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Report | Tigers open New Year with bonus-point win

Leicester Tigers earned a bonus-point 31-18 victory over Bristol Bears in Round 8 of the Gallagher Premiership season to kick off the New Year in style at Welford Road on Saturday.

Ellis Genge and Jonny May tries in the opening 20 minutes gave Tigers a 14-6 lead in the day’s early kick-off – played at 1.00pm to accommodate Leicester City’s FA Cup game at 5.30pm – and the club’s opening fixture of the new year.

Then George Ford added a fine third try to stretch the lead to 21-6 before the break as Bears had to cope with successive yellow cards to prop Jordan Lay and wing Alapati Leiua.

Two tries inside two minutes at the start of the second half, though cut the gap to 21-18 as Bears looked for a third successive win over their rivals.

But Tigers stayed in the fight until a second May try created a bit of daylight  with just  four minutes remaining, at which point Sam Harrison  joined the action in his final appearance for the club.

Tigers were on the scoreboard after just three minutes after establishing field position with a scrum.

Big carries from Sione Kalamfoni, Tomas Lavanini and Ellis Genge, coupled with control at the breakdown from scrum-half Youngs, crated a chance and Bristol-born prop Genge forced his way over for a try.

Ford added the conversion from wide on the left to get both players off to a good start in the week they announced new contract agreements with the club.

A promising attack on the left threatened for Bears before Jonny May stepped in to claim ball, but Tigers were penalised just outside their 22 and Sheedy kicked his opening points of the day.

In their next attack Bristol had a three-on-one advantage but lock Ed Holmes carried into contact and, when Telusa Veainu tried to lead a counter-attack, he was felled n contact with prop Jordan Lay. Referee JP Doyle watched a number of replays for the area of contact before showing a yellow card.

Another penalty against Tigers at a breakdown gave Sheedy his second kick at the posts and he cut the gap to one point with 15 minutes played.

A break from May on the right got Tigers going forward and ended with a second Bears yellow card, this time to wing Alapati Leiua as he knocked-on looking to block runners on the left, taking his team down to 13 men.

Although Bristol survived the set-piece when Tigers lost ball on the 22, the hosts quickly made amends as they broke from deep for May to add the second try of the day.

Good lineout ball and a carry from Genge gave Ford space to work in as Tigers released the backline on the right and May ran the final 30 metres to score under the posts. Ford’s conversion made it 14-6 as Lay returned to the field for the visitors.

A turnover from Jordan Taufua gave Tigers precious ball in their own half and released Ben Youngs down the left. Playing with a penalty advantage, May broke free on the right but was tackled just five metres short and just couldn’t find enough support to convert the chance.

The third try did come though, on 26 minutes, when Ford rode through one tackle and raced in on the right. The fly-half added the conversion for a 21-6 lead.

Leiua was back on the field for the restart, bringing the visitors back up to 15 men for the first time since the 10th minute of the game.

They were unlucky to see a clearing kick from Sheedy run dead at the Tigers end, bringing play back for a scrum 35 metres out. But when the set-piece yielded a penalty, Ford pushed his shot wide of the right-hand post

Bristol continued to try to play from deep and, although Harry Wells blocked their progress near halfway, the ball bobbled forward off a Leicester hand and play restarted with a scrum. This time, after good advance from Piutau from deep, Bears knocked-on on the Tigers’ 10-metre line.

The half ended with Bears on the Tigers tryline but meeting repeated phases of staunch defence before spilling ball with the home side heading into the break 21-6 in front.

But two tries in successive minutes at the second half threatened to turn the game on its head.

First, two penalty verdicts put them up to the tryline and from a lineout set, Dan Thomas dotted down. Sheedy added the conversion.

Then fly-half Sheedy broke out as Bears collected the restart and his kick ahead bounced favourably for Piers O’Conor to collect and score in the right-hand corner. Sheedy this time was short with his conversion attempt with the deficit now at just three points.

Home-team hearts would have been fluttering again when Bristol kept ball in attack through a number of phases before Taufua won turnover ball and, as Tigers worked their way upfield, they were awarded a penalty and Ford made no mistake from 40 metres to make it 24-18.

