A try from Jordan Olowofela and the kicking of replacement Johnny McPhillips gave Leicester Tigers a 14-8 victory over Worcester Warriors at Welford Road on Saturday afternoon.
Tigers, with one home defeat since October, edged in front around the hour mark and ended the game strongly to take the four points in Round 12 of the Gallagher Premiership campaign.
Telusa Veainu had a score disallowed in the game’s opening attack and it was Warriors who got in front until Olowofela’s intervention just after the half-hour.
After reaching the break level at 8-8, McPhillips added the only points in the second half on a blustery and bitterly cold afternoon as Tigers ended a five-match winning run by the Warriors in this encounter.
Noel Reid got the game underway, kicking towards the Mattioli Woods Stand and with the wind at Tigers’ backs, and just 76 seconds had elapsed when Telusa Veainu picked off a pass from Ollie Lawrence on halfway and ran clear to dot down behind the posts.
But referee Adam Leal called for a knock-on by George Worth ahead of the intercept and brought play back for a Warriors scrum which ended in a penalty against Tigers.
The whistle blew again for a tackle off the ball after the lineout and Duncan Weir turned down a kick at goal into the wind to keep play in the corner. Tigers resisted the forward drive for the line but Warriors had another lineout five metres out and then another penalty.
This time Warriors lost ball forward and, although Lawrence dived over the tryline, play came back for a defensive scrum.
Tigers had spent almost all of the opening 10 minutes inside their own 22, but had brief respite from an unusual source when referee Leal collided with Warriors full-back Jamie Shillcock in midfield. As the game waited to restart with a scrum, Noel Reid left the field, to be replaced by Johnny McPhillips.
Warriors retained ball and, after Veainu had stopped a charge from Ted Hill, they recycled and Perry Humphreys found space to run in and score to the left of the posts. Weir was unable to add the extras with his team five points in front on 13 minutes.
A quick throw between Jonah Holmes and Veainu finally gave Tigers some promising ball in the opposite half of the field where Warriors were penalised three times in quick succession. At the third call, McPhillips asked for the tee and kicked his first Premiership points to make it 3-5 on 24 minutes.
Another 10 minutes elapsed before Olowofela’s try, winning the foot-race to a superb kick down the line by White after picking up loose ball on the back of a Warriors ruck. McPhillips was just wide with the conversion kick but Tigers were 8-5 in front with five minutes of the opening half to play.
But Weir had the last word, levelling the scores just before the break with another penalty, though Tigers had Veainu to thank for hauling down an incisive break from Lawrence just short of the tryline.
Some strong work in possession and composure to recycle ball gave Tigers some good momentum in attack, with Dan Cole’s carry gaining territory almost up to the tryline before he was closed out. Nephi Leatigaga joined the Tigers front row as play came back for a Warriors knock-on in the contact and the scrum brought a penalty which McPhillips kicked for an 11-8 lead.
Joe Thomas joined the backline for his Premiership debut on 68 minutes and Harry Wells took on the captaincy when Cole was replaced in the closing 10 minutes.
Two big set-piece drives got Tigers going forward again and a clever kick from White had Warriors scrambling back ahead of Jonah Holmes with the clock ticking down towards the closing five minutes.
Leatigaga was at the centre of the work as Tigers kept Warriors pinned back on their own line, until Veainu spun a long pass out to Olowofela on the left. He reached out to the line but, after repeated looks from TMO and referee, there was no conclusive proof of a touchdown.
Play, though, did come back for a penalty in front of the posts. With the home crowd in good voice, the call was for a scrum and another whistle followed with a minute remaining on the clock.
McPhillips made the kick for a 14-8 lead, though he had already been told the game would restart and Tigers managed to reclaim ball to close out an important victory.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
Thank you to the Tigers Family for playing a part in this afternoon's victory - whether you were part of the 18,268 here at Welford Road or following the action from elsewhere, your support is much appreciated.
FULL TIME | 14-8
Tigers extend their unbeaten home record with another hard-fought win at Welford Road.
...and it's through!
POINT TO POSTS
Johnny McPhillips opts for three more points from the tee...
And the big boys win a scrum penalty. Ben White thinks about a tap-and-go, but referee Leal pauses play as he speaks to the Worcester caotain. Less than a minute left on the clock.
