDER THE HIGH BALL

Blommetjies takes a high ball at full tilt and looks to smash the Bristol line. They hold strong initially, but the ball is recycled and Olowofela spots a half gap on the left.

BRISTOL PENALTY

Leicester are penalised for illegally disrupting a Bears maul, and this time Sheedy nails the kick to level us up again, 6-6.

24

KICK TENNIS

The backs look to give their forward packs a bit of a rest by engaging in a spot of kick tennis. First Blommetjies and then Olowofela field the high ball, before Ford kicks to touch for a Bristol lineout.

ANOTHER THREE FOR FORD

Ford kicks three more after Bristol give away a penalty at scrum time to make the score 6-3 at Welford Road.

20

QUICK LINEOUT

Tigers take the lineout on the Bears 22, but the ball evades both lifters and bounces off the back. Bristol pick up, but knock on a phase later and the home side will have a scrum well into the final quarter of the pitch.

19

TIGERS ADVANTAGE

Dickson awards the advantage from the scrum, but Harrison digs the ball out for Jonny May on the right wing. He's stopped, so we'll come back for the original offence. Ford kicks to the corner.

18

ANOTHER KNOCK ON

Another knock on...but this time it's from Bristol. We'll scrum again, with Sam Harrison to make the feed.

16

SHEEDY POINTS TO POSTS

Bristol win a penalty at the scrum, and Sheedy points to the posts. He's almost got the distance, but his kick at goal just tails off to the left.

15

HANDLING ERROR

Another Leicester knock on, this time on the far side, right on halfway. We'll scrum down again.

14

CONFUSION AT THE LINEOUT

Bristol call a five-man lineout...with four men in the lineout. Referee Karl Dickson allows John Afoa to join the line, but Harry Thacker's throw goes astray and is pounced on by Tatafu Polota-Nau. Nice one.

12

TOOMUA ON THE CHARGE

Tigers ball, and inside centre Matt Toomua floats through a gap in the Bristol line. Leicester are into the visitors' 22, but Polota-Nau is adjudged to have gone off his feet, and the Bears release the pressure.

BEARS BITE BACK

Callum Sheedy sends a penalty kick through the uprights to level the scores at Welford Road, 3-3.

10

SCRUM PENALTY

'Green, green, green' is the message from assistant referee Hamish Smales at scrum time, and Bristol win a penalty in front of the sticks.

9

KNOCK ON AND SCRUM

We'll have a first scrum of the game after a knock-on in front of the Tigers posts. Bristol scrum-half Andy Uren feeds the ball...

7

TIGERS HOLD STRONG

The Bears look to make the most of an overlap on this near touchline, but the final pass doesn't quite stick. They shift the ball to the left and then back to the right, but the Tigers line holds strong.

FIRST BLOOD TO TIGERS

Ford lands a penalty goal in blustery conditions to put Tigers three points ahead with four minutes gone in this match.

3

POWER FROM ELLIS

The home side work the ball up the pitch, carry by carry, metre by metre, before Ellis Genge uses a powerful leg drive - with help from Jordan Olowofela and Matt Smith - to make 10 metres in one carry. Bristol are pinged on the floor, and George Ford will have a kick at goal.

2

EARLY TIGERS POSSESSION

Tigers hitting the ball up early in this first half. Matt Smith makes a half break in front of the Breedon Terrace, and then comes back for more a couple of phases later to put Bristol centre Piers O'Conor onto his backside.

KICK OFF AT WELFORD ROAD

George Ford puts boot to ball and we're underway at Welford Road.

0

WEATHER UPDATE

Gusty winds have been battering Welford Road all morning, and there’s no sign of the breeze abating before kick off. There’s a forecast of light rain with temperatures not expected to rise above 8C.

0

BAKEWELL PREVIEWS BRISTOL THREAT

One man that knows the Bears’ threat better than most is former Bristol forwards coach – and current Leicester pack man – Mark Bakewell, who swapped the West Country for Oval Park in February 2018.