Luke Morahan replaced Hurrell in the Bears backline and almost immediately threatened with a run from deep, only for Veainu to get back and gather his kick ahead.

A dominant scrum against the head brought a Tigers penalty on halfway and Ford took play into the 22 only to see the forward dispossessed as they tried to set up a drive.

Genge earned a big cheer from the home crowd as he was replaced by Greg Bateman around the hour mark and Tigers also added Tatafu Polota-Nau to the front row and he was fingertips away from gathering a grubber kick from Ford in attack.

Nephi Leatigaga also joined the pack as the clock approached the final quarter-hour as Tigers enjoyed a period of pressure in Bears territory.

But when the visitors broke upfield, it took some determined work from Kyle Eastmond in the tackle to halt their progress and just as they gathered momentum.

Bristol then had a penalty on halfway which Sheedy placed down the right touchline and earned another as they set up their maul to take play within five metres of the tryline with just six points between the teams. But Tigers responded by first wrapping up the drive and then earning a penalty of their own as they contested the breakdown.

And then Tigers struck with a superbly worked bonus-point try, stemming from a scrum and involving Jordan Olowofela on a diagonal run before Veainu released May for a smart finish in the right-hand corner.

It was fitting, then, that Harrison should bring the game to a close, hammering ball into the Robin Hood Stand with 80 minutes elapsed and five points earned.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 21-6 BRI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 31-18 BRI

Attendance

19,807

Referee

JP Doyle

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Bristol Bears
Possession
34%
66%
Territory
34%
66%
Penalties Conceded
10
8
Yellow Cards
0
2
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
195/237 82%
92/125 74%
Scrums Won
7/7 100%
4/5 80%
Lineouts Won
8/9 89%
14/14 100%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Bristol Bears
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Telusa Veainu
14Jordan Olowofela
13Jaco Taute
12Kyle Eastmond
11Jonny May2T
10George Ford1T4C1P
9Ben Youngs
1Ellis Genge1T
2Tom Youngs
3Dan Cole
4Tomas Lavanini
5Calum Green
6Harry Wells
7Jordan Taufua
8Sione Kalamafoni
16Tatafu Polota-Nau
17Greg Bateman
18Nephi Leatigaga
19Guy Thompson
20Tommy Reffell
21Sam Harrison
22Noel Reid
23George Worth
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
31

Full Time

Bristol Bears
Bristol Bears
18
Leicester Tigers
T
C
T
C
T
C
P
T
C
KOHTFT
Bristol Bears
P
P
T
C
T

Commentary

80

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

As always, thank you to everyone in the #TigersFamily who showed their support this afternoon, whether you were one of the 19,807 here at Welford Road, or following along with Matchday Live.

See you back here next Sunday, January 12 (3.15pm) as we take on Cardiff Blues in the next round of the European Challenge Cup.

80

NOT A DRY EYE IN THE HOUSE!

A brilliant reception for long-serving scrum-half Sam Harrison, with both teams joining together to mark his contribution to Leicester Football Club.

We're not crying, you're crying. Okay, we might be crying a little bit...

#SeeYaSammy

FULL TIME | 31-18

Tigers claim a bonus-point win in their opening game of 2020, as they see off Bristol Bears in Round 8 of the Gallagher Premiership.

80

TURNOVER!

Tigers win a turnover on the floor in the final play, and Sam Harrison sprints towards touch to boot the ball out of play.

And that's a bonus-point win.

INJURY REPLACEMENT

Piutau is helped from the field, and is replaced by Callum Sheedy.

79

BACK TO THE TMO...

May is penalised for taking Piutau high, but replays on the big screen reassure JP Doyle that it's a penalty only.

78

CROUCH, BIND, SET!

Sam Harrison feeds into a Leicester scrum one last time - maybe - and Kalamafoni comes away with it.

May boots downfield, where Piutau weighs up his options...

77

BRISTOL ROLL THE DICE

Bristol attempt a late surge down the field, but knock on in contact as they enter the Tigers 22. Another huge scrum needed, here!

TWO BRISTOL CHANGES

Callum Sheedy and Harry Thacker take their places in the dugout as they are replaced by Ian Madigan and Will Capon, respectively.

SAMMY'S SWANSONG

Sam Harrison is onto the field. A lovely moment between him and team mate Ben Youngs as he takes over the reins at scrum-half.

