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Tigers win after first-half blast

Leicester Tigers scored three tries in a 24-10 victory over Gloucester Rugby at Welford Road on Saturday to claim a first win of the Aviva Premiership season.

Two tries from scrum-half Ben Youngs in the opening 15 minutes gave Tigers early momentum and then Nick Malouf, with a powerful finish on the right, added his first score in English rugby, with George Ford converting all three for a 21-point cushion with just over 20 minutes played.

There was no addition to the score by half-time and the second period began with 10 points from the visitors to give them hope.

A Ford penalty gave Tigers a 24-10 advantage around the hour but they also had to dig deep in defence as the visitors continued to fight for a share of the points.

With Dom Barrow and Graham Kitchener joining Mike Fitzgerald on the injured list, Tigers gave a first Premiership appearance to academy graduate Joe Maksymiw, with Mike Williams starting a game for the first time this season. Tonga international Valentino Mapapalangi was included in the 23 for the first time after playing in the opening two games of the Premiership ‘A’ League campaign.

Ed Slater making a first return to the club he left in the summer, though Owen Williams and Fraser Balmain were both among the Gloucester injury lost which also claimed Billy Burns on the day of the game, with another ex-Tiger, Billy Twelvetrees, moving to fly-half.

Tigers kicked off towards the Robin Hood Stand End and had Gloucester pinned on the edge of their 22 for the opening 10 minutes with Maksymiw, Matt Smith and Telusa Veainu making important advances.

Possession was finally rewarded when Tigers were awarded a penalty in front of the posts with nine minutes gone and, with the defence bracing themselves for a kick, scrum-half Youngs went for a tap and  burst through to score. Ford added the conversion for a seven-point lead.

There was an immediate scare when Tigers first of all won turnover ball near their own line and then lost it again, only to gain respite when Gloucester were forced into an error five metres out.

A fierce tackle from Matt Toomua on Henry Trinder got Tigers back on the front foot 25 metres out and led to a second try for Youngs.

Ford chipped to the corner and with Sione Kalamafoni claiming ball at the front and Luke Hamilton steering the drive for the line, when the drive went to ground, Youngs showed his sharpness by diving in to score in the corner. Ford guided a perfect kick over from the touchline to stretch the lead to 14 points.

A third came as the clock reached the 20-minute mark and showed the T8gers backline at its best, with Veainu drifting across a tackler and, as he picked up speed on the eight, Malouf took play on, showing pace and then power to finish.

Impressive counter-rucking from Tigers had the home crowd cheering in admiration moments later, with Slater in possession on the floor but Ellis Genge and Harry Wells leading the work over the ball. Referee Maxwell-Keys gave Tigers the penalty and the home side were quickly on the front foot, first with Veainu and then Hamilton just metres from the tryline on the right.

Another penalty followed as Tigers kept the pressure on, but this time Gloucester gained a penalty – their first of the game – as they closed quickly on the carrier.

Ollie Thorley and Lewis Ludlow threatened a break for Gloucester down their left, but Matt Smith made a timely intervention, ripping possession from Henry Trinder just five metres from his own tryline.

Wells showed his defensive strength again as Charlie Sharples tried to break out of the Gloucester half, with the Tigers lock proving immovable at the breakdown and gaining a penalty award. Mathew Tait entered the action as a head injury assessment replacement for Toomua as Ford kicked ball down to the left-hand corner, but ball was lost at the lineout and Trinder cleared beyond halfway.

Tigers quickly turned defence into attack as half-time approached, with Veainu stripping ball and making the break, assisted by May. The support managed to keep the ball alive and, even when possession was lost, Tigers were able to come back to a penalty mark for offside 20 metres out.

Ford turned down a shot at the posts but Tigers struggled to claim ball at the lineout and missed an opportunity to push for the bonus point.

Toomua did not come back out for the second half and Tigers almost immediately found themselves under their own posts as prop Josh Hohneck latched on to a lateral run from Willi Heinz and scored. Twelvetrees converted to cut the deficit to two scores.

Mapapalangi made his Premiership bow as the game restarted with young lock Maksymiw hurt in the build-up.

A turnover from Genge near halfway provided impetus for Tigers, though they were unable to finish as Veanu and Hamilton took play almost to the line. In the build-up there was an ugly clash of heads between two defenders which left Trinder on the ground and requiring treatment.

A break from Jason Woodward looked promising again for Gloucester, but even as Tigers closed in to defend, the visitors had the consolation of a penalty in front of the posts, with Twelvetrees knocking over the kick.

The game opened up as Veainu and Smith combined on the left, Smith chipped over the Gloucester defence, and then Sharples threatened for the visitors.  Genge and Williams also made impressive charges into the heart of the visitors’ defence without Tigers managing to get the scoreboard ticking again.

