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Tigers dig deep for a point at Wasps

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Leicester Tigers dug deep to take a bonus point from a 22-16 defeat to Wasps in Aaron Mauger's first game in charge.

Tigers trailed 19-0 after 28 minutes of Sunday’s Aviva Premiership clash at the Ricoh Arena as Wasps scored tries through Christian Wade, Tommy Taylor and Dan Robson.
But Tigers scored 16 unanswered points either side of half-time, with centre Peter Betham crossing for his third try of the season and Owen Williams and Freddie Burns chipping away with the boot.
Tigers had opportunities to win the game late on but had to settle for a losing bonus point to take back down the M69.
Mauger, on his first game in charge following the departure of Richard Cockerill this week, was forced into a change before kick-off when Jack Roberts was ruled out through injury. Matt Smith came in to partner Peter Betham at centre with Charlie Thacker named on the bench.
In the pack, Will Evans was named at flanker with Brendon O’Connor at No8.
O’Connor was immediately involved, stealing possession at the first ruck of the game that set Tom Brady on a run down the left but his inside pass was collected by a retreating Wasps defender on his own 22.
However, it was the Wasps who were first to score. Owen Williams failed to deal with a bouncing ball in his 22 and Christian Wade nipped in to get the decisive touch. Jimmy Gopperth converted to give Wasps an early 7-0 lead.
Tigers responded by winning the restart and putting together a series of phases to take play back into the Wasps 22. However, Tommy Taylor won a holding-on penalty against Brady.
Tigers infringed at consecutive Wasps’ lineouts, allowing them to gain ground and eventually threaten from the Leicester 5m line. Kearnan Myall set up the drive and hooker Taylor finished at the right-hand corner.
Leicester again won the restart and again played their way into the Wasps 22. But another mistake, this time a knock-on by Mike Williams, allowed Wasps to clear the danger.
Wasps were a constant threat in attack and created a huge overlap on the Leicester left, but were unable to make it count as Tigers got across to close out the space. Mike Williams looked to have stolen possession but was pinged for hands in the ruck.
Tigers defended the lineout well and then stole possession in front of their posts for Ben Youngs to clear.
Tigers did all the hard work again to take play deep into the Wasps 22 again, 15 minutes before the break. But Genge was isolated under the posts and pinged for holding on.
Wasps broke through Gopperth and his inside pass sent Josh Bassett towards the Leicester line. He was stopped by Burns but Dan Robson followed up to score a simple try. Converted by Gopperth it gave Wasps a 19-0 lead.
Burns, with the advantage of a deliberate knock-on, chipped Crossfield for O’Connor who volleyed ahead. However, he was beaten to the bouncing ball in-goal by Kurtley Beale. Play came back for the penalty and Owen Williams put Tigers onto the board.
Wade pirouetted out of Mike Fitzgerald’s tackle but was stopped by last-man Brady with help from Genge, as Tigers continued to come under heavy pressure with half-time approaching.
Genge was involved at the start of the second half to win a penalty against Bassett in midfield. Tigers controlled the drive at the resulting penalty lineout and won another penalty as they mauled infield. Williams landed his kick to cut the deficit to 19-6.
Tigers were forced into a change in the 46th minute. Owen Williams came off with an arm injury to be replaced by George Worth. Worth went to full-back with Burns going to fly-half.
Tigers made a strong start to the second half and scored a try after 50 minutes. Brady created it with a chip over the defence which he reclaimed. Brady was tackled just short but Peter Betham followed up to score at the next phase. Burns converted to leave Leicester 19-13 behind.
Tigers were on top at the scrum and won another penalty to take play back up to the Wasps 22. From the lineout, Tigers piled into phase after phase. It created room for Brady to step off his wing and almost find a way through through before Smith was tackled into touch as he reached for the line.
James Haskell on as a replacement, announced himself with a big tackle on Burns that did more damage to himself. Play was stopped with Tigers on the attack and Haskell taken off for concussion. He was replaced by James Gaskell.
Wasps rang the changes in their front row, but the result was the same when play restarted with a scrum with Leicester winning another penalty. Burns had a simple kick to leave Leicester 19-16 behind going into the last quarter.
Graham Kitchener came on for Fitzgerald and Thacker replaced Smith for his Premiership debut.
It was a stirring contest, played at huge speed. However, the Tigers cause was not helped by a yellow card for Dan Cole as he impeded Joe Simpson at a ruck on the Leicester 22.
The momentum swung towards the hosts and it needed quick thinking by Burns to dab down the bouncing ball in front of Bassett.
Wasps continued to press and claimed a try when a 10-man maul crossed the line but the ball was held up by a Leicester hand.
Tigers, now with Pat Cilliers on at tighthead and George McGuigan at hooker, held firm in the resulting scrum and won the penalty to take play towards halfway.
Tigers were restored to 15 men for the final four minutes. Tigers hammered away at the Wasps defence and looked to have created a half chance on the left, but the ball was spilled by Betham and with it went the final opportunity.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

WAS 19-3 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

WAS 22-16 LEI




Craig Maxwell-keys


Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Penalties Conceded
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
Tackles Won
114/128 89%
66/87 76%
Scrums Won
4/5 20%
8/8 0%
Lineouts Won
17/17 100%
10/10 100%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
15Freddie Burns1C1P
14Adam Thompstone
13Peter Betham1T
12Matt Smith
11Tom Brady
10Owen Williams2P
9Ben Youngs
1Ellis Genge
2Tom Youngs
3Dan Cole
4Ed Slater
5Michael Fitzgerald
6Mike Williams
7Will Evans
8Brendon O'Connor
16George McGuigan
17Greg Bateman
19Graham Kitchener
20Lachlan McCaffrey
21Sam Harrison
22George Worth
23Charlie Thacker

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

Kurtley Beale
Christian Wade
Elliot Daly
Kyle Eastmond
Josh Bassett
Jimmy Gopperth
Dan Robson
Matt Mullan
Tommy Taylor
Marty Moore
Matt Symons
Kearnan Myall
Thomas Young
Guy Thompson
Nathan Hughes


Simon McIntyre
Phil Swainston
James Gaskell
James Haskell
Joe Simpson
Danny Cipriani
Rob Miller
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI22140856744512258486466
Form Guide
Last Match
Lost to Northampton Saints 36-40
Past Meeting
Lost 17-38
Last Match
Past Meeting
Last Match
Lost to Sale Sharks 13-21
Past Meeting
Won 38-17