Elsewhere, Guy Thompson is on for Tomás Lavanini and Jaco Taute has been replaced by George Worth.

TWO MORE FROM THE TEE

Ford converts the score, to stretch the Tigers lead to 13 points...

BONUS-POINT TRY!

Play opens up from the set piece and Veainu gets the ball out to May for a second score down the right. That's try number four, ladies and gentlemen.

72

FORWARD PASS FOR BRISTOL

Bristol opt not to keep the ball in their maul again - not after last time - and go to the right, but they knock on into touch and Tigers will take a scrum on half way. Just under eight minutes left to play.

71

ENGINE ROOM ENGAGED

The lineout is claimed, swallowed, and then used to great effect as Ford pins Bristol back on to their 22 with another glorious touch-finder. Brilliant!

CENTRE SWAP

Noel Reid replaces Kyle Eastmond at inside centre.

69

BIG SHIFT NEEDED

Bristol have a lineout five metres from the Tigers line, which they win ... but the maul falls apart and Leatigaga gets over the ball to claim the turnover!

67

LEOVEGAS FANS' FAVOURITE

Well, it couldn't be anyone else, could it? He hasn't stepped foot on the field yet, but Sam Harrison has already picked up your LeoVegas Fans' Favourite award for this afternoon.
 

motm-current.png

BEARS REPLACEMENT

Jake Heenan takes the place of Nathan Hughes.

BACK ROW CHANGE

Tommy Reffell replaces Jordan Taufua.

65

BROKEN PLAY

'Oohs' and 'aahs' from all sides at Welford Road as Tigers attempt to close down the Bristol attack, and Geordan Murphy's men win another penalty, this time in their own 22.

After a discussion about the ensjuing lineout, Ford makes great ground with his touch-finder.

LEATIGAGA FOR COLE

Nephi Leatigaga replaces Dan Cole on the Tigers tighthead, and Leicester have an all-new front row.

63

TMO CHECK

Tatafu Polota-Nau seems to be taken off the ball by Nathan Hughes as the hookers goes to gather a cheeky Tigers chip ... but the match officials don't think there's anything in it.

We'll restart with another scrum inside the visitors' 22.

62

STRONG SCRUM!

Bristol are lucky for their scrum to survive long enough to get the ball out the back ... but the kick is out on the full, and Tigers win a lineout on the 22.

BEARS CHANGES

Dave Attwood and Nic Stirzaker are in the game, in place of Chris Vui and Harry Randall, respectively.

CHANGE ON THE HOUR

Ellis Genge is replaced by Greg Bateman in the Tigers front row.

59

STRONG SCRUM!

Another huge shove at scrum-time, but referee Doyle doesn't see scrum-half Youngs nipping round the back with the ball when he blows up for a penalty. Ford will go for the corner.

CHANGE AT HOOKER

Tatafu Polota-Nau joins the action, in place of skipper Youngs.

George Ford now takes the on-foeld captaincy.

57

OPEN PLAY

The lineout is good, but the play off the back is scrappy, and Tigers commit another handling error on halfway to gift Bristol a scrum.

56

MOMENTUM SHIFT

A big roar from the crowd as Tigers win an all-important penalty under the gaze of the Breedon Terrace, and Tom Youngs will have a throw-in on halfway.

55

VEAINU MAKES SAFE

Morahan is into the action immediately, chipping and chasing his own kick to test Telusa Veainu's aerial skills, but the full-back manages to dot down for a 22 restart.

BRISTOL CHANGES

Jordan Lay and Will Hurrell are replaced by Jake Woolmore and Luke Morahan.

SETTLER FROM THE TEE

Ford gets Tigers on the board in this second half with a successful penalty kick. Tigers lead, 24 points to 18.

52

TAP AND GO!

Ben Youngs goes quickly as the Bristol players reset, finds Jonny May and then feeds England team-mate Dan Cole, before Tigers win another breakdown penalty.

This time, Ford opts for a shot at goal.

51

BRISTOL FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS

The Tigers defenders are being called on to put some big hits in, here.

An extended period of Bristol pressure is procluded with a peep on Doyle's whistle, as he picks out a Bears player in at the side.