“Their intent to attack is their biggest threat with ability to find space in opposition defensive patterns poses the biggest threat,” he told LeicesterTigers.com. “Consistency and cohesion is massive.”

You can read the Australian’s full match preview here.

0

CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS

Recent arrival Clayton Blommetjies makes his club debut at full-back in one of four changes to the starting XV that defeated Newcastle Falcons last time out in this competition.

Sione Kalamafoni, Matt Smith and Tatafu Polota-Nau all start, while Telusa Veainu is in line for his first Premiership Rugby appearance in 222 days after being named on the bench.

Guy Thompson and Matt Toomua shift to openside flanker and inside centre respectively as head coach Geordan Murphy shuffles the rest of his matchday squad.

Get up to speed with full team news here (or scroll down on this page).

0

BIG MATCH PREVIEW

Just three points and one place separate Tigers from ninth-placed Bristol in the Gallagher Premiership table ahead of today’s match.

Since a 32-14 defeat on Tigers turf back in April 2008, the Bears have been to Welford Road only once, losing 50-17 in a Premiership fixture during February 2017.

Pat Lam’s men were victorious in the last meeting between the two sides – 41-10 at Ashton Gate back in December – and Tigers will look to avenge that Round 9 defeat this afternoon.

Read our big match preview here (or scroll down on this page).

0

WELCOME TO MATCHDAY LIVE!

Good afternoon and welcome to Welford Road for Tigers’ match against Bristol Bears in Round 20 of the Gallagher Premiership.

Whether you’re at the ground or elsewhere, can follow all of the action LIVE, right here with Matchday Live.


Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Matt Protheroe
14
Tom Pincus
13
Piers O'Conor
12
Sam Bedlow
11
Alapati Leiua
10
Callum Sheedy
9
Andy Uren
1
Jake Woolmore
2
Harry Thacker
3
John Afoa
4
Ed Holmes
5
Chris Vui
6
Steven Luatua
7
Daniel Thomas
8
Nick Haining

Subs

16
Nic Fenton-Wells
17
James Lay
18
Lewis Thiede
19
Jordan Crane
20
George Smith
21
Harry Randall
22
Ian Madigan
23
Siale Piutau

Team news | Four changes for Bears visit

Telusa Veainu and Sione Kalamafoni return to the Leicester Tigers squad as recent arrival Clayton Blommetjies makes his club debut in the home game against Bristol Bears this Saturday.

Former South Africa Sevens player Blommetjies starts at full-back as Matt Toomua partners Matt Smith at centre in the Tigers team for the Gallagher Premiership Round 20 contest at Welford Road (3.00pm).

In the pack, Australia international Tatafu Polota-Nau joins England duo Ellis Genge and Dan Cole in the front row as Kalamafoni returns at No8 following suspension and Guy Thompson moves across to openside flanker.

Veainu, who came through a run-out in the Premiership Shield with the Tigers Development XV last weekend on his return from a foot injury, is named among the replacements.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, head coach Geordan Murphy said: “We had to dig in to get the win at Newcastle last time out and this will be another tough battle. We lost Manu Tuilagi to a hamstring injury at Newcastle but it’s good to get other guys back and for them to have an opportunity this weekend.”

Tickets for Saturday’s game are still available. Book in person at Welford Road or phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2). The office is open until 5.00pm Friday and from 9.00am on matchday. Or book online any time at www.leicestertigers.com/matchtickets.