...but the Tigers forwards will have another bite of the cherry as they pack down for a scrum right under the Worcester posts.
TMO | NO TRY!
Looks like this game will be book-ended with two disallowed Tigers tries.
Olowofela is judged to have lost control at the point of grounding. Unlucky, Jordan...
OVER THE CORNER FLAG
The forwards almost get the job done, but scrum-half White spots an overlap on the left where Jordan Olowofela may have got the ball down as he is tackled into touch.
We'll check with TMO David Grashoff...
Welford Road finds its voice as Tigers use 'route one', with big heavy carriers right up to the whitewash.
Jonah Holmes pops a pass from the base of a ruck to open up the field for Joe Thomas, who draws three defenders as he find the space.
The ball comes back to Ben White, who kicks in behind the Warriors line.
TWO MORE CHANGES
Both of the Joes - Heyes and Batley - are now into the action, in place of Cole and Lavanini, respectively.
Tigers contest the lineout well, and Worcester infringe.
Ben White guides a Worcester kick into touch as the visitors make ground up towards the Mattioli Woods Stand.
Joe Thomas is on for his Premiership debut, in place of George Worth.
Tigers are pinged for a high tackle as they approach the Warriors 22.
SUBSTITUTION FOR WORCESTER
The Warriors have made a change to their front row, too, with Niall Annett now on for captain Matt Moulds.
CHANGE AT HOOKER
Tatafu Polota-Nau is on the field in place of starting hooker Jake Kerr.
ON THE EDGE
Worcester go through the gears as they test Tigers down the left, but Holmes has the last man covered.
The ball comes back in field, where Lance tries a chip through, but it's blocked and Lavanini dives over with his full frame to secure possession.
Alan Solomons removes fly-half Duncan Weir from play, with Jono Lance taking his place.
TIGERS TAKE THE LEAD
Johnny McPhillips kicks three more points to give Tigers the lead in this match.
Tigers take the slack at a five-metre scrum in the right-hand corner, but captain Cole opts for three points rather than another shot at a rolling maul this time around.
23 FOR 11
Worcester have swapped Nick David for No23 Scott van Breda.
Nephi Leatigaga replaces Leicester loosehead Greg Bateman.
ROUND THE CORNER
Ben White ups the tempo as he feeds heavy runners off the back of each ruck, and Tigers are up to the five-metre line...
Richard Palframan is on for Nick Schonert at tighthead for Worcester.
THE LOCALS ARE RESTLESS...
The Welford Road crowd want to see the ball in play, but we'll have a rest from the scrum.
Take two, and Kyle Eastmond makes a half break before McPhillips dabs through once again.
TO ME, TO YOU
The ball goes this way and that - much too quickly to type with cold fingers - but Tigers have the scrum well into the Worcester half.
SQUEAKY BUM TIME
Liebenberg grabs the ball at the lineout, but Leicester lose possession and Worcester hack on as Hougaard eyes a score.
Veainu gets back in the knick of time to shepherd the ball dead, and wins his side a 22 drop-out.
INTO THE RED ZONE
McPhillips eyes some empty space in behind the white wall and he puts Tigers into a great position in the final quarter of the field.
Worcester scramble to return it, and so Kerr will throw in from halfway.
KNOCK-ON FROM WORCESTER
Ben White gets his Tigers team out of their half with another high box kick, and Holmes jumps high to force Nick David into a knock on.
Scrum-half White will have the feed at a scrum just inside the visitors' half.
BACK ROW CHANGE
Jordan Taufua is replaced by No20 Tommy Reffell.
Both sides opt for air as play rumbles one way and another over halfway, and Veainu chases hard to put Shillcock uncer huge pressure on the edge of his 22.
Just as we type that, Lawrence finds half a hole in the Leicester line once more, but Lavanini is there to hold up the man in the next phase of play.
The ball is worked back to the left, where referee Leal calls for a scrum.
Greg Bateman joins forces with No8 Sione Kalamafoni to batter the Worcester attack back inside the Tigers half.
PLAY ON HALFWAY
Tigers keep Worcester pinned back in their own half in the early passages of this second period.
SECOND HALF IS GO
Worcester kick-off in the second half at Welford Road.
HALF TIME | 8-8
A ragged first half at Welford Road - with moments of brilliance for both sides - and there's nothing in it on the scoreboard as Tigers run up the tunnel for half-time oranges.