48

MISSED KICK

The conversion attempt is missed, but Tigers; lead has been cut to three points.

QUICK-FIRE SCORE

Bears break from the restart, and score a second try within two minutes as Piers O'Conor gathers a hack down field.

CONVERSION ADDED

Sheedy adds two more from the tee, with a curling kick between the posts.

BEARS MAUL OVER

The Bears set up a lineout drive and crash over through Dan Thomas. Doyle checks with his TMO before awarding the try.

44

PENALTY AGAINST TAUFUA

Taufua and May combine in front of the dugouts to snuff out the Piutau threat, but JP Doyle penalises the back-rower for a tip.

Just a penalty, though, and Bristol will kick down field.

43

OLOWOFELA CLEARS UP

Tigers' first job in this second half is to weather a storm of Bears attack, with the Leicester line standing strong, and Jordan Olowofela pouncing on a loose kick through. Tight.

SECOND HALF UNDERWAY

Callum Sheedy gets the second half going at Welford Road.

40

MATCH SNAP | GENGE'S BOOTS

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee ... charge like a Baby Rhino?

A tribute to a sporting legend on try-scorer Ellis Genge's boots this afternoon.
 

GettyImages-1197471274.jpg

HALF TIME | 21-6

Three tries and an impressive defensive display put Tigers up at the break in their first game of the New Year.

40

GRITTY DEFENCE

Bristol win advantage and tap-and-go through Charles Piutau. They try and rumble up to the line with one-out runners, but the Tigers defenders - to a man - hold strong under immense pressure. Turnover. Half time. Nice!

40

KICK TO CORNER

With the clock well into the red in this first period, Bristol work through the phases and win a penalty on the far side. They'll have an attacking lineout with the final play of the half.

39

SLICK WORK

Tigers work a gap down the left off the back of their scrum, with Veainu and Olowofela working in perfect harmony, right up until the final offload, which the full-back can't quite cling on to.

A nice idea, though - and the noise from the Welford Road faithful would suggest the crowd agree.

37

EARLY PUSH

Meanwhile, back in the action ... and we've got another reset scrum, this time for an early push. Boris looks on, unmoved.

36

SAMMY WAVES TO THE CROWD

Meanwhile, as we reset for another scrum, Sam Harrison acknowledges the Breedon Terrace as he jogs down to the dead-ball area to get some warmth into his legs.

36

TENSIONS TO THE BOIL

The visitors win posession off the back of their scrum, but once again can't find a way through the green, white and red shirts.

Scrum-half Harry Randall commits another handling error on the floor, and while tensions haven't quite boiled over yet, the kicked-away boil after the whistle is a sign that all is not happy in the Bristol camp at the moment.

35

SCRUM ON HALFWAY

Bristol catch the home side napping at the 22 restart and make some metres up field, but it gets messy on halfway, where there are two knock ons in quick succession.

Doyle calls the mark for another scrum.

33

PENALTY MISSED

Ford's kick looks good from the tee, but it drifts just wide of the mark.

31

TAKE THREE?

The reset is, ahem, reset. Third time lucky? You bet.

Tigers win the penalty at the third scrum, and Ford opts for the posts after a discussion with captain Tom Youngs.

30

HEEEAVE!

More of an even contest at the push this time, and Sione Kalamafoni comes away with possession but is wrapped up in Bristol arms. The ball is lost, but the Bears knock on ... so we'll scrum down again.

29

DEAD BALL!

Bristol choose the aerial route once more, but this one rolls all the way through the in-goal area and goes dead.

Time for another Tigers scrum, beyond halfway.

EXTRAS ADDED

Ford converts his own try, and Tigers lead by 21 points to six.

TRY NUMBER THREE!

Tigers bang on the door ... and they're through! A delicious offload from Jaco Taute sets up a run of play that sees George Ford over for a thrid try of the afternoon.

25

ON THE LINE!

Bears No8 Nathan Highes is forced into digging the ball out of a retreating scrum, as Tigers get another strong nudge on at the set piece.

The visitors manage to kick clear, but Tigers still have them pinned in their 22.

24

SCRUM RESTART

We'll restart with a Bristol scrum in front of their own posts.

