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Squad gets first run-out of pre-season at the Ospreys

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Leicester Tigers opened their pre-season programme with three tries in a 26-21 defeat against the Ospreys at Swansea's Liberty Stadium on Friday evening.

Director of rugby Richard Cockerill gave an outing to 29 players in the first match of the build-up to the new campaign, including summer signings Luke Hamilton and George McGuigan, new England cap Ellis Genge and England squad newcomer Will Evans.

Academy products Tom Hardwick, Ben White and Sam Yawayawa were among the younger members of the squad to gain gametime as Tigers scored two first-half tries the opening part of a double header with the Ospreys which will see the Welsh side travel to Welford Road in the return on Friday, August 26.

Scores by Tom Youngs and Matt Smith gave Tigers a 14-point advantage in the first half before the hosts came back with two of their own to cut the deficit.

Both sets of coaches took the opportunity to share gametime around their squads at the start of their pre-season fixtures and Tigers introduced a new-look XV for the second half with Adam Thompstone, Oli Bryant, Jono Kitto, George McGuigan, Marcos Ayerza and Luke Hamilton among the arrivals, and Manu Tuilagi joining the action in the final quarter.

A crowd of 6,063 saw the Ospreys claim two quickfire tries midway through the second half to take them in front before Bateman forced his way over in the final minute of the game.

The opening five minutes were played in the Ospreys 22, with pressure from the Tigers forwards paying off as skipper Youngs crashed over from the close range for the opening points of the evening. Burns added the conversion.

Ospreys, though, came straight back and Richard Cockerill will have been played with the strong work in defence from his Tigers team for a full five minutes before pressing the hosts back up to halfway.

With young Tom Hardwick on as a replacement for Burns as the game approached the 20-minte mark, a break by Jack Roberts left three defenders floundering and he passed inside where Smith ran in the second try. Hardwick added the extras for a 14-point lead.

The clock had ticked into the 25th minute before the Ospreys got on the scoresheet, with hooker Sam Parry finishing from the base of a ruck at close range.

Fly-half Sam Davies created the second try just past the half-hour, putting Josh Matavesi in on the right before adding the conversion to cut the deficit to just two points.

As half-time approached, the Tigers defence stood up to another succession of attacks from the Ospreys, winning turnover possession just in front of their own line and then also winning ball from opposition scrum before playing out the end of the first period in Welsh territory.

The first points of the second half came with a try from replacement Daf Howells which gave the Ospreys the lead for the first time after the forwards had been stopped just short of the line. Davies added a smart conversion for a 19-14 advantage.

Tuilagi joined the action at the restart but had not touched the ball when Ospreys added a second try within as many minutes, breaking from midfield for Ben John to run in unopposed. The kick from Davies stretched their lead to 26-14 with the game into the final quarter.

After Ospreys had kept the Tigers forwards at bay close to their own line, Bateman wriggled his way over for the visitors' third try and Oli Bryant added the conversion with the last kick of the evening.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score


FT ScoreFull Time Score

OSP 26-21 LEI




Not available

Ospreys Rugby
Ospreys Rugby

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Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers


15 Dan Evans
14 Jeff Hassler
13 Ben John
12 Josh Matavesi
11 Tom Grabham
10 Sam Davies
9 Tom Habberfield (c)
1 Nicky Smith
2 Sam Parry
3 Dmitri Arhip
4 Tyler Ardron
5 Rory Thornton
6 Joe Bearman
7 Scott Otten
8 Dan Baker


16 Hugh Gustafson
17 Gareth Thomas
18 Ma'afu Fia
19 Lloyd Ashley
20 Josh Cole
21 Matthew Aubrey
22 Ashley Beck
23 Daf Howells
Ryan Bevington
Rhys Jones
Rob McCusker
Luke Price
Joe Thomas
Morgan Williams

Leicester Tigers

15 Mathew Tait
14 Adam Thompstone
13 Jack Roberts
12 Matt Smith
11 George Catchpole
10 Freddie Burns
9 Sam Harrison
1 Ellis Genge
2 Tom Youngs (c)
3 Fraser Balmain
4 Ed Slater
5 Dom Barrow
6 Brendon O'Connor
7 Will Evans
8 Lachlan McCaffrey


16 Harry Thacker
17 Ben Betts
18 Greg Bateman
19 Graham Kitchener
20 Luke Hamilton
21 Ben White
22 George Worth
23 Tom Hardwick
Marcos Ayerza
George McGuigan
Sam Lewis
Harry Wells
Jono Kitto
Oli Bryant
Manu Tuilagi
Sam Yawayawa

Form Guide
Last Match
Beat Leicester Tigers 27-26
Past Meeting
Won 27-26
Last Match
Past Meeting
Last Match
Beat Gloucester Rugby 26-5
Past Meeting
Lost 26-27

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Ospreys Rugby26
Ospreys Rugby
Leicester Tigers21
Leicester Tigers
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