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Tigers end 2015 with home victory

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Leicester Tigers ensured they completed 2015 unbeaten at Welford Road in league and European competition after defeating Newcastle Falcons 22-10 on Boxing Day.

Tigers came back from 10-0 down early in the game to record a sixth win from seven games in the Aviva Premiership this season.
 
Telusa Veainu scored his sixth try in Leicester colours to send Tigers in level at half-time, and they took the lead shortly after the restart through Peter Betham's finish.
 
Tigers were forced to wait until late in the game for a third try, Laurence Pearce scoring from close range. And they will be frustrated that two first-half efforts were ruled out by the television match official for players not grounding the ball when over the opposition line.
 
The win consolidated third-place in the Aviva Premiership table and meant Tigers finished 2015 with an unbeaten home record in the Aviva Premiership and Europe's Champions Cup.
 
Logovi'i Mulipola and Mathew Tait returned from injury to take their place in the starting XV while Opeti Fonua was named on the bench.
 
Samoa international prop Mulipola joined Harry Thacker and Fraser Balmain in the Tigers front row, with Ed Slater joining Dom Barrow at lock. Tom Croft and Laurence Pearce returned to the back row alongside Lachlan McCaffrey.
 
Fonua was one of six internationals among the replacements as he returned for the first time since suffering a broken arm in the Round 3 win over Wasps.
 
Tigers made a bright start with Betham running over Young to take Tigers into Newcastle territory for the first time. Play was switched to the right where Barrow’s out of the tackle went into touch with a hint of an overlap on his outside.
 
Tigers went down to 14 men in the fifth minute when referee Tim Wigglesworth showed Fraser Balmain a yellow card for lifting fly-half Craig Willis in the tackle. And it was Willis who landed the penalty to give the Falcons a 3-0 lead.

Dan Cole came on for Vereniki Goneva for the first scrum of the sin-bin period.
 
The Falcons enjoyed plenty of possession and territory during the yellow card period. But they were pinged for obstruction at a 5m lineout and were unable to find a way through determined defence as they hammered away inside the Tigers 22.
 
The pressure eventually told when they Falcons pack had the nudge at a driving lineout and Nili Latu provided the finish for the game’s first try. Balmain returned to the field before Willis landed the conversion to move Newcastle 10-0 ahead.
 
Attacking into a strong wind in the first half, Freddie Burns opted for touch with the first penalty Tigers won in Falcons territory. It gave Tigers a good position 8m out and they almost made it pay but Balmain was scragged just short of the line before Thacker spilled possession at the next phase.
 
Tigers had a penalty advantage and went to the corner again but this time Falcons stopped the maul just short before Young knocked on as he tried to disrupt Goneva’s blindside run.
 
Falcons were pinged at the scrum and again when Ben Youngs took the tap penalty, prompting the referee to speak to their captain Will Welch. In the meantime, Burns knocked over a simple penalty to put Tigers’ first points on the board.
 
A promising break by Betham created space down the left
 
Falcons went down to 14 men 13 minutes before the break when Belisario Agulla was shown a yellow card for a tip tackle on Croft.
Tigers almost took immediate advantage when Burns launching a huge Crossfield kick over the head of Simon Hammersly for Veainu on the right, but the Tonga international fumbled in touching down and the score was ruled out.
 
Play came back for another penalty and this time Falcons lock Mark Wilson was shown a yellow card for repeated team infringements.
 
This time Tigers did take advantage of their numerical advantage and this time Veainu did have his score, holding off Marcus Watson to finish off an overlap at the right corner. Burns landed a testing touchline conversion to bring Tigers level nine minutes before the break.
 
Tigers swept upfield and should have scored a second try three minutes later. This time Betham carved a line through the Newcastle defence, found Smith whose deft first-time pass put Tait over but the TMO ruled he lost possession as he grounded the ball.
 
It was all Tigers and another sweeping move allowed Goneva to test Alex Tait’s defence, who stood up well and forced the Tigers wing into touch. Another threatening attack came to an end when Betham knocked-on in the tackle, as Tigers hammered away at the Newcastle defence.
 
