Leicester Tigers have secured a bonus-point victory in their opening fixture of the Investec Champions Cup, outlasting an impressive, resilient DHL Stormers side.
Another starring performance from Tigers talisman Handré Pollard helped seal the victory, the Springboks flyhalf chipping in 20 of Tigers 35 points.
The teams exchanged early penalties, the Stomers fighting tooth and nail for every yard as Tigers settled into the game.
The duo combined brilliantly off the ensuing scrum and Kata was simply too powerful for the defence. Pollard converted, making it 10-3 inside 15 minutes.
The visitors couldn’t be kept down however, and continued to press their case, throwing their bodies on the line in defence.
Leicester couldn’t their flow in attack, and the Stormers were well worth their equalising try when it came in the 30th minute through Keke Morabe.
Stifled by the Stormers, Leicester looked like half-time couldn’t come quickly enough, but a loose ball was hacked through by the Stormers on the stroke of half-time, and Courtnall Skosan won the race to give the visitors the lead heading into the break, 17-10.
Leicester looked like a different team after the break, and began to hunt down the Stormers.
A penalty from Pollard after a minute was the momentum shift, then Kata grabbed his double five minutes later and Tigers had their lead.
Pollard converted, and would score next for Tigers to back it up, diving over for his first Investec Champions Cup try in Leicester colours.
Stormers never went away and continued to claw their way into the game. Pollard added another penalty to his try but the Stormers would kick a couple of their own, plus a drop goal.
With three minutes to play and the game balanced at 30-26, Stormers had a scrum five metres out.
Leicester repelled the visitors advances, hung tough and forced their way down the field and a slick pass from Jamie Shillcock saw Josh Bassett slide in for the bonus-point try after the 80 minute mark.
The final score from Mattioli Woods Welford Road, 35-26.