London Irish scored a bonus-point victory over Leicester Tigers on a disappointing afternoon for Geordan Murphy’s men at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday.
The teams occupied the bottom two places in the Gallagher Premiership table after Saturday’s results in Round 4 and tries from Ollie Hoskins and Ben Loader in the first 20 minutes put Irish on their way to a 36-11 triumph.
In a first half punctuated by penalties and scrums, Tigers registered just two penalty kicks from Tom Hardwick before a controversial score from Ruan Botha in added time made it 22-6 in favour of the hosts at the break.
The second period continued in a similar fractious and disjointed manner with Waisake Naholo adding a fourth try for the hosts and then Tom Parton the fifth as Tigers failed to register a point until Jonah Holmes dotted down in the final play.
Back-rower Jordan Taufua made his Tigers debut but Hanro Liebenberg and Tatafu Polota-Nau joined Tommy Reffell, Will Spencer, Kyle Eastmond and full-back Telusa Veainu, who was injured in the win over Gloucester in Round 3, on the sidelines. Sam Aspland-Robinson was ruled out on the day of the game too, with Ifereimi Boladau coming on to the bench.
Tigers, wearing the club’s fluoro-red alternate kit and poppy armbands in this Remembrance Sunday fixture, got the game under way and had immediate advantage from a knock-on but were kept out in the area around the Irish 22-metre line.
Irish eventually made their way out and earned three penalties on the right side before creating a breakthrough score for prop Hoskins from a lineout drive.
Hardwick then kicked his opening points with a penalty given for offside 35 metres out.
After failing to exit cleanly from the restart, Tigers were again blown for offside on the blindside of a ruck and defended another close-range lineout before Irish were held up on the tryline.
At the intervention of the television match official, though, Tigers were awarded a penalty for a neck-roll on Guy Thompson.
But they cleared only 20 metres upfield, and then spilled ball at the lineout which proved costly as Irish attacked from the scrum to score a second try through wing Loader. Stephen Myler’s conversion made it 12-3 with a quarter of the game played.
Greg Bateman and flanker Thompson combined in attack and this time infringed on the floor and Hardwick added the kick from 20 metres to pull his team within a score at 12-6.
The period approaching half-time was going to be crucial and Myler supplied another three points with a 40-metre penalty to stretch the lead two minutes from the break.
But worse was to follow for the visitors as Tigers lost ball in attack with 40 minutes already elapsed and Irish quickly countered to allow Botha to force his way over on the left.
Referee Doyle was called back to check for a potential forward pass and TMO Sean Davey believed the ball had left the hand of the Irish player three yards short of his own 22 and was caught on the line. But, after watching the replays, the officials on the field called it flat and went with the original verdict of a try. Myler added the kick to make it 22-6.
Tigers began the second period with Facundo Gigena and Ifereimi Boladau on for Bateman and Taufua.
The whistle continued to punctuate proceedings with Irish receiving a warning from Doyle for repeated infringements in the corner. After three separate lineout drives, they kept Tigers out, but gave away two more penalties near halfway with Tigers in possession.
Ferocious defence hit another lineout drive in the same corner before a flare-up among the forwards which brought another talking-to from the referee for both captains.
Tomas Lavanini joined the pack on 55 minutes with play bogged down between set-pieces in the central third of the field and Tigers created their best opportunity when Forsyth burst through on an arc in midfield but the chance went begging when he missed Holmes with the pass inside.
Then, when Tigers lost ball under a high kick on their 22, Irish quickly switched play with a kick out to Naholo, who managed to dot down under pressure from Holmes in the corner for their bonus-point score. Myler struck the conversion well to make it 29-6 on 66 minutes.
Irish saw out the last few minutes with 14 men when replacement Matt Rogerson received a yellow card for 'team offences' but they held out a promising Tigers attack in the corner and were then penalised for barging Lavanini over a ruck as they defended their own line.
Tigers kept them pinned back, but then conceded a fifth try when they spilled ball 20 metres out and Irish replacement Tom Parton raced away 80 metres to dive in under the posts. Nick Phipps added the kick to stretch the lead.