But the visitors resisted and went back up to 15 men with the return of Agulla and Wilson from their yellow cards. The score remained 10-10 at half-time.
 
Tigers made a patient start to the second period, keeping the ball in hand and sending their big carriers at the Newcastle defence. It was a tactic that brought its rewards within 120 seconds of the restart when Betham angled his way through the Falcons defence to score his third try for the club. Burns was on target with the conversion to put Tigers 17-10 ahead.
 
Good work on the floor by Laurence Pearce won a holding-on penalty in the shadow of the Leicester posts as Falcons threatened an immediate response.
 
Mulipola came off to huge applause after 47 minutes to be replaced by Matias Aguero.
 
A stunning run through broken field by Veainu, who was named the Goldsmiths Player of the Month during half-time, had Welford Road on its feet. His pass found Betham in support but referee Wigglesworth ruled it went forward.
 
Tigers introduced Cole, Tom Youngs and Fonua for Balmain, Thacker and McCaffery.
 
The game became disjointed as the clock ticked into the final quarter. Tigers were unable to find a real foothold with their setpiece while Falcons kicked away possession, seemingly looking for the losing bonus point.
 
But a series of penalty lineouts eventually told on the Newcastle defence when Fonua’s burst drew a penalty from Nili Latu and, with the advantage, Pearce crashed over for his sixth try for the club.
 
There was still six minutes remaining for Tigers to hunt the bonus-point try.  Tigers created one final chance when Burns burst through the middle and had Ed Slater on his shoulder. He was tackled by last-man Simon Hammersley and when the ball was flung wide Veainu spilled possession in contact to signal the end of the game.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 10-10 NEW

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 22-10 NEW

Attendance

21,564

Referee

Tim Wigglesworth

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Newcastle Falcons
Possession
75%
25%
Territory
0%
0%
Penalties Conceded
8
16
Yellow Cards
1
2
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
83/102 81%
132/160 82%
Scrums Won
4/6 67%
7/8 88%
Lineouts Won
16/16 0%
11/11 0%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Newcastle Falcons
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15
14Telusa Veainu1T
13Peter Betham1T
12
11
102C1P
9Ben Youngs
1Logovi'i Mulipola
2Harry Thacker
3Fraser Balmain
4Ed Slater
5
6
7Lachlan McCaffrey
8Laurence Pearce1T
16Tom Youngs
17Matias Aguero
18Dan Cole
19Sebastian De Chaves
20
21
22Tommy Bell
23Seremaia Bai
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
22

Full Time

Newcastle Falcons
Newcastle Falcons
10

Tigers Lineup

Starting XV

Peter Betham
13
Peter Betham
11
10
Fraser Balmain
3
Fraser Balmain
Ed Slater
4
Ed Slater
5
Lachlan McCaffrey
7
Lachlan McCaffrey
Laurence Pearce
8
Laurence Pearce

Subs

Matias Aguero
17
Matias Aguero
Sebastian De Chaves
19
Sebastian De Chaves
20
Tommy Bell
22
Tommy Bell
Seremaia Bai
23
Seremaia Bai

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Simon Hammersley
14
Alex Tait
13
Belisario Agulla
12
Chris Harris
11
Marcus Watson
10
Craig Willis
9
Micky Young
1
Rob Vickers
2
George McGuigan
3
Jon Welsh
4
Mark Wilson
5
Sean Robinson
6
Ally Hogg
7
Will Welch
8
Nili Latu

Subs

16
Scott Lawson
17
18
Taione Vea
19
Mouritz Botha
20
21
Sonatane Takulua
22
Tom Catterick
23
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
4
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI2214085094753455486365
11
Newcastle Falcons
Newcastle FalconsNEW225116357556-19934620527
Form Guide
Form
DWDDD
Last Match
Draw with Brive null-null
Past Meeting
Drew null-null
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
DLWDD
Last Match
Draw with Cardiff Blues null-null
Past Meeting
Drew null-null

Matchday Live

Leicester Tigers22
Leicester Tigers
Newcastle Falcons10
Newcastle Falcons
Full Time