ALL SQUARE AT WELFORD ROAD
After the hubbub dies down, Weir opts for a shot at goal - looks like the final offence was a Tigers offside - and he nails it.
That takes the score eight points apiece as we approach the half-time break.
THROUGH THE LINE
Ollie Lawrence finds a hole in the Leicester line and he barrels through and almost in to score, but Tigers batter the Worcester runners back with some desperate defence.
The time is off after Worcester lose the ball, and there's some handbags after the whistle is blown. Lawrence receievs treatment after his run.
Tigers look to inject some more pace into this game with a quick throw after Worcester find touch. But the pass is misplaced and referee Leal calls for a scrum.
McPhillips can't quite add the extras from the touchline, but there's a round of applause for a decent attempt in this swirling wind. Tigers lead by eight points to five.
OLOWOFELA TOUCHES DOWN
There's a foot race to the ball on the left-hand side, and replays show Jordan Olowofela ground the ball as he slides into the hoardings.
Tigers win the ball back on the far side as it's dislodged from the Worcester man, and they opt for the sky as the attack resets.
Neither side seems to be able to make much ground with ball in hand at the moment, though Jonah Holmes is unlucky to fall on the wrong side to disrupt a Warriors ruck in front of the dugouts.
Duncan Weir's spin pass to Ted Hill is well forward, but Hanro Liebenberg is there to crunch his opposite number for good measure.
The England hopeful takes a moment to catch his breath, and we'll go again from a Tigers scrum.
The Tigers scrum hold strong as Ben White feeds down the tunnel, and then out form Sione Kalamafoni's feet to a waiting McPhillips. He makes great ground downfield with his kick.
Tomás Lavanini climbs highest at the Worcester lineout, but can't quite get a finger to the ball ... though neither can the men in white.
Jake Kerr's eyes light up as he sees the ball fly towards him over the top of the pack, but it's unexepcted and he knocks on. Scrum down.
THREE FROM THE TEE
McPhillips splits the uprights and, with it, scores his first Premiership points. Tigers trail by three points to five.
SHOT AT GOAL
Match referee Leal finally blows for side entry from the Worcester forwards, and McPhillips eyes up the posts...
The visitors sack the lineout as Tigers look to set up a drive, but they're pinged just a couple of phases later as Nick Schonert goes well off his feet.
McPhillips opts for touch once again.
NOT TO SCRIPT
The lineout throw doesn't quote go to plan this time around, and Weir cleans up from the back. Kerr will have another go, this time on the 22.
Andrew Kitchener replaces Anton Bresler in the Warriors second row.
TO THE CORNER
Worcester concede a penalty on the ground and McPhillips makes no mistake with the touchfinder. Jake Kerr to throw in, 10 metres from the Warriors line.
Jonah Holmes feeds the ball back on to the field quickly after Shillcock kicks to touch, and back three colleague Veainu gets Tigers some great ground into the guts of the Warriors defence.
CALL THE MARK
Tigers string together some more neat play off the top of the lineout, and Ben White hoists one behind Worcester lines, though they call for the mark.
Francois Hougaard takes his time in setting his blockers for a box kick over halfway ... but it's not a particularly testing one, and the return from Veainu is inch-perfect, and it rolls beyond opposite man Jamie Shillcock into touch. Nice.
BOUNCE OF THE BALL
Telusa Veainu looks to thread a cheeky kick through the Worcester line, though it's blocked by Ryan Mills. The ball bounces off the inside centre's chest, and it's into the hands of Sione Kalamafoni. Tigers still in possession...
Weir's kick from the tee goes awry, so Worcester's lead is pinned at five points.
Perry Humphreys latches on to some prolonged play in the Tigers 22 and scores the opening try of the match.
WELFORD ROAD DEBUT
Johnny McPhillips is on for his home debut in the Gallagher Premiership, as Noel Reid is replaced at fly-half.
ON THE FRINGES
Tigers weather the storm on their line, but Worcester are soon back in possession on the edge of the 22. They get the ball out to their backs ... and they run clean into referee Leal!
Cue laughter from the crowd and blushes from the match official...
Ollie Lawrence has just dived over for Worcester after intercepting a Tigers pass on the line ... but only after his side knocked on a couple of phases earlier, and the home side were playing with the advantage.
