Leicester Tigers earned a first win of the season with a 16-13 verdict against previously unbeaten Gloucester Rugby at Welford Road on Saturday thanks to a late penalty from Tom Hardwick.
After watching five Tigers players in action during the World Cup Final in the morning, the home crowd saw their team 10-6 in front at half-time against unbeaten Gloucester thanks to Noel Reid’s first try for the club.
Tigers had dominated the game but Gloucester, without a win at Welford Road since October 2007, made their first really opportunity count as they edged in front with a Joe Simpson try on 50 minutes and they looked like they would take the points until Hardwick kicked Tigers level on 67 minutes and then added the decisive blow with the clock into the final minute of the Gallagher Premiership Round 3 fixture.
The win tied the scores in the overall series between the clubs on 108-108 in meetings dating back well over a century.
Tigers included Telusa Veainu and Sione Kalamafoni for their first starts of the season after World Cup duty and gave new signing Tomás Lavanini a debut from the bench.
Veainu was straight into the action, claiming high ball and then finding support from Jordan Olowofela in attack. As Tigers recycled ball, Noel Reid took a late blow from Slater and, after review, the Gloucester skipper was yellow-carded for the contact with the shoulder. The game was just two minutes old as Hardwick kicked the three-pointer with Slater headed for the dugout.
Heavy rain arrived almost on kick-off which made handling tricky, but Gloucester got through a set of phases before earning a penalty and Billy Twelvetrees kicked his team level from the tee.
Tigers made a big statement with a lineout drive which took them 20 metres upfield but they were whistled to a halt for taking out a player beyond the contact area.
Slater did not make it back on to field at the end of the sin-bin period as he’d been having treatment for a foot injury during his time out and Freddie Clarke took his place.
A smart kick from Sam Harrison, mopping up Gloucester’s attacking ball, pushed Tigers 60 metres further upfield and there was more pressure on the visitors’ ball as Harry Wells charged down a clearing kick from Joe Simpson and Tigers kept them pinned back.
Two strong carries from Kalamafoni – one which catapulted Marshall backwards was greeted with huge appreciation from the home crowd – gave Tigers room to advance again and, when Tom Youngs took play on, referee Ian Tempest brought play back for a high tackle on the hooker.
Tigers went to the corner on the right, throwing in seven metres from the tryline. A good set-piece was followed by half a dozen efficient phases before Reid called for the ball and sidestepped his way over the line for his first Tigers score. Hardwick added the conversion to make it 10-3 on 24 minutes.
The Tigers pack edged forward and won a scrum penalty with rain falling even harder, and then set up a golden chance with another big drive from the lineout.
This time, they created space for Olowofela to scorch through on a diagonal line and, when Marshall met him with a tackle less than 10 metres from the line, his one-handed pass just evaded Veainu with the tryline beckoning.
Veainu also took a blow in the face as he tried to retrieve ball and required attention to a bloody nose. Adam Thompstone was called from the bench as a temporary replacement, with Jonah Holmes going to full-back.
The rain eased off finally on the half-hour though a knock-on gave Gloucester a scrum which ended in a penalty award and Twelvetrees landed the kick to bring it back to 10-6.
There was little wrong with the handling as Olowofela and Liebenberg combined on the left touchline or when Calum Green stole valuable lineout ball, but Gloucester grabbed loose ball to kick back up to halfway in the final action of the opening period.
Gloucester made a change at the interval with Cipriani replaced by Chris Harris, and they claimed the first points when Marshall and Ollie Thorley combined on the left flanker and scrum-half Simpson raced in to score. Twelvetrees added the kick with Gloucester 13-10 in front on 50 minutes.
Joe Heyes replaced Nephi Leatigaga as the game got under way again, and was quickly into scrum action after Twelvetrees over-cooked a clearing kick and play came back well into his own half for the set-piece.
Marshall was well policed by Andy Forsyth as he tried to break out and, when Tigers took a quick throw, Olowofela almost wriggled free of the last defender on the right touchline but couldn’t find the supporting runner.
Tigers got the unexpected gift of put-in at a scrum when Marshall made a mess of a drop-out on his own 22, and it almost brought reward as the set-piece set up charges to the line for the forwards, with Boladau prominent, before Liebenberg was held up just as he looked to score.