Tigers again turned down a kick to goal with a penalty on the hour mark, but Slater got his palm to the ball as Gloucester cleared again.

A superb turnover from Tait, ripping possession in the tackle, looked like providing a perfect chance for Tigers to score. But, even when Thorley palmed the ball forwards in the defensive line, the referee came back for a previous offside and Ford kicked the three=pointer for the Tigers’ first points in 40-odd minutes.

Tigers survived a major scare as Matt Scott almost reached the tryline, but Tait relived the pressure as he scrambled to the loose ball first.

Gloucester kept going with a penalty into the left corner and, despite setting up the drive, work from Wells and Harry Thacker closed the door.

Mapapalangi made his presence felt as a ball-carrier as the game continued at a breathless pace, though he was also needed in defence as Gloucester enjoyed the better territory and possession.

Finally, a penalty gave Tigers the opportunity to get back down to the other end of the pitch, the clock ticking into the final seven minutes. And it looked like it would provide the decisive breakthrough as Mapapalangi charged on to ball from Ford, only to see it bounce out of his hands with the defence scattered.

The final minutes were played out on the Gloucester line, with a driving maul from the left stopped fractions short and then Tigers returning to the attack on the opposite flank as they chased a bonus-point score.

But Gloucester again broke out before the game finally came to a close with four points banked.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 21-0 GLO

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 24-10 GLO

Attendance

20,008

Referee

Craig Maxwell-keys

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Gloucester Rugby
Possession
54%
46%
Territory
58%
42%
Penalties Conceded
8
17
Yellow Cards
0
0
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
146/180 81%
173/196 88%
Scrums Won
8/9 89%
4/5 80%
Lineouts Won
14/19 74%
12/12 100%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Gloucester Rugby
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Telusa Veainu
14Nick Malouf1T
13Matt Smith
12Matt Toomua
11Jonny May
10George Ford3C1P
9Ben Youngs2T
1Ellis Genge
2Tom Youngs
3Dan Cole
4Harry Wells
5Joe Maksymiw
6Mike Williams
7Luke Hamilton
8Sione Kalamafoni
16Harry Thacker
17Greg Bateman
18Logovi'i Mulipola
19Valentino Mapapalangi
20
21Sam Harrison
22Joe Ford
23Mathew Tait
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
24

Full Time

Gloucester Rugby
Gloucester Rugby
10
Leicester Tigers
T
C
T
C
T
C
P
KOHTFT
Gloucester Rugby
T
C
P

Commentary

86

Man of the match

Mike Williams is named man-of-the-match by the BT Sport commentators

Full-time

Tigers claim their first win of the season, scoring three first-half tries in a 24-10 victory over Gloucester Rugby

80

One last chance

Tigers have one last chance for the bonus point with a lineout, but Gloucester overturn possession and break

79

Tigers turned over

The lineout goes well, but Bateman is isolated under the posts and stripped of possession 

78

Last-minute lineout

... Gloucester concede a penalty as Tigers pile forward, and Ford goes to the corner

77

Huge scrum

Great work by Harry Thacker forces Gloucester to touch down in-goal and gives Tigers the scrum put-in ...

74

Knock-on

Mapapalangi breaks the Gloucester line but cannot cling onto the ball with the visitors' defence opening up

Welford Road rises again

Welford Road rises to acclaim the performances of two-try scrum-half Ben Youngs and prop Ellis Genge as they are replaced by Sam Harrison and Greg Bateman

69

Crumbie Stand rises

The Tigers fans in the Crumbie Stand applaud a decision from the referee to award a forward pass against Jacob Rowan 

68

Good lineout defence

Tigers sack the lineout drive and then win the penalty as Val Rapava Ruskin gets isolated

67

Defensive lineout

Tigers turn to defend a lineout close to their line as the game heads into the closing stages ...

Ford extends the lead

... instead play comes back for an earlier penalty and Ford nudges Tigers 14 points ahead

63

Gloucester survive

Ollie Thorley's hands go to his head as he knocks-on deliberately and prevents a try-scoring opportunity. But amazingly no yellow from referee Craig Maxwell-Keys ...

60

Tigers turned over

... but Tigers are turned over at the lineout and Gloucester clear to their 10m line

60

Tigers to the corner

Ford kicks a penalty to the corner as Tigers go for the bonus try ...