24

FRANTIC FOUR MINUTES

There's been real back-and-forth between the two teams over the last four minutes, with Bristol repeatedly warned for offside and May making another trademark burst up the field.

Tigers are up in the visitors' 22, in front of The Robin Hood Stand, before referee JP Doyle calls for a pause as a Bristol player receives treatment on the floor.

QUICK CONVERSION

Ford adds the extras well within his allotted time, and Tigers extend their lead at Welford Road.

MAY DOTS DOWN!

WOW! What a score. Tigers set from a lineout drive in their own half, and feed the backs via Ford, Eastmond ... out to Veainu ... and Jonny May beats the final defender!

YELLOW CARD | ALAPATI LEIUA

Bristol are down to 13 players as left wing Leiua knocks on.

17

CUT TO RIBBONS!

Jonny May finds an open door on the right-hand side of the field as he cuts the Bristol defence to shreds, and as the ball is shipped back to the left Alapati Leiua deliberately slaps the ball down. He'll receive a yellow card.

PROP SWAP

John Afoa is replaced by No18 Max Lahiff in the Bristol front row.

BEARS CLOSE THE GAP

Sheedy delivers another three points from the tee, taking the score to seven points to six with a quarter of an hour plaeyd.

14

KIWIS COMBINE

But, after winning a penalty in their quarter of the field, Bristol push back up in Tigers' half through their New Zealand forwards - skipper Steven Luatua combining with Chris Vui.

Dan Cole's tackle on the back-rower is checked by the TMO, but there's nothing in it. Instead, the Bears have another penalty attempt on the far side of the field.

11

KICK RETURN

Both sides look to the sky for the next few phases of attack, first through Leicester fly-half Ford and then through Bears full-back Charles Piutau.

Jordan Olowofela does a great job of competing for the ball, and it bobbles into the Bristol 22 as the visitors rush back to recover possession.

YELLOW CARD | JORDAN LAY

...and the decision is 10 minutes in the bin. Bristol down to 14 men.

9

VEAINU DOWNED IN ATTACK

The Leicester ranks close in on another Bristol attack, but a Toby Fricker dab-through is gobbled up by Tigers full-back Telusa Veainu.

The Tonga international looks to run it back up the field, but he is downed by an iffy-looking collision with Bristol prop Jordan Lay. We'll look to TMO Nigel Carrick to see if there's anything in this...

PENALTY FOR BRISTOL

Callum Sheedy notches up three points with an opening penalty, and the visitors are back within four.

5

BRISTOL RESPOND

The Bears string together some phases of possession from the restart, and break down the left, but the final pass is neatly intercepted by Jonny May.

Tigers give away a penalty on the floor, though, and so Bristol will have a chance from the tee.

STRAIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE

Genge's try is converted by Ford, for a seven-point lead.

TIGERS OFF THE MARK!

Tigers start at a furious pace, with Sione Kalamafoni leading a barrage of heavy carries off the back of a scrum, with Ellis Genge crashing over to open the scoring against his former employers.

KICK-OFF IN 2020

George Ford puts boot to ball and gets Tigers going in the New Year. Round 8 of the Gallagher Prmeiership is GO!

0

DOWN THE TUNNEL

Both teams take to the field for this earlier-than-usual kick-off in Round 8 of the Gallagher Premiership. Moments to go.

Come on, Tigers!

0

FIVE MINUTES TO GO

Just five minutes to go until kick-off here at Welford Road, and for the final time, Sam Harrison runs through his match preparations.
 

Sam Harrison Warm-Up Bristol 040120.jpg

0

CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS

Sam Harrison is included in a Leicester matchday squad for the final time this afternoon, and is in line for his 178th appearance in the famous green, white and red shirt.

He closes more than a decade in the Tigers senior squad, after making his first-team debut as a teenager in the win over Italian side Treviso in the European Cup during 2008/09.

Elsewhere, Jordan Olowofela – who returns from injury – and Harry Wells are the only changes to the team that started against Harlequins last time out.

Greg Bateman and Guy Thompson also take their place among the replacements after recovering from injury.

Bristol include Tigers Academy graduates Harry Thacker and Will Hurrell in the starting XV, captained by former All Black flanker Steven Luatua.

