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Williams holds nerve as Tigers win thriller

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Owen Williams landed a monster penalty from inside his own half to give Leicester Tigers an 18-16 victory over Munster Rugby in a thrilling Champions Cup clash in front of Welford Road's biggest-ever European crowd.

Williams’s 45m kick with 90 seconds on the clock gave Tigers their second win in Pool 1 and kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages.
Tigers had led 15-9 going into the closing stages but Niall Scannell’s try, converted fortuitously by Tyler Bleyendaal, edged Munster into the lead with three minutes remaining.
But Heineken Man-of-the-Match Williams, who kicked all of Tigers’ points in a faultless display from the tee, kept his nerve to record a famous victory.
Tigers made three changes with Pat Cilliers, Luke Hamilton and Jack Roberts coming into the team for their first starts for Tigers in the Champions Cup.
Roberts partnered Manu Tuilagi at centre with Owen Williams moving to fly-half after injury to Freddie Burns. Cilliers was named at tighthead, with Hamilton in the back row alongside Brendon O'Connor and Lachlan McCaffrey.
The game kicked off in incredible noise with both sets of fans contributing to a brilliant atmosphere.
The game started at breakneck speed and Tigers looked to run it as much as possible with Tuilagi asked to make three carries in the opening minutes. His centre partner Roberts also made yards on his first carry before Betham was tackled into touch on the Munster 22.
Munster were awarded the game’s first penalty when George Worth was ruled to have obstructed Simon Zebo’s kick-chase. Tyler Bleyendaal was on target with his penalty from 40m to give Munster a 3-0 lead.
Tigers threatened from a scrum no the Munster 22 but when Roberts broke onto Williams’s offload he spilled possession in the tackle.
The home crowd then appealed for a penalty when Rory Scannell appeared to block Tuilagi’s run onto a kick-through by Williams.
Instead, Munster were able to clear and then a penalty on halfway allowed Bleyndaal to kick them up to the Tigers 22.
Bleyendaal was able to kick for the posts after another lineout drive was stopped illegally, doubling the visitors’ advantage after 18 minutes.
Tigers felt they should have been awarded a penalty as Niall Scannell dived off his feet at a ruck to win possession before Tom Youngs was pinged for clearing out at a ruck. Bleyendaal pulled his kick horribly across the posts, to the relief of the Tigers fans in the crowd.
Tigers ended the half with 14 men after Tuilagi was shown a yellow card for a no-arms tackle on Rory Scannell.
Tigers responded with a bullocking run down the left by Ellis Genge, who took some four defenders to stop. The ball was moved inside where Munster went off their feet to concede a penalty under their posts. No card followed, but Williams did cut the Munster lead to 6-3 with his kick.
Tigers were level moments later. Genge’s carrying again giving them go-forward, Roberts made further ground before Munster were ruled offside. Williams landed his kick to level the game at 6-6.
Roberts fielded the restart and, thinking time was up, kicked into touch. However, there were five seconds remaining. Munster then won a penalty at the lineout drive but Bleyendaal skewed his kick wide to send the teams in at half-time level at 6-6.
Munster were the first to press in the second half and won a penalty as Brendon O’Connor fell foul of referee Pascal Gauzere for not rolling. Bleyendaal landed a simple penalty to give Munster a three-point lead.
Tom Youngs responded by dragging his team into Munster territory, but Peter Betham’s pass went into touch as he tried to make the most of his captain’s break.
Donnocah Ryan then flew into a ruck with no arms to concede a penalty on his 10m line. Referee Gauzere gave Tigers the penalty and Williams drew them level at 9-9 with his kick.
Lachlan McCaffrey then won a holding-on penalty off Zebo as Tigers withstood the next wave of Munster attacks, and Williams’s kick took them back into the visitors’ half.
A thrilling run by Roberts turned defence into attack and took Tigers deep into Munster territory. Betham and Hamilton made further ground before Munster again killed the ball in front of their posts. Referee Gauzere spoke to Peter O’Mahony, the Munster captain, but again no card was issued. Instead, Williams’s penalty gave Tigers a lead for the first time in the game at 12-9 after 55 minutes.
Tigers then withstood a huge period of pressure on their line. They repelled wave after wave under their posts. Eventually their heavy tackles forced an error from Darren Sweetnam and Adam Thompstone gathered the loose ball. He made some 60m down the left flank and then hacked ahead, and after doing-so was tackled without possession by Zebo.
Referee Gauzere consulted his TMO over Zebo’s tackle, before he issued the Munster winger with a yellow card. Williams pointed to the posts and doubled Leicester’s lead with 15 minutes remaining.
Munster had the chance to test the Leicester defence again at a 5m lineout. They did cross the whitewash but were held up. Play came back for an earlier penalty and they went to the corner again.
This time Tigers were unable to stop the drive and Niall Scannell broke off to score Tom Youngs was shown a yellow card for infringing in the build-up. And somehow Bleyendaal’s conversion went over through the posts, despite the Munster fly-half slipping as he kicked.
Tigers gave themselves one final chance when they won a holding-on penalty just inside their own half with two minutes remaining. Williams again pointed to the posts and again was on the mark with a stunning kick to give Tigers an 18-16 victory and send Welford Road into a frenzy.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score


FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 18-16 MUN




Pascal Gauzere

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers

Full Time

Munster Rugby
Munster Rugby

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Munster Rugby
Penalties Conceded
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
Tackles Won
80/86 93%
59/71 83%
Scrums Won
6/6 0%
7/9 22%
Lineouts Won
11/11 100%
13/13 100%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Munster Rugby
Leicester Tigers
15George Worth
14Peter Betham
13Jack Roberts
12Manu Tuilagi
11Adam Thompstone
10Owen Williams6P
9Ben Youngs
1Ellis Genge
2Tom Youngs
4Ed Slater
5Graham Kitchener
7Brendon O'Connor
8Lachlan McCaffrey
16Harry Thacker
17Logovi'i Mulipola
18Greg Bateman
19Michael Fitzgerald
20Mike Williams
21Will Evans
22Sam Harrison
23Tom Brady

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

Simon Zebo
Darren Sweetnam
Jaco Taute
Rory Scannell
Keith Earls
Tyler Bleyendaal
Conor Murray
Dave Kilcoyne
Niall Scannell
John Ryan
Donnacha Ryan
Billy Holland
Peter O'Mahony
Tommy O'Donnell
CJ Stander


Rhys Marshall
James Cronin
Stephen Archer
Jean Kleyn
Jack O'Donoghue
Duncan Williams
Ian Keatley
Andrew Conway
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
Munster Rugby
Munster RugbyMUN650116064961843124
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI620461190-129323008
Form Guide
Last Match
Beat Gloucester Rugby 26-5
Past Meeting
Lost 16-25
Last Match
Past Meeting
Last Match
Lost to Toulouse 16-20
Past Meeting
Won 25-16

Matchday Live

Leicester Tigers18
Leicester Tigers
Munster Rugby16
Munster Rugby
Full Time