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Match report: Tigers take maximum points on home return

Leicester Tigers picked up a first win of the season with five tries in a 49-33 victory over Newcastle Falcons at Welford Road on Saturday.

In Geordan Murphy’s first game as interim head coach, the teams shared 10 tries as Tigers bounced back from defeat at Exeter in Round 1 of the Gallagher Premiership season

An early try from George Ford - who contributed a total of 29 points - was followed by tries from Jonny May and Adam Thompstone to lead by 22 points in the opening 15 minutes.

The visitors opened their account midway through the first half before Manu Tuilagi claimed a bonus point for Tigers in a breathless opening.

Two scores from Vereniki Goneva kept Falcons in the game, though a second from May gave Tigers a 40-19 advantage at the break.

The lead was cut to 10 points early in the second half and Falcons enjoyed plenty of possession and field position before Tigers came through to delight the home crowd.

Falcons, who lost 21-32 at home to Saracens last Sunday, included five players with Tigers connections, including Toby Flood and Goneva, while Logovi’i Mulipola made his first return to Welford Road since a summer move to Tyneside.

Tigers give home debuts to summer signings Kyle Eastmond, Will Spencer and David Denton. Four other summer arrivals are among the replacements alongside England Under-20s internationals Tom Hardwick and Jordan Olowofela.

The Falcons have won just twice in their last 17 visits to Welford Road, but ended Tigers’ hope of a Premiership semi-final place last season with a 25-23 victory in the penultimate league fixture of the season.

Ford got the game under way after a minute’s silence in respect of former club secretary and president Tudor Thomas, and Tigers were immediately on to the offensive with the fly-half putting Spencer through a gap and then getting back on the ball near the tryline. Thompstone also went close, only to be shut out by Goneva, but Tigers retained possession and eventually Ford got to the line. After confirmation from the TMO, referee Matthew Carley awarded the first Tigers try of the season.

Ford’s conversion hit the outside of the near post and Falcons had a chance for an instant reply only for Flood to pull a penalty wide from 30 metres.

Denton collected ball at the front of a lineout near halfway and Tigers set up a promising drive before being handed a penalty as Falcons brought it down.

Ford connected firmly with the kick from just inside of the 10-metre line and Tigers were eight in front on seven minutes.

Falcons then proved masters of their own downfall in possession in midfield, being met with some stubborn resistance from Tigers and then Brendon O’Connor picked off a lateral pass and broke upfield. As Goneva came across to cover, the flanker passed to his left and May ran in to score. Ford added the extras for a 15-0 lead with not quite 10 minutes played.

A third try followed three minutes later with Ben Youngs, Ford and Eastmond keeping the backline moving, O’Connor providing a vital link and then Thompstone going over on the right. Ford’s conversion kick made it 22-0 on 15 minutes.

Falcons got on the scoreboard after 17 minutes when some strong carrying from prop Sami Mavinga and then Sinoti Sinoti opened the door for scrum-half Sonatane Takulua to provide a try which Flood converted.

A penalty for a high tackle on Eastmond gave Ford another sight of the posts, and his kick from 30 metres made it 25-7.

The bonus-point score came on 23 minutes and was met with huge cheers as Tuilagi showed power to get through two tackles near halfway and then pace to go through and win a footrace from Goneva to the line.

Ford’s kick from the right went in off the left-hand post to stretch the lead to 32-7.

But Falcons, with Mavinga carrying strongly again, came back with a Goneva try, picking up loose ball in the right-hand corner after colleague Simon Hammersley ball had lost possession in contact. Flood added a touchline conversion to make it 32-14 with 13 minutes still to play in the half.

Tuilagi looked sharp in the next Tigers attack and, although an ankle tap took him down, Flood was penalised as Youngs looked to recycle and Ford kicked the points to take the gap back up to 20 points.

Eastmond was replaced by Tom Hardwick on 32 minutes after treatment for what looked like a calf injury, and Tigers were quickly back behind their lines as Josh Matavesi produced a pinpoint offload on the left. Ford kicked clear from behind the tryline but Falcons quickly had a penalty and Flood pushed it into the left-hand corner.

