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Late try secures bonus-point victory

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New signing Maxime Mermoz scored a last-minute pushover try to give Leicester Tigers a crucial 34-9 bonus-point victory over Gloucester Rugby on Saturday afternoon.

The France international, on his home debut, finished off 13-man a lineout drive to score his first try in Tigers’ colours.
 
It gave Tigers their fourth try of a satisfying Aviva Premiership victory at Welford Road, and with it a bonus point.
 
Luke Hamilton got the ball rolling with an early score before a penalty try at scum time yielded the second. But Tigers had to wait until the last 10 minutes of a frustrating second-half before Adam Thompstone scooted over for his sixth try of the season and Mermoz’s late score set the seal on the win.
 
Ed Slater returned from a two-week suspension to make his 100th appearance for Tigers in Premiership Rugby. Michele Rizzo started his first Aviva Premiership fixture of the season and he is joined in the front row by club captain Tom Youngs and South Africa international Pat Cilliers.

Brendon O'Connor started in the back row alongside Mike Fitzgerald and Luke Hamilton. The replacements included internationals Maxime Mermoz and Ellis Genge, plus England squad member Mike Williams and Wales squad man Owen Williams.
 
Tigers got off to the perfect start with a try inside four minutes. Jack Roberts ran a lovely line onto Hamilton’s inside pass to create the opportunity before Hamilton rejoined the attack to score from close range. It was the No8’s second try in as many games and was converted by Burns to give Tigers a 7-0 advantage.
 
Sione Kalamafoni, the Gloucester No8, was hurt in the build-up to the try and was replaced by Matt Kvesic.
 
Gloucester responded with points from their first attack of the game. Brendon O’Connor was pinged after stealing possession at a ruck and Billy Burns kicked the penalty.
 
Billy Burns’s high-tackle on older brother Freddie gave Tigers a penalty advantage 40m out. Burns attempted a trademark chip over the defence but Willi Heinz was alert to the danger. Play came back for the penalty and Freddie Burns restored Leicester’s seven-point advantage.
 
Freddie Burns took a bang in a tackle on Billy Twelvetrees which forced him from the field. He was replaced by Owen Williams.
 
Kvesic drew a penalty off Hamilton as the Tigers man was whistled for holding on. But Twelvetrees, the ex-Tigers centre, was wide with his kick from halfway.
 
A clever chip by Williams took Tigers back on to the attack and was collected by Tait, despite a hint of obstruction by Twelvetrees. Slater continued the charge before Tom Brady was held up as he tried to touch down in the left corner.
 
Tigers had Gloucester under all sorts of pressure at the resulting scrum and, just as Hamilton was set to dot down, referee Ian Tempest went under the posts for the penalty try. Williams converted to give Tigers a 17-3 lead after 25 minutes.
 
The Tigers pack really turned the screw on their opposite eight and marched them back at a maul on the Gloucester 22. Jono Kitto sniped down the side and past last-man Tom Marshall to dot down. However, referee Tempest reviewed the try with his TMO and disallowed it for an obstruction by Hamilton.
 
At the other end, Tait was alert to Burns’s kick through into the in-goal area aimed for Henry Purdy and slid in to concede a 5m scrum.
 
Tigers weathered the storm at the scrum and then successive lineouts, and eventually forced John Afoa into touch as the tighthead broke down the narrow side of a maul.
 
Gloucester should have scored, though, when Tom Savage burst onto Heinz’s pass 15m out. He broke the Leicester line but Kitto got back to tackle. Pressure at the next phase then forced the knock-on with Gloucester wasting a two-man overlap.
 
Instead, Tigers ended the half on the attack as Slater and Brady took them back into the Gloucester 22. There the forwards secured possession for Williams to knock over a drop goal with the last kick of the half.
 
It gave Tigers a 20-3 lead at the break.
 
Gloucester scored the first points of the second half, 90 seconds after the restart. Matt Smith was pinged at a ruck and Burns landed a simple penalty to cut the Leicester lead to 20-6.
 
Mermoz was introduced for his home debut with 30 minutes remaining. The French international replaced Smith.
 
Tigers were unable to get going at the start of the second half and began to get on the wrong side of referee Tempest at the breakdown. On two occasions Tigers fans thought O’Connor should have won holding-on penalties, instead the hosts were pinged for not rolling. On the second occasion, Burns landed his third penalty to cut Tigers’ lead to 20-9.
 
It was a disjointed second half, not helped by lots of stoppages. When Tigers did get field position with a penalty lineout in the Gloucester 22 George McGuigan, the replacement hooker, was off target with his throw.
 
Tigers returned to the 22 for another penalty lineout with 15 minutes remaining. Mike Williams, on as a back-row replacement, gathered possession but Gloucester defended the drive to overturn possession.
 
Tigers swooped on a knock-on on their 22 to launch a counterattack down the right. Thompstone chipped into the Gloucester 22 where Charlie Sharples mopped up before knocking on under a heavy tackle.

Leicester’s scrum laid a solid foundation from which to attack. Tigers were patient, retained possession before Thompstone exploited a huge hole left by Sharples racing up to score on the left. Williams converted to put Tigers 27-9 ahead.
 
It gave Tigers six minutes to secure the try bonus point. But the closing stages, as with much of the second period, were bogged down in stoppages and reset scrums.
 
Tigers had one last chance with a penalty lineout 8m out with 15 seconds remaining. Slater set up the maul and with the Tigers pack controlling possession and the drive, the backs joined in. And it was Mermoz who was driven over for the bonus-point try.
 

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 20-3 GLO

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 34-9 GLO

Attendance

20,918

Referee

Ian Tempest

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Gloucester Rugby
Possession
100%
0%
Penalties Conceded
10
14
Yellow Cards
0
0
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
88/98 90%
153/169 91%
Scrums Won
7/7 0%
6/7 14%
Lineouts Won
17/17 100%
13/13 100%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Gloucester Rugby
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15
141T
13
12
11
101C1P
9Jono Kitto
1Michele Rizzo
2Tom Youngs
3
4Ed Slater
5
6
7
81T
16George McGuigan
17Ellis Genge
18Greg Bateman
19Mike Williams
20Harry Thacker
21
223C1D
231T
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
34

Full Time

Gloucester Rugby
Gloucester Rugby
9

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
14
Charlie Sharples
13
12
Billy Twelvetrees
11
Henry Purdy
10
Billy Burns
9
Willi Heinz
1
2
Richard Hibbard
3
John Afoa
4
5
6
Lewis Ludlow
7
Jacob Rowan
8
Sione Kalamafoni

Subs

16
Motu Matu'u
17
Yann Thomas
18
Salesi Ma'afu
19
Mariano Galarza
20
Matt Kvesic
21
Callum Braley
22
23
Matt Scott
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
4
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI22140856744512258486466
9
Gloucester Rugby
Gloucester RugbyGLO227213533537-461646846
Form Guide
Form
WDWDD
Last Match
Draw with Bayonne null-null
Past Meeting
Won 38-15
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
WLLLL
Last Match
Lost to Newcastle Falcons 10-22
Past Meeting
Lost 15-38

Matchday Live

Leicester Tigers34
Leicester Tigers
Gloucester Rugby9
Gloucester Rugby
Full Time