Lavanini made his Tigers debut on 65 minutes at a five-metre scrum, with Facundo Gigena and Tatafu Polota-Nau also entering the action.
Gloucester were penalised under pressure at the scrum and Hardwick kicked the scores level with 13 minutes remaining.
A combined Kalamafoni-Lavanini tackle on Lewis Ludlow forced a knock-on just inside the Gloucester half but the Leicester No8 needed treatment on a shoulder before the game restarted.
Tigers continued to make their tackles and hit rucks, but referee Tempest penalised Liebenberg as he stepped over a ruck near halfway and Twelvetrees took on the kick but was just off-target with a potential match-winner.
Tigers got back on the attack with Lavanini carrying twice and then had one final chance at scrum on the 22 which brought a big eight-man shove, a penalty and a huge cheer from the crowd with just a minute left to play.
Hardwick scooped the kick and there was a pause as it floated just inside the right-hand post to give Tigers a 16-13 lead.
The game had to restarts and Tigers forced Gloucester back 50 metres with a succession of big tackles. But then they were penalised just short of the Gloucester 10-metre line with the clock beyond 84 minutes.
They went through phases again and again but met stubborn defence until a knock-on finally brought the game to an end and the crowd to its feet.
ON YOUR FEET, WELFORD ROAD!
That's just how we like it - a bouncing Welford Road.
Thank you for all your support this afternoon, whether you were one of the 17,559 at the ground, or following from elsewhere.
We'll see you back at Welford Road for Tigers' European Challenge Cup clash with Pau on Saturday, November 16 (3.00pm).
FULL TIME | 16-13
Tigers hold strong as the game goes deep into added time at Welford Road, to claim all four points from this Premiership encounter.
...IT IS NOW!
There's a HUGE roar from the crowd as Tigers win the ball on the floor, and that's the game.
Tigers almost - almost - win the ball back on the floor, but it just about remains in Gloucester posession.
WHITE FOR HARRISON
Ben White is onto the field in place of LeoVegas Fans' Favourite, scrum-half Sam Harrison.
THEY THINK IT'S ALL OVER...
Following phase after phase of Gloucester possession, Telusa Veainu comes out of the ruck with the ball, and fires it westwards...but we'll come back for a penalty...
INTO THE RED
Gloucester claim their restart, and are throwing everything at the Leicester line with the clock now in the red.
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?
Hardwick's last-minute penalty sails through the posts to nudge Tigers ahead. Play will restart.
...that scrum certainly is, though. The push is on and Tigers have a shot at goal with the last kick of the game.
IN AT THE SIDE!
Tigers win a scrum on the Gloucester 22 after the visitors come in at the side of a ruck, though it's not the penalty kick Leicester would have wanted...
GREEN DOWNS THORLEY
End-to-end (or at least, half-to-half) stuff as Veainu and Holmes combine to put the ball back into Gloucester's territory, but Ollie Thorley picks up and makes a break of his own.
The new Leicester captain is having none of it, and Calum Green sits his man down in front of the Breedon Terrace.
...and it's low and wide! A real let off for Tigers, there.
A controversial call, there - and the crowd don't like it.
Tigers are pinged just beyond halfway for offside, and Twelvetrees steps up to take it...
Boris Stankovich casts a keen eye over three reset scrums in front of the dugouts, and Gloucester clamber onto the ball as it goes straight through the tunnel.
KALAMAFONI ON HIS FEET
The Tigers No8 regathers himself after that big tackle, but he's back into the action as he anchors the Leicester scrum.
Lavanini makes his presence known to the Gloucester attackers with a big whack on his man in partnership with Sione Kalamafoni, right in front of the dugouts.
The Welford Road faithful enjoyed that one...
THREE MORE CHANGES
Gloucester empty the bench as Lewis Ludlow (for Ben Morgan), Jason Woodward (for Matt Banahan) and Callum Braley (for Joe Simpson) all sprint onto the field.
Harrison defuses the restart with a great touchfinder on the right, and Gloucester will have the throw on halfway.
Tom Hardwick ties the scores with a three-pointer from the tee.
The scrum collapses on the Gloucester side, and Tigers initially bring the ball out for a free play on the right. They can't quite make it count, so Hardwick comes back for a shot at goal.