They retained ball and had penalty advantage before opening up across the field and Goneva was able to push his way over past the last defender in the opposite corner for his second try of the afternoon. Flood was off-target with the conversion with Tigers 35-19 in front.

O’Connor was whistled for offside in chasing a Ford kick and the referee brought play right back into Tigers territory. Flood, though, failed to make touch with the kick and Thompstone was able to play out from the back.

A knock-on from Matavesi, just as Falcons looked to stretch the Tigers defence near halfway, But before play could restart with a scrum, injury brought O’Connor’s shift to an end as Thompson came off the bench for his debut.

There was still time for Tigers to gain a penalty at the scrum with a minute left in the half and Ford drilled play into the right-hand corner. The catch from Mike Williams set up a drive and, with advantage being played, Tigers spread play wide and May was able to dive in for his second of the day. Ford, from the touchline, was wife with the kick but Tigers led 40-19 at half-time.

Falcons were the first on the front foot, building possession and territory before putting a penalty into the left corner. Tigers got through their drills in defence but were whistled again five metres out and Flood again went for the lineout option.

This time the visitors set up the drive quicker, and Mark Wilson broke off the blindside to score, a try confirmed after replays with the TMO to give Falcons their fourth score. Flood’s kick made it 41-26 on 47 minutes.

When Will Welch was blown for offside ahead of a Falcons clearing kick, Tigers called for the tee and Ford added the three points.

Tigers were then penalised at a ruck just as they thought they’d won turnover ball and Falcons went to the right-hand corner. Although Tigers held out two drives, Mavinga managed to force his way over for their fifth try and Flood brought it back to 43-33 with a well-judged conversion.

Ford looked like he’d managed to wriggle clear from the restart before Falcons scrambled back, but Tigers had the penalty award and the fly-half made it eight successes from 10 as he made it 46-33 approaching the hour mark.

A crunching tackle from Tuilagi on Goneva knocked ball loose and allowed Tigers to try again, with Ford again finding the acceleration to break the line before the Falcons got back. But Tigers fell foul of the whistle on halfway and Flood prodded Falcons forward once more.

This time Denton clawed lineout possession back in Tigers favour as the home crowd roared their team on.

But the referee halted play for obstruction, giving Newcastle another penalty and moments later the TMO was called upon again as Thompson and Veainu got under Takalua’s push for the tryline.

Referee Carley adjudged there was no grounding, but one of the tacklers was offside in front of the line and Veainu went to the sin bin.

Falcons resumed with a penalty five metres out but dropped possession at the lineout as Tigers were able to catch their breath. The scrum was as final contribution for Dan Cole and Greg Bateman as Tigers made changes in the front row, then Sione Kalamafoni stole lineout ball as the hosts desperately looked for a way out of their own territory.

Spencer received treatment for a blood injury, with Harry Wells on in the second row, and Kalamafoni showed his strength as he picked up at another scrum, only for the whistle to go for an accidental offside on halfway.

Tigers finally made it back up towards Falcons territory with Ford and Tuilagi, but Falcons ripped ball at the breakdown and Hammersley had to be cut down as he looked to break free.

The home side again managed to disrupt Falcons lineout ball but were pinned back and had to kick to touch with the game into its last 10 minutes and Veainu’s sin bin time almost complete. Falcons this time took possession but came to a halt with a forward pass off the back of the set-piece.

Rather than send Veainu back on, Jordan Olowofela got his chance at full-back.

After a penalty on the right, Tigers tried to set up Ford for a drop-goal attempt, but he failed to connect cleanly and Falcons got back on the ball. Takulua threatened a score until Olowofela closed in and in the next phase Tigers gained a penalty on the floor, to a huge roar from the 20,000-strong crowd.