See the full match line-ups by clicking here, or scrolling down on this page.

0

EXCLUSIVE | WORTH PICKS OUT BRISTOL THREATS

While Geordan Murphy’s men will be focused on getting their own game right in this afternoon’s fixture, they must also be wary of the threats posed by a high-flying Bears side, according to full-back George Worth.

In an exclusive chat for Matchday Live users, the 23-year-old – named among the replacements in Round 8 – said: “They’ll play from deep, they’ll try and get the ball into Charles Piutau’s hands as much as possible, they’ll try and get the ball into Nathan Hughes’ hands as much as possible, and they’d be silly not to, because they’re very good players.

“We’ll try and do the same with our attack, try and get the ball into our best players’ hands, and see what happens.

“You want to solve [their game] with the frontline as much as you can. If they’re going width to width, then we obviously have to get our spacings right and work hard with the boys in and around you.

“They lost last weekend and we’re starting to get some momentum. We had a good 40 minutes against Exeter and then a draw at Twickenham, so if we can get a win this week, that stands us in good stead for two European games.”

0

TAUFUA LOOKS FOR COMPLETE PERFORMANCE

High-profile summer signing Jordan Taufua has scored two tries in his last two games – including a first at Welford Road against Exeter – and says his team must focus on delivering an 80-minute performance this afternoon.

“We need to make sure that we finish the way we start,” he told LeicesterTigers.com. “We haven’t put a full 80-minute performance together as a whole and we know that, so for us it’s just going out there, getting our stuff right and playing our game for 80 minutes.

“I haven’t played Bristol before, so it’ll be my first time facing them this weekend.

“We’ve definitely identified their key players – which they’ve got all across the field – but it’s about us getting our stuff right in both attack and defence, making sure that we nail what we want to do and everything else will take care of itself.”

Read the back-rower’s full preview of this Round 8 match, right here.

0

MATCH PREVIEW | TIGERS VERSUS BEARS

Tigers kick off the New Year – and a new decade – at Welford Road this afternoon, against Bristol Bears in Round 8 of the Gallagher Premiership.

These two clubs have met on 183 previous occasions, with Tigers ahead 94-84 on the win count (and nine games drawn), though Pat Lam’s side took the spoils in both league meetings last season.

Head coach Geordan Murphy said earlier this week: “We’ll give Bristol the respect they’re due, they’ve been top of the Premiership already this season.

“They lost at the death last week [at home to Wasps] and that was painful for them, but we have full respect for what they’ve done and the players they have while also trying to play our own game.”

The match also marks the final appearance of long-serving scrum-half Sam Harrison, ahead of a move for him and his family to Australia … but more on him later!

Read our full match preview here, or scroll down on this page.

0

WELCOME TO MATCHDAY LIVE!

We’re LIVE from Welford Road for Leicester Tigers’ first game of 2020, against Bristol Bears, with kick-off to come at 3.00pm.

Follow all the action as it happens with our Matchday Live coverage, right here on the Tigers App and LeicesterTigers.com.


Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Charles Piutau
14
Toby Fricker
13
Piers O'Conor
12
Will Hurrell
11
Alapati Leiua
10
Callum Sheedy
9
Harry Randall
1
Jordan Lay
2
Harry Thacker
3
John Afoa
4
Ed Holmes
5
Chris Vui
6
Steven Luatua
7
Daniel Thomas
8
Nathan Hughes

Subs

16
Will Capon
17
Jake Woolmore
18
Max Lahiff
19
Dave Attwood
20
Jake Heenan
21
Nic Stirzaker
22
Ian Madigan
23
Luke Morahan

Preview | Tigers versus the Bears

Leicester Tigers kick off a New Year at Welford Road with the visit from Bristol Bears in an early afternoon fixture in the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday (1.00pm).

The clubs have met on 183 previous occasions, with Tigers ahead 94-84 on the win count with nine games drawn.

Bristol won both meetings in the league last season, winning for only a second time since 1987 at Welford Road when they took the honours in Round 20 during April.

Previewing this weekend’s Round 8 fixture, Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy said: “You try to take the positives from every performance. I felt we played well against Exeter and we wanted to build on that against Harlequins last week. At times we were sloppy, but it was nice to stay in it and get something out of that in the end.