Holmes grabbed his team’s first points since the opening half-hour when he slid into the left-hand corner in the last attack of the game, but Hardwick was just short of the near post with his conversion kick.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
Thank you to those of you who followed this afternoon's action on Matchday Live.
The Gallagher Premiership now takes a two-week break, with Tigers back in action against French club Pau in the European Challenge Cup next Saturday, November 16 (3.00pm). We'll see you back at Welford Road.
FULL TIME | 36-11
Tigers come away from the Madejski Stadium empty-handed after a scrappy affair in Round 4 of the Gallagher Premiership.
...and that pretty much sums up the day. Hardwick's conversion attempt from the touchline slides wide, and that's the game.
White goes quickly from the mark, and the ball comes out to the left for Jonah Holmes to sprint over for a consolation try.
Ben White bursts through off the back of a Tigers scrum, but is brought down illegally in front of the posts. Leicester will have the final play.
AND THE EXTRAS
Nick Phipps converts the try with just over a minute remaining in this match.
Tigers hit it up in the final quarter of the pitch, but Tom Parton pounces on a loose pass to run in an interception try.
Paddy Jackson comes off for blood, and Matt Williams joins play as Irish empty their bench.
PENALTY AT THE RUCK
Lavanini is taken out at the side of the ruck as Irish give away a soft penalty in their 22. Hardwick goes for the corner once more.
WHITE FOR HARRISON
Ben White joins the fray, in place of Sam Harrison.
Matt Rogerson is shown a yellow card, and the home side will be down to 14 men for the remainder of the match.
TO ME, TO YOU
Tigers hold strong at the scrum, and Harrison creates a neat move with Hardwick as the ball is shipped out quickly to the right.
CHANGE AT 8
Albert Tuisue is off the field, replaced by George Nott.
IRISH KNOCK ON
Irish knock on, and despite playing on with the advantage, Doyle brings Tigers back for the scrum just inside their own 22.
HOLMES CLEARS UP
Irish press on into the final quarter off the pitch from their lineout, with Jackson - now operating at fly-half - trying to find Naholo with a kick through.
Jonah Holmes gets there first, though, and puts boot to ball with a decent clearance kick.
Exiles try-scorer Ollie Hoskins is replaced by Lovejoy Chawatama at tighthead as the home side kick into the Leicester 22.
Some neat touches from the Tigers front row as the game gets back underway, with Leatigaga feeding the runner and Gigena putting in a neat pass moments later.
COGHLAN FOR KALAMAFONI
Jordan Coghlan is on in the Tigers back row in place of Sione Kalamafoni.
Myler takes a seat among the replacements as Tom Parton runs onto the field.
The touchline conversion from Myler is through, and Irish lead 29 points to six.
London Irish have their fourth try after working the ball out to Waisake Naholo on the right wing, who powers through Jonah Holmes to touch down.
Clare's first involvement is a throw to the new captain, and the ball is worked up to halfway with another big carry from Boladau before a show-and-go, then half-break, from Harrison.
CHANGE AT HOOKER
Charlie Clare replaces Tom Youngs in the Tigers front row, and Calum Green will take on the captaincy.
Tigers think they're through on the right, but the pass is beyond the reach of fly-half Reid. Tough stuff after a slick switch in midfield.
Jordan Olowofela has to be helped from the field as he is replaced by George Worth in the visitors' backline.
PHIPPS ON FOR DEBUT
Australia international Nick Phipps is on for his London Irish debut, in place of Ben Meehan at scrum-half.
IRISH MARCH ON
The home side win a penalty as the game restarts, and kick to the corner for a lineout throw.
TJ Ioane is replaced by Matt Rogerson in the Irish back row.
LEATIGAGA FOR HEYES
Another hour-long shift from Joe Heyes, as Nephi Leatigaga takes his place on the field.
HIGH BALL HARRISON
The scrum-half is immediately involved as he clears his lines with a decent box kick over Irish heads.