The clock had reached the final 90 seconds when Ford booted up to halfway and referee Carley quickly whistled for a high tackle on Hardwick and then marched Falcons back as Ford called for the tee just inside their half with time up. The fly-half made no mistake with the kick in the final action of the game.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 40-19 NEW

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 49-33 NEW

Attendance

20,045

Referee

Matthew Carley

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Newcastle Falcons
Possession
51%
49%
Territory
48%
52%
Penalties Conceded
10
9
Yellow Cards
1
0
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
172/204 84%
142/164 87%
Scrums Won
8/8 100%
2/2 100%
Lineouts Won
8/9 89%
9/12 75%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Newcastle Falcons
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Telusa Veainu
14Adam Thompstone1T
13Manu Tuilagi1T
12Kyle Eastmond
11Jonny May2T
10George Ford1T3C6P
9Ben Youngs
1Greg Bateman
2Tom Youngs
3Dan Cole
4Mike Williams
5Will Spencer
6David Denton
7Brendon O'Connor
8Sione Kalamafoni
16Jimmy Stevens
17Campese Ma'afu
18David Fe'ao
19Harry Wells
20Guy Thompson
21Sam Harrison
22Tom Hardwick
23Jordan Olowofela
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
49

Full Time

Newcastle Falcons
Newcastle Falcons
33
Leicester Tigers
T
P
T
C
T
C
P
T
C
P
T
P
P
P
KOHTFT
Newcastle Falcons
T
C
T
C
T
T
C
T
C

Commentary

80

LeoVegas Man of the Match

Fans have voted George Ford their LeoVegas Man of the Match after a brilliant performance by the Tigers fly-half. Well player Fordy.

80

All over at Welford Road

It was tense at times. It was thrilling throughout. Tigers have their first win of the season, beating Falcons 49-33. What a game!

That's full-time

Ford lands a penalty from close to halfway with the last kick of the game. It sets the seal on a 49-33 victory for the Tigers.

80

Penalty to finish

Joel Hodgson is whistled for a high tackle on Hardwick. He then argues the decision with referee Carley is marched back 10 to bring the posts into play ...

78

Superb spirit

Tigers dig deep one last time and hold off a final Falcons attack. Thompson latches on to win the penalty 15m from the line to one of the biggest cheers of the day.

74

Clever from Harrison

Falcons have been frustrating Tigers all game by lying at the back of rucks. Cavubati's lazy running blocks Harrison's quick pass and Tigers have the penalty. They kick to the Falcons 22.

Sin-bin over

Veainu's period in the sin bin is over without any additional score. He won't return though, instead Jordan Olowofela comes on for his home debut in the Gallagher Premiership.

72

Scrappy scrum

Tigers retain possession at their own put-in. Kalamafoni tidies up again and Harrison finds touch. It's getting scrappy in open play too, as Falcons are whistled for a forward pass.

Top shift Youngsy

Ben Youngs comes off to another huge ovation. He is replaced by Sam Harrison. We're into the final 10 minutes of a pulsating clash.

LeoVegas Man of the Match voting

The biggest ovation of the day so far reserved for Mulipola as he comes off for Newcastle. While we wait for play to resume, there's time to remind you to vote for your LeoVegas Man of the Match on the app.

More replacements

Wells is on for Tigers, in place of Spencer, who gets a huge ovation as he goes off for blood. Socino, Brocklebank and Cavubati on for the visitors.

Prop replacements

Ma'afu and Feao are on for Tigers, replacing Cole and Bateman. Good luck on your home debuts boys. Meanwhile, a super tackle by Thompson forces Graham into the knock-on.

63

Crucial period

Graham knocks on as he collects the lineout. It feels like a huge moment in the game. Kalamafoni tidies up at the base of the scrum and Ford finds touch 30m out.

Veainu to the bin

Referee Carley sends Veainu to the sin bin for offside before he made the tackle on Takulua. Play will restart with a penalty to the Falcons, which Flood puts to the corner.

63

TMO time. Again.

We've gone to the TMO for a potential Falcons try. Tait is stopped just short and Takalua follows up, but he looks to have been held up by Veainu.

Front row replacement

Tom Youngs has given his all, and the Leicester captain is replaced by Jimmy Stevens. Ford is the on-field skipper.