LAVANINI JOINS THE FRAY
Tomás Lavanini is onto the field for his Tigers debut, joining Facundo Gigena and Tatafu Polota-Nau as they replace Wells, Bateman and Youngs.
All three will be involved in this pushing contest with their first play...
FRONT ROW CHANGES
Val Rapava Ruskin and Jamal Ford-Robinson are both onto the field as Gloucester change both of their props.
BIG LEG DRIVE
Tigers come out on top at the reset scrum, and edge closer to the tryline, carry by carry.
The fans in The Robin Hood Stand think the ball is down over the line, but we'll come back for another scrum.
The Leicester pack roar as they push Gloucester over their 22, but we'll go for a reset rather than a scrum penalty.
We've lost count of the number of charge downs - from both sides - in this contest. Tigers get a hand to Twelvetrees' latest kick, to pin Gloucester back into their own half.
They successfully escape a couple of phases later, and Veainu's return kick rolls over the tryline ... but the visitors mess up their 22 restart and Tigers have a put in at the scrum!
Bateman is pinged at the second scrum for losing his bind, and Twelvetrees makes no mistake with the touchfinder this time around. Gloucester restart with a throw on halfway.
WORTH FOR REID
Tigers try-scorer Noel Reid is replaced by George Worth, and Tom Hardwick will shift to fly-half permanently, with the Tigers Academy graduate swapping first-receiver duties with the Irishman all afternoon.
Tigers restart with another big shove at the scrum, deep into enemy territory, but Gloucester win a turnover in front of their posts.
Ifereimi Boladau replaces Guy Thompson in the Tigers pack.
Olowofela looks to keep the pace in the game as he claims a quick throw in and breaks down the right to win a lineout in the opposition 22.
Holmes scrambles onto a loose pass and breaks up the field - he kicks downfield and the ball rolls into touch.
Gloucester look to gain the upper hand back from the restart, but moments later a Twelvetrees kick rolls dead, and Tigers ahve the momentum back.
ON THE LOOP
This time it's Matt Banahan's turn to burst forwards, with another run down the same left-hand channel.
AND THE EXTRAS
Twelvetrees' conversion puts the visitors in the lead for the first time in this game.
Joe Heyes takes Nephi Leatigaga's place at tighthead for Leicester.
D'oh. Joe Simpson cuts through on the left to notch up Gloucester's first try of the match.
Gloucester win a penalty on halfway, but Twelvetrees misses his mark and Holmes bats the ball back into play, with his feet off the ground. Strong.
REID NUDGES IT THROUGH
Tigers string together some fluid phases, built around another lung-busting carry from prop Greg Bateman, and Reid switches up the tempo with another neat nudge through the Cherry and Whites line.
He can't quite pick up his kick, but it's a nice idea in the right area of the field.
HOLMES HURTLES FORWARDS
Sam Harrison puts in a giant box kick for his backs to compete with, and Holmes finds it first with a brilliant take on the right-hand side of the field.
Gloucester have made a change at half time, with Danny Cipriani replaced with Chris Harris for his club debut. There will be a bit of a shuffle in the backs.
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY
Noel Reid gets us going after the half-time break at Welford Road.
Tigers lock Harry 'Barry' Wells has been front and centre in a big first-half performance. We wait and see what the second half holds...
Come on, Tigers!
HALF TIME | 10-6
...and that's half time. Tigers lead at the break through a Noel Reid try and Tom Hardwick penalty.
Veainu returns to the field, and Thompstone takes a place in the home dugout once more.
Tigers steal the lineout and it falls neatly into Nephi Leatigaga's hands. Leicester still in control of this contest as we head towards half time.
CHIP AND CHASE
Tigers chip and chase down the left-hand side through - believe it or not - back-rower Hanro Liebenberg.
Neat work from Tigers' big South African summer signing!
FROM THREE TO SIX
Twelvetrees lands a Gloucester penalty, but Tigers still lead 10 points to six.
SCRUM DOWN ... AND AROUND
Gloucester manage to win a penalty at the scrum as the Tigers pack are charged with wheeling, and Twelvetrees will have another pop at the posts.