Leicester Tigers (v Bristol Bears, Welford Road, Saturday 3.00pm)

15 Clayton Blommetjies

14 Jonny May

13 Matt Smith

12 Matt Toomua

11 Jordan Olowofela

10 George Ford (c)

9 Sam Harrison

1 Ellis Genge

2 Tatafu Polota-Nau

3 Dan Cole

4 Will Spencer

5 Graham Kitchener

6 Mike Fitzgerald

7 Guy Thompson

8 Sione Kalamafoni

 

Replacements

16 Jake Kerr

17 Facundo Gigena

18 Joe Heyes

19 Harry Wells

20 Mike Williams

21 Ben White

22 Sam Aspland-Robinson

23 Telusa Veainu

 

Bristol Bears: 15. Mat Protheroe; 14. Tom Pincus, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Alapati Leiua; 10. Callum Sheedy (co-capt), 9. Andy Uren; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. John Afoa, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steve Luatua (co-capt), 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nick Haining.

Replacements: 16. Nick Fenton-Wells, 17. James Lay, 18. Lewis Thiede, 19. George Smith, 20. Jordan Crane, 21. Harry Randall, 22. Ian Madigan, 23. Siale Piutau.

 

Match preview | Tigers versus Bears

Bristol Bears make only their second visit to Welford Road in a decade as they face Leicester Tigers in Round 20 of the Gallagher Premiership season on Saturday (3.00pm).

The two teams start the weekend with Bristol in ninth place in the table on 41 points and Tigers one place behind on 38. Worcester Warriors sit in 11th place with 37, while Newcastle Falcons remain on 30 points at the foot of the Premiership pile following defeat by Northampton on Friday night.

Since a 32-14 defeat on Tigers turf back in April 2008, the Bears have been to Welford Road only once, losing 50-17 in a Premiership fixture during February 2017. The meeting at the end of the 2008/09 season was played at Leicester City FC during building work at the home of the Tigers.

In team news announced on Friday, Tigers hand a debut to Clayton Blommetjies at full-back and welcome Sione Kalamafoni back from a ban. Telusa Veainu returns from an injury absence and is named among the replacements.

The last meeting of the teams at Welford Road was won by the Tigers, with Veainu among the scorers in that encounter in February 2017, though Bristol turned the tables in the opening contest this season as they triumphed 41-10 at Ashton Gate in a game which saw Tigers centre Kyle Eastmond sent off during the first half.

This weekend, Bristol welcome former Tigers No8 Jordan Crane back into their matchday squad after a hamstring injury and include Harry Thacker at hooker on his first return to Welford Road since leaving his hometown club last summer.

Tigers second-rower Will Spencer is prepared for another big game and says Geordan Murphy’s team are keen to build momentum on the back of a hard-fought victory at Newcastle Falcons in Round 19.

“Momentum is a big thing and we want to keep it going, but at the same time the new stuff we’ve been working on and that extra week of preparation should be good for us,” Spencer said.

“It was probably extremely nerve-wracking for the fans in watching those last few minutes at Newcastle but to win like that was absolutely huge.

“Bristol out-played us down at their place in December and we know how they like to play. They like to hold the ball, they like to throw it, they like to go wide and they like to go through the phases. And, when it works for them, it’s extremely effective.”

The clubs have met on 182 previous occasions with Tigers winning 94 to 79 by Bristol and nine games drawn.

Match referee is Karl Dickson, taking charge of a Premiership fixture for the 18th time.

Tickets are still available from the Tigers ticket office. Book in person, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) (open from 9.00am on matchday) or online.

Turnstiles, bars and food outlets open at 1.30pm. See the matchday guide by clicking here to find out what’s in store throughout the day.

This game is not scheduled for live coverage with BT Sport but, if you are unable to attend, you can keep up to date with all of the action using the Matchday Live service on the Tigers website, mobile website and official app. Or follow the club’s social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
9
Bristol Bears
Bristol BearsBRI229112503580-7755746751
11
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI227015478632-15447815841
Form Guide
Form
LWLLL
Last Match
Lost to Bath Rugby 31-32
Past Meeting
Lost 20-23
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
LWWDW
Last Match
Beat Newcastle Falcons 19-12
Past Meeting
Won 23-20

Matchday Live

Leicester Tigers20
Leicester Tigers
Bristol Bears23
Bristol Bears
Full Time