60

Final quarter

We're into the last 20 minutes at Welford Road. It's a nail-biter, but Denton eases the nerves by stealing a lineout inside the Tigers 22. Tigers are counterattacking from deep, but again fall foul of referee Carley while in possession.

Ford adds three more

Ford, who created the field position with his run, kicks the three-pointer to extend Tigers' lead to 46-33. This is an absolute belter of a game!

55

Fleet-footed Ford

Ford makes a superb break from halfway. He takes Tigers to within 10m, where Newcastle are pinged for killing the ball. They receive a team warning and Ford is going for goal.

Falcons fight back

The Falcons are right back in this as Flood lands a touchline conversion to cut the Leicester lead to 43-33.

Falcons on the mark again

All hands to the pump for Tigers in defence. But they cannot keep out Sami Mavinga, who burrows over from close range.

Ford lands his kick

Ford moves Tigers more than two scores ahead with his penalty. They lead 43-26 at Welford Road.

Offside penalty

Is this the penalty chance for Tigers to settle themselves down? Will Welch is in front of the kicker and play comes back to just outside the Newcastle 22. Gary Graham and Alex Tait on for Falcons.

14-point advantage

Flood's conversion cuts the Leicester lead to 40-26. Tigers could do with scoring next to settle any nerves.

Falcons try bonus

The try is awarded. Falcons had the penalty advantage as Tigers pulled down the maul. Wilson continued to play and held off Ben Youngs to score.

45

TMO time again

Referee Carley is consulting his TMO as Mark Wilson flies over. The officials are checking whether Wilson was tackled before getting back up to score.

44

Tigers dig deep in defence

Tigers repel the lineout drive, and then stand firm in the face of wave after wave of Falcons attacks before Newcastle win another penalty. They go to the corner again.

43

First test for Tigers

Flood kicks a penalty to the corner, and the Tigers lineout defence will be tested early no in this half.

40

The second half starts

Former Tiger Flood gets us going again, launching his kick straight down Kalamafoni's throat.

40

The teams are back out

Newcastle are out for the second half, followed by Tom Youngs and the Tigers. Tigers will be attacking the Robin Hood Stand end of the ground this half.

What a half!

Ford cannot add the conversion with the last kick of the half. But that has been a fantastic first half under Geordan Murphy for the Tigers, scoring five tries to lead 40-19 at the break.

... and Tigers score!

Tigers are rewarded for going to the corner with the penalty, scoring their fifth try of the half. Veainu's pass found May in space and the winger juggled possession before diving in at the left corner.

39

Tigers on the attack ...

... with a 5m lineout as the half comes to a close ...

Debut for Thompson

There's a good ovation for Brendon O'Connor as he comes off and for Guy Thompson as he comes on for his debut.

36

Conversion missed

Flood is unable to add the touchline conversion. Tigers lead 35-19 with four minutes to go until the break.

GONEVA GOES OVER

The former Tigers wing finds his way over for a second try in just 10 minutes. Flood misses the kick as we approach the final five minutes of the first half.

33

Tigers survive a scare

Ford is aware to the danger as Sinoti kicks towards the Leicester line. He picks up the bouncing ball as he crosses the line, and somehow pivots to find touch on the 22.

Tigers replacement

Eastmond, after a really industrious first 30 minutes for Tigers, is coming off. He is replaced by academy product Tom Hardwick.

Ford lands the kick

... Ford makes his former teammate Flood pay by landing the penalty to move Tigers 35-14 ahead. 

29

Flood pinged ... again

Flood is whistled for being offside as Tigers look to secure quick ball from Tuilagi's run. Ford points to the posts ...

The points keep coming

Flood lands the touchline conversion to reduce Tigers' lead to 32-14. That's 46 points in the opening 28 minutes at Welford Road.

The try is given

Simon Hammersley was stripped of possession as he was tackled by Tuilagi, but the ball went backwards and Goneva picked up possession to walk over at the corner.