The visitors once again double down on their error, and put in a kick that bobbles over the Tigers try line. Holmes allows it to run on and he dots down for the 22 restart.
ANOTHER CHARGE DOWN
This time it's Guy Thompson's turn to charge down a Gloucester kick, and outside centre Andy Forsyth races after the loose ball. The visitors just about manage to clear up, but it's more great territory for Geordan Murphy's men.
IN THE AIR
Olowofela knocks on in the air as Gloucester restart, and so we'll scrum down on the halfway line with just over half an hour gone.
GLOUCESTER BREAK OUT
The Cherry and Whites some how break out of the corner, but it's only temporary respite as Jonah Holmes races back down the left.
The Wales international chips, chases and claims his kick, but gives away a soft penalty to relieve the pressure on Gloucester's line.
Telusa Veainu is caught awkwardly by Jake Polledri in all of that excitement, and he's temporarily replaced by Adam Thompstone.
OLOWOFELA BREAKS THROUGH
The crowd are onto their feet as Jordan Olowofela speeds through the middle of the Gloucester line and pins his ears back as he aims for the right-hand corner.
Gloucester's final defender just about gets to the young wing, so he feeds Veainu with a no-look pass which just goes awry.
CATS AND DOGS
...the rain is getting pretty heavy here at Welford Road as Harrison feeds into the scrum.
Tigers get the nudge on and ... Tom Foley's arm goes up on Leicester's side. Cue, cheers and applause.
GLOUCESTER HIT BACK
Gloucester get some shots away as they claim their restart on the edge of the Tigers 22, but after a couple of strong phases they knock on and the home side will have the feed at the game's first scrum.
Hardwick notches the conversion to put Leicester into a seven-point lead.
REID DIVES OVER
Tigers slowly but surely push up to the line with some huge carries, and it's fly-half Reid who dives over for the game's first try.
INTO THE CORNER
Gloucester double-down with another penalty, this time for a high tackle from Gerbrandt Grobler, and Hardwick once again does to the corner.
Harry Wells claims the lineout...
'UNUSUAL' TACKLE TECHNIQUE
How do you stop a man like Sione Kalamafoni?
Replays show that Tom Marshall's tried it with a jump into the tackle immediately in front of the Breedon Terrace, but it's not picked up by the officials.
Foley penalises the full-back for not rolling away, and Hardwick punishes the error with another strong touch-finder.
BACK INTO TRAFFIC
The Tigers pack set up another strong maul on the far side, and just as it starts to grind to a halt - a good 10 metres from where it started - Harrison whips the ball out to his backs.
Hardwick feeds Reid, who finds Olowofela on the right wing, but he's bundled into touch.
Gloucester struggling to make it out of their quarter of the field, and a charge down from Harry Wells certainly won't help their cause - but it's raised the voices of the Welford Road crowd.
Tigers now pressing into the red zone, with Noel Reid putting in a speculative kick through the line on the left-hand side.
MORE GOOD TERRITORY
Tigers win a lineout inside their own half, and put boot to ball via Harrison to grab brilliant territory down the other end of the field.
SLATER STAYS OFF
Ed Slater's yellow card is done and dusted, but he won't be returning to the field. He's replaced by Freddie Clarke in the Gloucester second row.
15 ON 15
Veainu puts up a real tester for Marshall, who plucks the ball out of the air just as he is tackled by the Tongan international. Nice.
HARDWICK HIGH BALL
Sam Harrison gets Tigers firing with some quick ball from the base at each ruck on halfway, but the home side can't quite find a way through this time, so Hardwick opts for a high bomb to the right.
Gloucester full-back Tom Marshall does extremely well to take it and call the mark in his 22.
An unconventional strike on the ball, but Twelvetrees evens up the scores with a Gloucester penalty.
Gloucester put together their first real phases of the game, and it's Nephi Leatigaga's arm that rides up a little high on the Cherry and Whites attacker. Billy Twelvetrees opts for the posts.
SECOND TIME LUCKY
Sam Harrison's first attempt at a box kick from his 22 is charged down by a strong Gloucester hand, but his forwards re-gather and he boots the second attempt into the Breedon Terrace for a decent chunk of territory.
...and it's good. Tigers are three points up within three minutes.