Scrum down on the Tigers five-metre line.
Tigers are called on in defence once more as the Warriors hit it up through their big forwards, but the last pass from centre Ryan Mills to wing Nick David is spilled into touch.
The visitors claim their lineout in the Tigers 22, but can't create anything as the ball is whipped in field ... but Jordan Taufua looks to have taken a man off the ball, so we'll come back for a penalty.
Weir kicks to the corner once again...
Worcester win a penalty at the first scrum of the afternoon, and fly-half Duncan Weir kicks the Warriors into the corner.
TMO | NO TRY!
Tigers pull the trigger off the top of a sharp Jake Kerr throw-in, lose the ball in midfield, but Telusa Veainu scoops up - much like he did here two weeks ago - and runs into score.
But match referee Adam Leal wants to check with his TMO ... and it's decided that the ball was knocked on. No try.
KICK-OFF FROM WELFORD ROAD
Noel Reid boots the ball downfield and we're underway at Welford Road.
HERE THEY COME!
Smoke on the Water rings out around Welford Road, and the crowd ROAR! Here come your Tigers...
INTO THE SHEDS
Matchday captain Dan Cole leads his side up the tunnel for one last pep talk ahead of this one.
WEATHER UPDATE | FIVE MINUTES TO GO
Despite being lashed by heavy rain overnight, the Welford Road pitch looks in top condition this afternoon, and – believe it or not – there’s sunshine over the stadium right now!
…but there’s also a grim black cloud heading over the horizon, so looks like we’re set for another afternoon of mixed conditions. Five minutes to go until kick-off.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS
Back-rowers Jordan Taufua and Sione Kalamafoni plus scrum-half Ben White all return to the starting XV after returning to fitness this week.
Forwards Jake Kerr and Harry Wells are also recalled to the Leicester line-up, with George Worth an injury-enforced change for Jaco Taute at outside centre.
Joe Thomas is named among the replacements and could make his first Premiership appearance.
The Warriors line-up includes Tigers Academy graduate Perry Humphreys and lock Graham Kitchener who returned to the club this season after eight years and 175 appearances in green, white and red. His younger brother, Andrew, is among the replacements.
See the full match line-ups by clicking here, or scrolling down on this page.
CRUCIAL FOR LEADERS TO SHOW THE WAY, SAYS KYLE
Leicester centre Kyle Eastmond has called on the Tigers squad to step up and be counted in this afternoon’s all-important fixture.
“I think it’s crucial that the leaders show the way in this part of the season,” he said.
“You can lean on the experiences we have had and find the answers, but for me … I don’t think that changes from any other week.
“There might be responsibility when the internationals are away but you have that responsibility every week when you wear the shirt.
“Ultimately it is about us, about Leicester going out and forcing ourselves on to the game.”
REID DRAWS STRENGTH FROM FRIDAY FRUSTRATION
Fly-half Noel Reid insists the Leicester Tigers squad must not forget the lessons of last week’s loss at Sale.
And he told LeicesterTigers.com how frustration in last Friday’s game has driven the squad into putting in a strong performance at home this afternoon.
“We talked about it as a group of players on Monday, and we definitely have to take the learnings from that game,” Reid said, when asked about the reaction to Round 11.
“We can’t just put it in a box and forget about it. We can’t afford to make those mistakes again.
“All we’re thinking about is Worcester this weekend and putting in an 80-minute performance that our supporters can be proud of.”
Read more of Reid’s exclusive chat with LeicesterTigers.com, right here.
MATCH PREVIEW | TIGERS FACE WARRIORS
Just four points separates Leicester and Worcester in the Gallagher Premiership table heading into this afternoon’s fixture.
The clubs have near-identical records so far, with Warriors scoring 184 points in their 11 games and conceding 271, while the Tigers record is 180-270. Alan Solomons’ side have, though, recorded one more win and are a league table place better off than their Round 12 hosts.
Despite tricky away form so far this campaign, Tigers’ only home defeat in any competition since October was against league leaders Exeter Chiefs at Christmas.
Read our full match preview here, or scroll down on this page.
WELCOME TO MATCHDAY LIVE!
We’re LIVE from Welford Road where Leicester Tigers take on Worcester Warriors in Round 12 of this season’s 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.