26

Is that a Falcons try?

Goneva has dotted down in the corner, but referee Matthew Carley is talking to his TMO about a possible knock-on.

In off the post

Tuilagi's score brings Welford Road to its feet and with it the try bonus point. Ford makes it a seven-point score, adding the conversion with the help of the left-hand post.

Manu is back!

What a try from Manu Tuilagi. Make sure you catch that one on any highlights. He burst through a tackle on halfway and sprinted away from Vereniki Goneva to score a fantastic try.

Ford lands the kick

Ford lands his penalty from some 35m out to increase the Tigers lead to 25-7.

20

Midway point in the first half

Flood is pinged for a high tackle in midfield as we finish the first quarter, and Ford points to the posts ...

Flood converts

Flood lands the conversion to cut Leicester's lead to 22-7.

Falcons hit back

Newcastle get into the Tigers 22 for the first time and come away with the try. Sinoti Sinoti wriggles his way to within 5m of the line and Sonatane Takalua is following up to accept the offload and score.

Ford converts

Ford adds the extras to move Tigers 22-0 ahead. This has been a dream start by the Tigers.

Tigers are roaring!

Tigers rip into the Falcons, sending the big blokes down onto the defence before the smaller shape of Eastmond carves Newcastle open with a lovely pass to Brendon O'Connor. he finds Thompstone for a run to the line.

11

What a tackle!

Sione Kalamafoni produces a huge tackle on Flood and then drives over to steal possession. Now the Tigers have a lineout on the Falcons 22. Spencer secures possession ...

What a start!

Ford lands a simple conversion and Tigers have started the Geordan Murphy era at a breathtaking pace, scoring 15 unanswered points inside the first 10 minutes.

Tiiigggeeerrrsss tttrrryyy!

Tiiigggeeerrrsss rings round Welford Road as Jonny May goes in for the second try. Brendon O'Connor intercepted Flood's pass on halfway and made 30m before popping a pass for May to finish.

Tigers penalty

Tigers get their maul working and make five metres befoer it is pulled down by McGuigan, on his return to Welford Road. Ford makes him pay with the penalty. Tigers lead 8-0.

4

Flood fails from the tee

Former Tiger Toby Flood pulls a penalty wide with his first kick at goal, as Tigers are pinged for a late tackle. The hosts lead 5-0 after a frenetic first five minutes.

2

More on the try

It was lovely skill from Ford, who dummied the pass wide, which was bought by former teammate Logovi'i Mulipola. George McGuigan made the tackle but Ford was able to reach out to score. The try was unconverted.

Trrryyy!

Tigers have the early try they crave. And it's Ford who has it.  The fly-half is grounded but reaches out to score Tigers' first try of the season.

0

Promising start

Tigers are quick out of the blocks with Spencer bursting through, Ben Youngs who hit Ford before Adam Thompstone was wrestled just short.

0

We're off

The season is underway at Welford Road, with Tigers attacking the Mattioli Woods Stand end of the ground.

0

Minute's silence

Welford Road stands to pay tribute to former first-team secretary and club president Tudor Thomas.

0

Here come the teams

Welford Road is rocking as Tom Youngs leads out the team for the first time under Geordan Murphy. Come you Tigers boys. Let's do this!

0

Crumbie rises for Geordan

A huge ovation for Geordan Murphy from around the stadium as he leaves the field at the end of the warm-up.

0

LeoVegas Man of the Match

Don't forget to vote for your LeoVegas Man of the Match from half-time of today's fixture exclusively on the club app.

0

First games

Good luck to Geordan Murphy in his first game as interim head coach. And all the best to Kyle Eastmond, Will Spencer, David Denton, Campese Ma'afu, David Feao and Guy Thompson on their first Premiership Rugby home game.

0

Welcome home!

Welcome back to Welford Road for the first home game of the new Gallagher Premiership season. It's grrreat to be back!


Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Simon Hammersley
14
Vereniki Goneva
13
Chris Harris
12
Josh Matavesi
11
Sinoti Sinoti
10
Toby Flood
9
Sonatane Takulua
1
Sami Mavinga
2
George McGuigan
3
Logovi'i Mulipola
4
Calum Green
5
Will Witty
6
Mark Wilson
7
Will Welch
8
Callum Chick

Subs

16
Santiago Socino
17
Adam Brocklebank
18
Jack Payne
19
Tevita Cavubati
20
Gary Graham
21
Sam Stuart
22
Joel Hodgson
23
Alex Tait

Team news: Tigers versus Falcons

Geordan Murphy takes charge of Leicester Tigers for the first time this Saturday and includes seven summer signings in the squad for the Gallagher Premiership fixture against Newcastle Falcons at Welford Road.

Former club captain Murphy leads the squad as interim head coach and includes new arrivals Kyle Eastmond, Will Spencer and David Denton in the Tigers starting line-up. Jimmy Stevens, Campese Ma’afu, David Feao and Guy Thompson, who all moved to Welford Road this summer, are among the replacements.

Eastmond comes into the backline alongside Manu Tuilagi at centre and, in another change to the team that started in Round 1 at Exeter Chiefs last week, Mike Williams is at lock in place of the injured Mike Fitzgerald.

Ma’afu and Thompson could make their Tigers debuts as replacements and Stevens could make the first appearance of his second spell with the club.

Coach Murphy said: “It’s been a busy week with the changes but the focus has all been about preparing for Newcastle on Saturday. We all felt we let ourselves down at Exeter last week, we didn’t impose our game on it and now we need a good performance back at Welford Road.”

Sione Kalamafoni makes his 100th Premiership appearance and, at the other end of the experience scale, England Under-20s cap Tom Hardwick could make his top-flight debut.

Match tickets are available now. Book in person at Welford Road, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or online. And don't forget Tigers In The Park from 11.00am!

Leicester Tigers (v Newcastle Falcons, Welford Road, Saturday 3.00pm)

15 Telusa Veainu

14 Adam Thompstone

13 Manu Tuilagi

12 Kyle Eastmond

11 Jonny May

10 George Ford

9 Ben Youngs

1 Greg Bateman

2 Tom Youngs (c)

3 Dan Cole

4 Mike Williams

5 Will Spencer

6 David Denton

7 Brendon O’Connor

8 Sione Kalamafoni

Replacements

16 Jimmy Stevens

17 Campese Ma’afu

18 David Feao

19 Harry Wells

20 Guy Thompson

21 Sam Harrison

22 Tom Hardwick

23 Jordan Olowofela

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sonatane Takulua; 1 Sami Mavinga, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 4 Calum Green, 5 Will Witty, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Callum Chick
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Jack Payne, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Gary Graham, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Alex Tait

 

Match preview: Tigers back on home turf

Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons meet at Welford Road on Saturday with both sides searching for a first win of the Gallagher Premiership season.

Tigers were beaten at Exeter Chiefs in Round 1 and go into action under interim head coach Geordan Murphy for the first time against his former colleague and former boss Dean Richards, now in his seventh season in the North-East.

The Falcons lost 21-32 at home to Saracens last Sunday despite two tries from back-rower Mark Wilson and 11 points from fly-half Toby Flood.

In team news announced on Friday, Tigers give home debuts to summer signings Kyle Eastmond, Will Spencer and David Denton. Four other summer arrivals are among the replacements alongside England Under-20s internationals Tom Hardwick and Jordan Olowofela.

Falcons include five players with Tigers connections, including Flood and Vereniki Goneva, while Logovi’i Mulipola makes his first return to Welford Road since a summer move to Tyneside.

The Falcons have won just twice in their last 17 visits to Welford Road, but ended Tigers’ hope of a Premiership semi-final place last season with a 25-23 victory in the penultimate league fixture of the season.

Tonga international Sonatane Takulua slotted the winning conversion that day with the last kick of the game.

“Looking back, I was remarkably calm,” he said, previewing the return trip. “I didn’t panic, I felt good about the kick and it was perfect.