Referee Ian Tempest has no option but to show the former Tigers lock a yellow card for that challenge. Tom Hardwick steps up to the tee...
THE LOCALS ARE RESTLESS...
Big gasps from the Welford Road faithful as replays of a no-arms tackle are shown on the big screen. It's Gloucester captain Ed Slater on Tigers 10 Noel Reid, and TMO Trevor Fisher suggests a yellow card.
VEAINU UP TO SPEED
Returning full-back Telusa Veainu is involved from the off, scooping up a Gloucester bomb and breaking down the left wing. Tigers into the opposition 22 early on, here.
KICK-OFF FROM WELFORD ROAD
Danny Cipriani gets proceedings underway for Gloucester in Round 3 of the Gallagher Premiership.
SMOKE ON THE WATER!
The heavens have opened as the teams take to the field, to a roar from the Tigers Family. This is going to be a wet one...
MOMENTS TO GO
The Guard of Honour is onto the pitch, which can only mean one thing ... we're just moments away from kick-off here at Welford Road.
BACK IN THE SHEDS
The visitors are first back into the dressing rooms after completing their final preparations on the Welford Road pitch. The Tigers side are running through some last-minute drills in front of the Mattioli Woods Stand.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS
Head coach Geordan Murphy makes a raft of changes to the side that ran out at Welford Road last weekend for this afternoon’s match.
Rugby World Cup trio Telusa Veainu, Sione Kalamafoni and new signing Tomás Lavanini are all included in the matchday squad, with club captain Tom Youngs, Nephi Leatigaga and Harry Wells all coming into the starting pack.
Tom Hardwick and Andy Forsyth form a new-look centre pairing, while Jordan Olowofela and Sam Harrison start on the left wing and at scrum-half respectively.
Former Tigers lock Ed Slater captains the Gloucester side, which also includes Billy Twelvetrees and Fraser Balmain. Tigers Academy graduate Jamal Ford-Robinson is among the replacements, and Danny Cipriani fills the No10 shirt on his 32nd birthday.
See the full match line-ups by clicking here, or scrolling down on this page.
LIEBENBERG LOOKS AHEAD TO GLOUCESTER CHALLENGE
Kalamafoni’s back row colleague Hanro Liebenberg says the focus at Oval Park has been on righting the wrongs of last weekend’s defeat to Saracens.
“We’ve been focusing on our set piece as well as getting to our attacking shape,” he told LTTV at the club’s training base.
“Last week, we lost a bit of shape getting on the front foot. We couldn't get out of our exit zones, we managed that quite poorly.
“This weekend, we need to manage that a bit better ... building pressure when we get into their attacking zones.
“We will be on our game and give them what they deserve.”
Catch more of the South African back-rower’s Round 3 preview on LTTV here.
KALAMAFONI PREVIEWS ‘BIG AND PHYSICAL’ BATTLE
Tigers No8 Sione Kalamafoni – who returns to the starting XV after a first run off the bench of his Leicester career last weekend – knows the challenge posed by Gloucester better than most.
The Tonga international spent five years at the Cherry and Whites before a switch to Welford Road in 2017.
“We know Gloucester are a good side – forwards and backs – and they’re not a side that we can take lightly,” the 31-year-old explained.
“They’re big and physical and they can attack really well. We’ve taken a good look at ourselves, and we’ve gone from there.
“As a back-rower, you expect to carry the ball a bit more to get the boys onto the front foot, so hopefully I’ll do that and help out the team in every aspect of the game.”
Read Kalamafoni’s full preview of this afternoon’s game here.
ROUND 3 PREVIEW
Gloucester are one of just two sides unbeaten over the opening rounds of this season’s Gallagher Premiership.
After an impressive win away to Sale Sharks on the opening weekend, they beat Wasps at a rain-lashed Kingsholm last time out. They travel to Welford Road looking for a first away victory over Tigers since October 2007.
The last five league meetings between these two teams have been won by the home side on the day, with England stars Jonny May and George Ford among the try-scorers in the victory at Welford Road last season.
Read our full match preview here, or scroll down on this page.
WELCOME TO MATCHDAY LIVE!
Welcome to Welford Road as Tigers take on Gloucester Rugby in Round 3 of the Gallagher Premiership, 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.