55

Hit the pin

Twelvetrees hits the corner flag with a penalty and the ball stays infield. May clears

53

Sharp from Sharples

Charlie Sharples does well to reach the bouncing ball on his line ahead of Malouf after Ben Youngs's chip through. The pace is unrelenting

51

Helter skelter

The game is going from end-to-end as Tigers and Gloucester go hammer and tongues. And the Welford Road faithful are unhappy that a high tackle on Genge goes unpunished

Gloucester penalty

A high tackle by Wells presents Twelvetrees with a simple penalty to cut Tigers' lead to 11 points

46

Trinder takes a bang

Applause all round Welford Road as Henry Trinder gets up from a horrible clash of heads with his teammate Matt Scott 

46

Tigers respond well

Jonny May gets Tigers back on the attack, Veainu goes to within 5m where he gets pinged for holding on

One debutant replaces another

Valentino Mapapalangi replaces Joe Maksymiw for his Tigers debut 

Twelvetrees converts

Billy Twelvetrees adds the extras for Gloucester

Gloucester fly out of the blocks

Gloucester make a flying start to the second half, prop Josh Hohneck flies onto Willi Heinz's pass to score under the posts

40

We're back underway

Former Tiger Billy Twelvetrees gets the second half under way. Tigers attacking the Mattioli Woods Stand end 

40

The teams are back out

Tigers and Gloucester are back out at Welford Road for the second half 

Excellent first 40

A cracking first 40 for the Tigers who lead 21-0 at the break after a brace for Ben Youngs and a try for Nick Malouf. Ford with a 100 per cent from the tee

38

Tag team tackle

Matt Smith and Nick Malouf team up to drive Matt Scott into touch. Cracking stuff

36

Tigers lose it at the lineout

Tigers going for the jugular with a lineout 5m out. But Wells cannot gather the ball and Gloucester clear

36

Tigers on the hoof

Lovely play by Veainu and May on the break take Tigers 60m up the field, where they win yet another penalty

33

Another penalty against Gloucester

Harry Wells making his presence felt with good work in the tackle on Matt Scott and he wins the penalty. Ford kicks Tigers into the 22

31

Scrum penalty

The penalties are mounting up against Gloucester. The count is up to eight, with a first in the scrum. Ford clears up to halfway

28

Tigerish defence

Gloucester threaten for the first time in the game, but Matt Smith strips Trinder of possession in the tackle

26

Tigers pinged in the A zone

The Tigers pressure ends with a penalty against Mike Williams for holding on, the first penalty against Tigers this half so far

25

It's all Tigers

Veainu goes close to the bonus try but Tigers have the penalty. And Ford goes again. This time Toomua stopped just short ...

25

See you Slater!

Dan Cole welcomes former teammate Ed Slater back to Welford Road with a brilliant tackle before his fellow forwards drive over to win the holding-on penalty

Ford lands a tester

George Ford extends Tigers' lead to 21 points with the conversion from wide out on the right

21

More on Malouf's try

Veainu's outside line takes him past Ollie Thorley, he finds Malouf who steps off his wing to power over

What a stunning try!

Tigers are flying with a third try in 21 minutes, and it's Nick Malouf with his first for the club

20

Opposites attract

Ed Slater, who moved to Gloucester in the summer, hits Jonny May, who moved in the opposite direction, with a huge tackle in midfield

18

Scrum holds firm

Tigers consolidate their position by earning a free-kick at a Gloucester put-in 20m from their line. Ford kicks into Gloucester territory

Ford adds the extras

George Ford converts his England and Tigers teammate's try to give Tigers a 14-0 lead

It's a try!

The decision to go for the corner pays off. Tigers drove over and Ben Youngs nips in at the corner for his second score!

15

Is Youngs in for a second try?

Kalamafoni sets up the drive, and Ben Youngs finishes. Ref has gone to the TMO

14

What a tackle!

Matt Toomua with another huge tackle on Trinder. Trinder is pinged for holding on and Ford goes to the corner

13

Another Tigers turnover

Tigers are at it this afternoon, Tom Youngs turning over possession 5m out and then winning the penalty

12

Turnover ball

Tigers defend their 22 well, keeping Gloucester at arm's length before turning over possession

George Ford adds the conversion to move Tigers 7-0 ahead

8

More on the try

Genge had won a penalty bang in front after being held in the tackle, but Youngs had other ideas, tapping and going to score under the posts

Try time for Tigers

Ben Youngs catches the whole of Welford Road napping with a quickly-taken penalty ...

