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Tigers go down to defeat in opening home game

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Leicester Tigers went down to a 34-22 defeat to Wasps in their opening home game of the Aviva Premiership season.

A converted late try by centre Jimmy Gopperth denied 13-man Tigers a losing bonus point after they saw Ellis Genge and Peter Betham sent to the sin bin in the closing stages at Welford Road.
Gopperth was a huge influence throughout. His penalties, and clever kick for Christian Wade's opening try, gave the visitors an early 13-3 lead.
Lachlan McCaffrey’s first try of the season cut the deficit to five points at the break but Wasps flew out in the second half with quick tries for Guy Thompson and Sam Jones to leave Tigers with a mountain to climb.
Ed Slater’s close-range try gave the hosts hope, and with Freddie Burns chipping away with a series of penalties, Tigers scored 14 unanswered points to claw their way to within five.
But there was one last sting in the tale, with Gopperth’s late pushover try giving Wasps the try bonus and denying Leicester a single match point.
Mike Fitzgerald, Mike Williams and Owen Williams returned to the matchday squad after recovering from injury. Fitzgerald partnered Ed Slater at lock while England international Dan Cole took his place in the front row alongside Marcos Ayerza, who made his 200th start for the club.
Back-rower Mike Williams and fly-half Owen Williams were named on the bench alongside England internationals Ellis Genge and Ben Youngs
JP Pietersen and Luke Hamilton made their first starts at Welford Road while another new signing, George McGuigan, was among the replacements.
Tigers survived an early scare when Sam Jones intercepted a pass on halfway to give Wasps an attacking position in Leicester territory. Elliot Daly looked certain to score but was well tackled by Matt Smith before play was stopped for a penalty against the Tigers. Gopperth landed a simple kick to give Wasps a 3-0 lead.
Tigers overturned the first Wasps lineout and spread play to the opposite flank where Pietersen’s chip ahead skidded into touch 8m out.
It was a cagey opening quarter. A greasy ball meant handling errors on both sides, every breakdown was keenly contested and both sides looked to kick for territory.
Tigers first point-scoring opportunity came midway through the first period, Marty Moore penalised at a scrum and Freddie Burns levelled the scores with a simple kick.
Wasps retook the lead moments later. Tigers were pinged at a defensive maul and Gopperth’s kick gave the visitors a 6-3 advantage.
Mathew Tait reclaimed his own up-and-under to give Tigers possession back in Wasps’ half. Burns tried to press the position with a crossfield kick towards Adam Thompstone that was touched down in-goal by Christian Wade ahead of Adam Thompstone.
Wade was then involved at the other end for the game’s first try. Gopperth found space down the narrow side and angled a kick back inside and behind the Tigers defence. Wade won the racve to the ball to score next to the posts. Gopperth’s conversion gave Wasps a 13-3 lead.
Tigers hit back quickly. Pietersen turned Josh Bassett with a kick ahead that the Wasps winger failed to deal with. Tigers piled into the ruck to retrieve possession 4m, Harrison went back to the narrowside and McCaffrey used Pietersen as a decoy before forcing his way past Joe Simpson to score.
It went unconverted to leave Tigers 13-8 behind eight minutes before the break.
Tigers had their tail up now. They drove Wasps back 15m at a maul before Burns tried another angled kick to Thompstone’s flank that evaded the winger into touch.
However, it was Wasps who had the chance to put more points on the board right on the stroke of half time when Tait was whistled for going off his feet, despite the Terrace roaring for a penalty against Wade for holding on. But Gopperth was wide with his kick as Tigers trailed 13-8 at the break.
Wasps made a flying start to the second half with a try in the opening moments. Guy Thompson, the No8, broke a tackle on the Leicester 22 and had a free run to the line. Gopperth converted to leave Tigers 20-8 behind.
Tigers went further behind six minutes into the half. Thompson’s break off the back of a scrum on halfway created the space for Simpson to make ground up to the Tigers 5m line. Sam Jones joined the attack and forced his way over for the score. Gopperth converted to give Wasps a 27-8 lead.
Burns was the architect of Tigers’ second try as the hit back immediately. He chipped over the rushing Wasps defence on his own 22 and regathered to get Tigers on the front foot. His diagonal kick then found Pietersen and while he was stopped just short, he had O’Connor in support before Slater scored at the corner. The try went unconverted and Tigers trailed 27-13.
Burns landed a penalty as Wasps infringed at a breakdown on halfway to cut the deficit by three more points.
And moments later Slater’s work on the deck won another penalty in a similar position, and Burns’s kick left Tigers 27-19 down with 24 minutes left.
Tigers freshened the team with the introduction of Ben Youngs, Mike Williams and Graham Kitchener from the bench.
A high tackle on Pietersen gave Burns a third penalty of the half, but he pulled his kick wide as Tigers stayed eight points behind with 19 minutes left.
And when Jake Cooper-Wooley went off his feet to concede another penalty in Wasps’ territory, referee Greg Garner issued a team warning.
They went down to 14 men almost immediately. The TMO and referee Garner ruled that Thompson’s tackle on Betham was late, and he was shown a yellow card. Burns landed the kick to leave Tigers five points behind.
Tigers brought on fresh legs again with Owen Williams, Mcguigan and Greg Bateman introduced from the bench.
Daly missed the chance to nudge Wasps further ahead when he pulled a penalty from halfway across the posts.
The tension was cranked up around Welford Road with Tigers coming up against a solid Wasps defence. And the hosts were unable to make further niroads before Thompson returned from the sin bin.
Instead, Wasps had the squeeze on at a maul and won the penalty but Gopperth missed a simple kick.
Tigers made a hash of the restart, which was won by James Gaskell. He was knocked in the air by Genge, who saw yellow. But Gopperth was again wide with his kick giving Tigers three minutes to rescue the game.
However, they were reduced to 13 men with 90 seconds on the clock. This time Betham was shown the yellow card for a deliberate knock-on which took referee Garner and his TMO some two minutes to rule on.
It proved a critical decision.

Wasps went for the corner and set up the drive. And with their backs joining in, Gopperth was at the back of the maul to score the decisive try.
Gopperth used up the remaining time before landing his conversion to give Wasps a 34-22 victory.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 8-13 WAS

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 22-34 WAS




Greg Garner

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers

Full Time


Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Penalties Conceded
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
Tackles Won
107/123 87%
119/133 89%
Scrums Won
3/4 25%
3/4 25%
Lineouts Won
12/12 100%
12/12 100%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
15Mathew Tait
14Adam Thompstone
13Peter Betham
12Matt Smith
11JP Pietersen
10Freddie Burns4P
9Sam Harrison
1Marcos Ayerza
2Tom Youngs
3Dan Cole
4Ed Slater1T
5Michael Fitzgerald
7Brendon O'Connor
8Lachlan McCaffrey1T
16George McGuigan
17Ellis Genge
18Greg Bateman
19Graham Kitchener
20Mike Williams
21Ben Youngs
22Owen Williams
23Jack Roberts

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

Rob Miller
Christian Wade
Elliot Daly
Jimmy Gopperth
Josh Bassett
Danny Cipriani
Joe Simpson
Simon McIntyre
Tommy Taylor
Marty Moore
Joe Launchbury
Matt Symons
Sam Jones
Thomas Young
Guy Thompson


Matt Mullan
James Gaskell
Nathan Hughes
Craig Hampson
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI22140856744512258486466
Form Guide
Last Match
Beat Gloucester Rugby 26-5
Past Meeting
Won 38-17
Last Match
Past Meeting
Last Match
Lost to Northampton Saints 36-40
Past Meeting
Lost 17-38