Loader takes it, but Tigers win the ball back and push forward through Lavanini and co.
Tomás Lavanini is onto the field in place of Harry Wells.
Another breakdown penalty, but this one goes Tigers' away. Hardwick kicks clear once more.
The ball comes off the top of the lineout, and there's a neat piece of play from scrum-half Sam Harrison, who is folded in half as he kicks the ball through. He's up and back into the action, and we'll restart with a scrum.
CHANGE AT LOOSEHEAD
The home side swap Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi for Allan Dell.
Irish win the ball back as the game restarts, and then Myler spots a patch of clear grass behind the Tigers line. He dinks through and finds touch on the far side.
TEMPERS BOIL OVER
Tigers take umbrage with an iffy-looking clearout on halfway, and Doyle has to break the two packs apart. The referee takes a look on the big screens, but decides there's nothing in it.
NOT THIS TIME
Harrison uses the ball off the back of another heavy maul, and the ball comes back to the left at first, before switching back to the right.
Kalamafoni finds himself as the last man on the wing with an overlap, but the final pass is behind him and the ball bobbles into touch.
CAUGHT IN CONTACT
Tigers haven't added any points in this second half so far, but it's not through any lack of trying. Some more big carries across the field - with a special mention to replacement prop Gigena - and Hardwick is caught awkwardly as he slips into the final tackle.
He's alright, though, and kick to touch for another Tigers throw.
LONDON IRISH CHANGE
Moto Matu'u joins play as he replaces hooker Saia Fainga'a.
The Exiles go off their feet as the game restarts, and Doyle warns the defending team that the next offence will be a yellow card.
But they win a turnover five metres out from their line and kick clear.
CHECK WITH TMO
Sione Kalamafoni takes the throw, and Tigers set up a drive well into the home 22. An Irish defender is caught diving in dangerously, though, and after a check with TMO Sean Davey it's a penalty only.
Boladau is into the action immediately, as one of several big bodies trucking the ball deep into the Irish 22. Tigers win a penalty in front of the posts, but opt to kick to the corner instead.
A couple of changes at half-time for Tigers, as Facundo Gigena replaces Greg Bateman and Ifereimi Boladau takes the place of Jordan Taufua, who is off for a HIA.
SECOND HALF IS GO
Paddy Jackson puts boot to ball to start the second half at the Madejski Stadium.
HALF TIME | 22-6
Tigers trail at the break after three Exiles tries in the first half. Plenty for Geordan Murphy's men to do after the break...
FINAL POINTS OF THE HALF
Myler's conversion squeaks through inside the upright, and that's the final points of the first half.
...and the try is awarded, with Ruan Botha the scorer.
TMO: FORWARD PASS?
...and the Exiles think they're over the line. But we'll check for a forward pass in the build-up...
Tom Youngs feeds the ball into the lineout as the clock ticks dead, and Harrison has to use it from the back of a stationary maul.
Hardwick slips through two tackles deep into the 22, but the ball is spilled moments later into Irish hands...
Tigers try to finish this half with a flourish as they put in some real heavy-duty carries. Hardwick feeds outside centre Andy Forsyth, who is wrapped up in midfield, before the ball gets out to Taufua. Once again, it takes more than one man to get him to ground.
THROUGH THE UPRIGHTS
Myler's penalty splits the uprights, and puts the home side 15 points to six ahead with a couple of minutes remaining in this first half.
The Exiles win penalty advantage for an accidental offside on halfway, but it doesn't stop scrum-half Harrison going for an intercept, and grabbing the ball from his man. We'll come back for an Irish kick at goal.
Irish give away a penalty on halfway for not rolling, but it's reversed for the Tigers pack's *ahem* 'communication' with the ref in the last couple of phases.
A warning for Taufua from JP Doyle, there.
Tigers have a lineout throw inside their 22, and Harry Wells climbs highest - beyond the 15-metre line - to claim the ball. The Leicester pack set up a maul, but the home side are done for pulling it down.