“Leicester away is always a tough game. We won there last season and we believe we can do it again, but we’ll have to work for it.

“With their change in head coach, I think they’ll be looking for nine and ten to control things a bit more, but they’ll definitely come out and throw everything at us. The atmosphere there is always big, we love playing in Leicester and these big games are why we play.”

Falcons coach John Wells spent all of his playing career and a major part of his coaching time at Tigers and is also looking forward to the trip ‘home’.

 

“I love going back to Leicester,” he said. “The crowd are always brilliant with Deano and I, and with all the ex-Tigers players in our squad. It’s all good-natured, the banter is quite funny a lot of the time and I think it’s great that we can still have that in our game.

“All the staff at Tigers are really welcoming towards us, I don’t think that will ever change, and it’s only natural that we still have a lot of love for the club. Having said all that, we’re at a different club now and we’re working under different parameters. We want Newcastle to be successful, and that’s where our responsibilities lie.”

Referee on Saturday is Matthew Carley, in charge of a Premiership fixture for the 76th time.

Kick-off is at 3.00pm.

For a full matchday guide to the day’s activities, including Tigers In The Park, click here.

If you are not attending the game or are unable to watch on TV, you can keep up to date with all of the action using the Tigers Matchday Live service on website, mobile website and app, or follow the club’s social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Match tickets are still available. Book in person at Welford Road, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or online using the link below.

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
7
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI4103127158-311421329
10
Newcastle Falcons
Newcastle FalconsNEW410394125-311114116

Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons meet at Welford Road on Saturday with both sides searching for a first win of the Gallagher Premiership season.

Tigers were beaten at Exeter Chiefs in Round 1 and go into action under interim head coach Geordan Murphy for the first time against his former colleague and former boss Dean Richards, now in his seventh season in the North-East.

The Falcons lost 21-32 at home to Saracens last Sunday despite two tries from back-rower Mark Wilson and 11 points from fly-half Toby Flood.

In team news announced on Friday, Tigers give home debuts to summer signings Kyle Eastmond, Will Spencer and David Denton. Four other summer arrivals are among the replacements alongside England Under-20s internationals Tom Hardwick and Jordan Olowofela.

Falcons include five players with Tigers connections, including Flood and Vereniki Goneva, while Logovi’i Mulipola makes his first return to Welford Road since a summer move to Tyneside.

The Falcons have won just twice in their last 17 visits to Welford Road, but ended Tigers’ hope of a Premiership semi-final place last season with a 25-23 victory in the penultimate league fixture of the season.

Tonga international Sonatane Takulua slotted the winning conversion that day with the last kick of the game.

“Looking back, I was remarkably calm,” he said, previewing the return trip. “I didn’t panic, I felt good about the kick and it was perfect.

“Leicester away is always a tough game. We won there last season and we believe we can do it again, but we’ll have to work for it.

“With their change in head coach, I think they’ll be looking for nine and ten to control things a bit more, but they’ll definitely come out and throw everything at us. The atmosphere there is always big, we love playing in Leicester and these big games are why we play.”

Falcons coach John Wells spent all of his playing career and a major part of his coaching time at Tigers and is also looking forward to the trip ‘home’.

“I love going back to Leicester,” he said. “The crowd are always brilliant with Deano and I, and with all the ex-Tigers players in our squad. It’s all good-natured, the banter is quite funny a lot of the time and I think it’s great that we can still have that in our game.

“All the staff at Tigers are really welcoming towards us, I don’t think that will ever change, and it’s only natural that we still have a lot of love for the club. Having said all that, we’re at a different club now and we’re working under different parameters. We want Newcastle to be successful, and that’s where our responsibilities lie.”

Referee on Saturday is Matthew Carley, in charge of a Premiership fixture for the 76th time.

Form Guide
Leicester Tigers
Form
WLWLL
Last Match
Lost to Warriors 37-44
Past Meeting
Won 49-33
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Newcastle Falcons
Form
LLLWL
Last Match
Lost to Chiefs 17-24
Past Meeting
Lost 33-49

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