“There are a lot of games to come and just have to keep getting better. We’ll give Bristol the respect they’re due, they’ve been top of the Premiership already this season. They lost at the death last week and that was painful for them but we have full respect for what they’ve done and the players they have while also trying to play our own game.”

In team news released on Friday, Tigers bring Jordan Olowofela into the backline on his recovery from injury and Sam Harrison is in line for his final Welford Road appearance after a decade in the first-team squad.

Bristol boss Pat Lam includes former Tigers front-rower Harry Thacker and calls up Will Hurrell, another Tigers Academy graduate, into the backline among the changes since a Round 7 defeat to Wasps.

Director of rugby Lam said: “Leicester are getting stronger every game, all of their big players are stepping up and is a tough place to go to.

“To have a chance of winning away at Leicester, the quality of your preparation and training week is vital. Selection has been heavily influenced by those who have been able to train fully during the week and we’re excited by the challenge we face.”

Referee on Sunday is JP Doyle, one of the Premiership’s most experienced officials, who takes charge of a top-flight fixture for the 176th time.

Match tickets are available now at the Tigers ticket office. Book in person from 9.00am on Saturday, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or online any time.

See our matchday guide to help you get the most from your time at Welford Road.

Kick-off has been brought forward to 1.00pm due to a clash with Leicester City who have an FA Cup fixture against Wigan Athletic at 5.31pm. Supporters should be aware of heavier traffic than normal in the area of the stadium during the afternoon. Click here for more traffic and travel details including the Tigers matchday bus service timetable.

Team news | Tigers versus Bristol Bears

Jordan Olowofela returns from injury and Sam Harrison is included in the matchday squad for a final time as Leicester Tigers host Bristol Bears at Welford Road on Saturday (1.00pm).

Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy names Olowofela on the wing and includes Harry Wells in the back row as the only changes to the team that started against Harlequins at Twickenham last weekend.

Sam Lewis, who started against Quins, misses out due to illness as Tigers go into Round 8 of the Gallagher Premiership season.

Scrum-half Harrison, who made his club debut in January 2009 and has now made 177 appearances for the club, is named among the replacements on his final matchday with the club before his departure for a new life in Australia.

Greg Bateman and Guy Thompson return from injury and have a place on the bench.

Will Spencer and Manu Tuilagi, who both missed the game against Quins, sit out again with injury.

Head coach Geordan Murphy said: “Jordan Olowofela had a really strong pre-season and it’s good to have him back on the field.

“Sam Harrison came through the academy and playing for Leicester means everything to him. It will be sad when he leaves Welford Road for the last time. He gives everything he has. He’s a real character around the group, he’s always positive and we will miss him.”

Leicester Tigers (v Bristol Bears, Welford Road, Saturday 1.00pm)

15 Telusa Veainu

14 Jordan Olowofela

13 Jaco Taute

12 Kyle Eastmond

11 Jonny May

10 George Ford

9 Ben Youngs

1 Ellis Genge

2 Tom Youngs (c)

3 Dan Cole

4 Tomás Lavanini

5 Calum Green

6 Harry Wells

7 Jordan Taufua

8 Sione Kalamafoni

Replacements

16 Tatafu Polota-Nau

17 Greg Bateman

18 Nephi Leatigaga

19 Guy Thompson

20 Tommy Reffell

21 Sam Harrison

22 Noel Reid

23 George Worth

Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau; 14 Toby Fricker, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Will Hurrell, 11 Alapati Leiua; 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall; 1 Jordan Lay, 2 Harry Thacker, 3 John Afoa, 4 Chris Vui, 5 Ed Holmes, 6 Steven Luatua (c), 7 Dan Thomas, 8 Nathan Hughes.
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Nic Stirzaker, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Luke Morahan

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
5
Bristol Bears
Bristol BearsBRI8314175196-2120232218
11
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI8215149212-6315251011
Form Guide
Form
LDWWL
Last Match
Lost to Pau 17-24
Past Meeting
Won 31-18
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
LLLWD
Last Match
Draw with Zebre Rugby 7-7
Past Meeting
Lost 18-31

Matchday Live

Leicester Tigers31
Leicester Tigers
Bristol Bears18
Bristol Bears
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