OLOWOFELA CARRIES HARD
Irish decide to test the other side of the pitch with their next high ball, this time to Tigers wing Jordan Olowofela.
The young man plucks the ball out of the air brilliantly, and carries on where he left off lats week with a big carry up to the green line.
Referee Doyle speaks to both front rows ahead of this next scrum, just inside the home 22.
Meehan feeds, and puts in a speculative box kick down Holmes' throat. The Wales international does much better with his return.
ANOTHER KNOCK ON
A slick move off the back of the lineout goes awry as Jonah Holmes knocks on in midfield, and we'll pause for some treatment to Leicester loosehead Bateman.
A spot of kick tennis at the restart as Jackson pins Harrison back into the Tigers half, but the scrum-half feeds new boy Jordan Taufua ... and he takes some tackling!
We count three defenders to get the Tigers No8 to ground, but they give away the penalty. Hardwick kicks to touch.
TWO FROM TWO
Hardwick's second kick at goal is successful, and brings Tigers within six points.
BATEMAN BREAKS THROUGH
Greg Bateman makes another of his trademark breaks through midfield, and Thompson is there in support to make a few more metres, but he finds a group of Irish defenders.
They're over the ball illegally, though, and Hardwick points to the posts...
Sam Harrison feeds, and the ball is in for a looong time ... before Doyle awards Tigers the penalty. Nice work from Joe Heyes at tighthead.
The home side win another lineout and bat the ball back, but Myler meets a fluoro-red wall on the left. His scrum-half gets the ball over to the right, but there's a knock-on on the far side, and we'll come back for a Tigers scrum on the edge of the 22.
Myler's conversion attempt is good, and Irish lead 12 points to three.
Tigers make a contest of it at the scrum, but Meehan gets the ball out quickly to set up wing Ben Loader, who breaks a tackle to score.
Calum Green claims the skipper's lineout throw, but the next phase is a little scrappy, and the ball is lost. Irish scrum.
...but as we prepare to restart, TMO Sean Davey is onto to Doyle with evidence of a neck roll against Guy Thompson, and Tigers have a penalty. Hardwick kicks clear to relieve the pressure once more.
The Exiles set up another drive, but resort to one-out runners as they approach the try line. They manage to get over, but it's adjudged held up, so we'll restart with a scrum.
OFFSIDE ... AGAIN
The match officials are really hot on the offside line this afternoon. This time it's second-rower Harry Wells singled out for Tigers, and Irish win another throw within the Leicester red zone.
THREE FROM THE BOOT
...and the kick is good. Hardwick's three-pointer gets Tigers on the board with a quarter of an hour played.
SHOT AT GOAL
And it's Tigers on the right side of JP Doyle once again at the next breakdown, as the home side are pinged for offside. Hardwick sets up a shot at the posts...
GUY ON THE WING
Thompson is looking lively with ball in hand once again, this time with a break down the right wing. He's stopped with an almighty crash from the Irish defender, but it's nice idea.
...but it's not long before the Tigers pack win a breakdown penalty of their own, and Hardwick puts boot to ball for a Leicester throw beyond halfway.
Tigers look to hit back immediately from the restart, and put the ball through the hands to the right. Reid tries a cheeky chip through, but full-back Paddy Jackson blocks the ball with his shins and hacks ahead.
Reid is then pinged for offside a couple of phases later, and Irish kick to touch just outside the Tigers 22.
Myler's conversion attempt is wide, and Irish have a five-point lead with eight minutes gone.
Third time lucky, Irish set up a rolling maul and get over the line through brute strength for the game's opening try.
Scrum-half Ben Meehan thinks he's through from the throw on Tigers' five-metre line, but referee JP Doyle brings it back for a reset throw.
Irish win a penalty as Tigers go off their feet, and the ball is booted into the stands once more...
THOMPSON CUTS THROUGH
The Irish throw goes awry, and Guy Thompson picks up at the back and spots a gap through the Exiles' line.