6

Tigers on the attack

Patient play from the Tigers ends with Matt Smith angling a kick into the corner that evades Jonny May into touch

4

Stanko on the prowl

Scrum coach Boris Stankovich prowling the touchline as the first scrum is set 

3

Knock-on central

A scrappy passage of play as Ellis Genge and then Charlie Sharples knock-on in quick succession ... scrum put-in to Tigers

2

Huge hit

Matt Toomua welcomes Henry Trinder to Welford Road with a huge hit in midfield

2

Maksymiw on debut

Good introduction to Premiership Rugby by Joe Maksymiw, hitting a couple of early rucks on his debut

We're off

George Ford gets the game underway with Tigers attacking the Robin Hood Stand 

0

Smoke on the Water

The familiar riff from Smoke on the Water strikes up as Tom Youngs leads out the Tigers to another huge Welford Road roar

0

Gloucester take to the field

Here come the visitors from Gloucester Rugby on to the pitch ...

0

TODAY'S REPLACEMENTS

Tigers
16 Harry Thacker, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Logovi’i Mulipola, 19 Valentino Mapapalangi, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mathew Tait 

Gloucester
16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Tom Savage, 20 Freddie Clarke, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Lloyd Evans 23 Henry Purdy

0

GLOUCESTER TEAM FOR TODAY

One change for the away side today with flyhalf Billy Burns dropping out of the matchday squad, with Billy Twelvetrees moving in to flyhalf and Henry Trinder in to the midfield.

15 Jason Woodward 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Billy Twelvetrees, 9. Willi Heinz (c)

1 Josh Hohneck, 2 Motu Matu'u, 3 John Afoa, 4 Ed Slater, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 6 Lewis Ludlow, 7 Jacob Rowan, 8 Ruan Ackermann

0

TIGERS TEAM FOR TODAY

15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Nick Malouf, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs

1 Ellis Genge, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 3 Dan Cole, 4 Harry Wells, 5 Joe Maksymiw, 6 Mike Williams, 7 Luke Hamilton, 8 Sione Kalamafoni

0

WARMING UP AT WELFORD ROAD

The first players to emerge from the Welford Road rooms for the home side are halves Ben Youngs, Sam Harrison, George and Joe Ford.

0

GATES ARE OPEN AT WELFORD ROAD

AND... we're back at Welford Road for Round 3 of the 2017/18 AVIVA Premiership for today's encounter with Gloucester Rugby.

The #tigersfamily are making their way through the turnstiles with kick off just 90 minutes away now.

Teams will be confirmed just after 2pm and we'll have them here for you as soon as it happens.


Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Jason Woodward
14
Charlie Sharples
13
Henry Trinder
12
Matt Scott
11
Ollie Thorley
10
Billy Twelvetrees
9
Willi Heinz
1
Josh Hohneck
2
Motu Matu'u
3
John Afoa
4
Ed Slater
5
6
Lewis Ludlow
7
Jacob Rowan
8
Ruan Ackermann

Subs

16
Richard Hibbard
17
Val Rapava Ruskin
18
Gareth Denman
19
Tom Savage
20
Freddie Clarke
21
Ben Vellacott
22
Lloyd Evans
23
Henry Purdy
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
5
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI2213095374726561555663
7
Gloucester Rugby
Gloucester RugbyGLO2211110490597-10765738256

Leicester Tigers welcome Gloucester Rugby to Welford Road on Saturday with head coach Matt O’Connor saying there is room for improvement in all departments of the team.

After defeat by Bath on the opening day and then Northampton Saints last week, Tigers go into Round 3 still looking for a first league win of the season.

“We have to get a lot better,” said O’Connor. “We have to have better intent, execution and accuracy in all the things we are doing. We need to make sure we fix the things that let us down at Northampton and put in a performance we can hang our hat on.

“After losing their first game we knew Saints would come out hard at us but we didn’t execute early on in the game, we didn’t manage the areas that could have got us a foothold and put them under pressure in the first half. Now we have to deliver on the things that make us a good side.

“There are new people in the group and a few new combinations but there’s no excuse.

Tigers and a Gloucester have a relationship stretching back into the early years of the club’s existence, with more than 100 wins each in 218 previous encounters.

Recent history is in Tigers’ favour with just one defeat in the last nine meetings.

Team news is announced by both camps at noon on Friday, with Jonny May, Ed Slater, Owen Williams, Fraser Balmain and Henry Purdy all hoping to get the nod to face their former clubs.

Referee for Saturday is Craig Maxwell-Keys in his 37nd Premiership match in charge.

Kick-off is at 3.00pm and tickets are available now. Book in person at the Tigers ticket office or phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2)(open from 9.00am on matchday) or click here to book online at any time.

Form Guide
Leicester Tigers
Form
LLLLL
Last Match
Lost to Racing 11-34
Past Meeting
Lost 13-36
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Gloucester Rugby
Form
WLWWL
Last Match
Lost to Chiefs 17-29
Past Meeting
Won 36-13

Matchday Live

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Gloucester Rugby10
Gloucester Rugby
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