The home side win the ball back, though, and win another penalty for offside just past halfway. Stephen Myler kicks to the corner for another lineout.
PENALTY ON THE FLOOR
Tigers go right, but find a green wall so switch to the left with some clever inter-play between Hardwick and fly-half Noel Reid.
But it's going to be a tough battle at the breakdwon - from both teams - this afternoon, and Irish win the first penalty on the floor.
London Irish make a mess of the kick-off, and Tigers win an early scrum in the opposition 22.
Sam Harrison whips the ball out quickly...
KICK OFF IN ROUND 4
Tom Hardwick gets us going at the Madejski Stadium.
But first, there will be a minute's silence on this Remembrance Sunday.
Both sides take to the field here in Reading, and we're ready to go in the Gallagher Premiership. Stay tuned for kick-off, coming your way shortly...
FIVE MINUTES TO GO
Tom Youngs leads his team back into the dressing room after completing their final warm-ups on the Madejski pitch. Just moment to go until kick-off in Round 4...
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS
Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy has made a late change to his matchday squad ahead of today’s game.
Back-rower Ifereimi Boladau comes onto the Tigers bench in place of No23 Sam Aspland-Robinson, meaning there will be a 6-2 split among the replacements.
Jordan Taufua’s inclusion in the starting side is the pick of a handful of changes to the team that beat Gloucester in Round 3. Telusa Veainu stands down as a precaution after injury against the Cherry and Whites, and so Jonah Holmes starts at full-back.
Irish include former Tigers centre Terrence Hepetema in the backline and give a debut to New Zealand international Waisake Naholo on the wing with Ireland international Paddy Jackson at full-back. Australia international scrum-half Nick Phipps will make his debut from among the replacements.
See the full match line-ups by clicking here, or scrolling down on this page.
OLOWOFELA CALLS FOR COOL HEADS
Leicester wing Jordan Olowofela has urged Tigers not to let a Round 3 win ‘go to our heads’ ahead of a tough trip to Reading.
The 21-year-old starred last time out at Welford Road, topping the charts for defenders beaten across the most recent round of Gallagher Premiership action.
“Obviously we don’t want to let [a win] go to our heads,” the Tigers Academy graduate told LeicesterTigers.com.
“We reviewed the game on Monday – what went well which we can keep, but also things that went wrong and that we’ve tweaked for this week.
“Each game is hard, and it’s anybody’s [game] out there … but we’re ready for London Irish.”
Catch more of the speedster’s Round 4 preview here.
TAUFUA READY TO GO ON DEBUT
Super Rugby-winning back-rower Jordan Taufua makes his Tigers debut this afternoon.
The high profile summer signing lines up at No8 in his first Premiership appearance, and told LTTV about what he can bring to the side earlier this week.
“For me, as a player ... I love running with the ball, running at people and love smashing people too,” he said. “I want to bring the energy. It’s what I thrive off.
“I know the last couple of years have been tough and hopefully I can come here and bring the energy … and bring Leicester back to what it has been in the past.”
Watch more of the New Zealander’s wide-ranging interview, including a chat about life in Leicester, his first conversation with Geordan Murphy and what supporters can expect from him, here.
TODAY’S MATCH PREVIEW
Geordan Murphy goes up against former national team boss Declan Kidney as Tigers take on London Irish this afternoon.
Murphy’s men take on the Exiles for the first time since the Reading-based outfit won promotion back to the top flight under director of rugby Kidney, the former coach of Ireland.
Irish began the season with a 29-26 win at Wasps but have lost to Sale Sharks and Saracens in the last two weeks while Tigers enjoyed a first win of the season in a 16-13 victory over Gloucester at Welford Road last weekend.
Read our full match preview here, or scroll down on this page.
WELCOME TO MATCHDAY LIVE!
We’re LIVE from the Madejski Stadium for Tigers’ Gallagher Premiership Round 4 match against London Irish, with kick-off at 2.30pm.
Follow all the action as it happens with our Matchday Live coverage, right here on the Tigers App and LeicesterTigers.com.