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Match report: Tigers set the ball rolling

Leicester Tigers claimed a 21-14 victory over the Ospreys at The Brewery Field in Bridgend on Friday evening in the opening fixture of the pre-season programme.

Tigers included five of the summer’s new arrivals in an extended squad at the end of a week’s training camp in Wales with Joe Ford, Jonah Holmes and Nick Malouf in the starting line-up, and forwards Chris Baumann and Dominic Ryan among the replacements.

Led out by Tom Croft, Tigers opened the scoring with a try from Holmes in the first five minutes and led 14-0 when hooker Harry Thacker added a second. But Ospreys fought back with two scores of their own in the last 10 minutes of the half to level the scores.

In a second half played in lashing rain, a try from hooker Jake Kerr, converted by Joe Ford, provided the only points as Tigers got the pre-season campaign off to a winning start.

The opening score came after just five minutes, with Tigers playing smartly along the backline for Holmes to mark his first touch of the ball with a finish on the left. Ford added the extras.

After Harry Wells had wrapped up possession at an Ospreys lineout and allowed Tigers to clear their lines, the visitors made the most of a break on halfway from skipper Croft and two penalties on the right to double the lead with Thacker dotting down from a lineout drive. Ford made no mistake with the kick despite the lashing rain.

The rain briefly cleared before descending even harder in the second quarter and Ospreys claimed their first points with a lightning attack just after the half-hour. Full-back Dan Evans and centre Joe Thomas combined to put wing Jay Baker through to score. Luke Price added the conversion and then kicked a second to level the scores after No8 Dan Baker managed to push his way over the tryline at the posts from a close-range scrum.

Both teams continued to try to play ball in hand despite the testing conditions, while Ford looked to turn to Ospreys defence with his kicking, but the set-piece dominated the opening phases of the second half, with Tigers having to keep out a string of close-range scrums.

Baumann and Luke Hamilton were among the replacements early in the second period and Ospreys emptied their bench just after the 50-minute mark with James Hook among those introduced to the action.

In front of a Bridgend crowd of 3,478 and with the rest of the first-team squad in the stands, Tigers spent much of the third quarter in defence without conceding a point but then claimed a third try to retake the lead.

Loughborough Students hooker Jake Kerr dotted down at the back of a lineout drive after the hosts had been penalised in their own 22 and had prop Rowan Jenkins yellow carded. Ford added his third conversion from wide on the right as Tigers led 21-14.

When replacement Jordan Olowofela was penalised in retrieving a kick on the Tigers 22, Ospreys had one more chance to build an attack but the visitors’ defence stuck to the task and won a penalty close to their own line with their work at the breakdown to bring the game to a close.

Leicester Tigers: 15 George Worth, 14 Nick Malouf, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Charlie Thacker, 11 Jonah Holmes, 10 Joe Ford, 9 Ben White; 1 Kyle Traynor, 2 Harry Thacker, 3 Ben Betts, 4 Joe Maksymiw, 5 Harry Wells, 6 Tom Croft (c), 7 Will Evans, 8 Fred Tuilagi

Replacements: Chris Baumann, Owen Hills, Michele Rizzo, Sam Grahamslaw, Mike Fitzgerald, Luke Hamilton, Sam Lewis, Harry Mahoney, Dominic Ryan, George Catchpole, Tom Hardwick, Jono Kitto, Jordan Olowofela, Harry Simmons, Mathew Tait.          

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Joe Thomas, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Jay Baker, 10 Luke Price, 9 Tom Habberfield (c); 1 Paul James, 2 Scott Otten, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 4 Lloyd Ashley, 5 Bradley Davies, 6 James Ratti, 7 Olly Cracknell, 8 Dan Baker

Replacements: 16 Ifan Phillips, 17 Rowan Jenkins, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Josh Cole, 21 Brendon Leonard, 22 Cory Allen, 23 James Hook, - Rob McCusker, - Will Jones, - Matthew Aubrey, - Ben John, - Phil Jones

Tigers return to action with home fixtures against Benetton Treviso (Friday, August 18, 7.45pm) and the Ospreys (Friday, August 25, 7.45pm). Tickets are available from the Tigers ticket office now. Book in person at Welford Road, phone the office on 0116 319 8888 (option 2)(open 9.00am-5.00pm Monday-Saturday) or online.

Both fixtures are included in season tickets for 2017/18.

Ospreys versus Leicester Tigers highlights

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

OSP 14-14 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

OSP 14-21 LEI

Attendance

3,478

Referee

Ben Whitehouse

Ospreys Rugby
Ospreys Rugby
14

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
21
Ospreys Rugby
T
C
T
C
KOHTFT
Leicester Tigers
T
C
T
C
T
C

Commentary

Full Time @ Bridgend

Despite a late effort from the home side, the Tigers defensive wall holds strong and prevents another comeback to close out the game and record a 21-14 victory over Ospreys in the first pre-season fixture of the new season.

77 minutes for former 7s star

Jordan Olowofela is on for the final minutes of the match, replacing new recruit Nick Malouf in his first showing for the club since joining from down under over summer. Well, winter in Australia but summer here.. you know what we mean! 

A ford-midable performance

Tom Hardwick comes on to the field to replace fly half Joe Ford, after an outstanding effort from the new recruit in his first appearance since joining the club over the summer.

Extras added

Joe Ford makes it three from three for the night as he adds the conversion from just inside the right-hand touchline and extends the Tigers lead to seven, 21-14.

Change for Tigers midfield

George Catchpole is in to the action, replacing Matt Smith in the midfield. 

TRY TIME!

After just arriving on to Bridgend-waters from the bench, Jake Kerr goes over in similar fashion to Thacker in the first half as the Tigers line-out shows strength in pushing Ospreys back over their own line. 

62

Hasn't been plenty in twenty

The diehards have enjoyed the opening quarter of the second half here at Bridgend with rucks and mauls a plenty, as the rain causes issues for both sides despite their best efforts to play expansive rugby in the wet. 

Return of the Fred

Matt O'Connor brings Fred Tuilagi back on to the field, replacing Tom Croft in the backrow.

Two changes from MOC

Jake Kerr and Owen Hills come on to the field for the first time this evening, replacing Harry Thacker and Kyle Traynor. 

Take a Bow-man

Here he is. The American import to Tigers for the new season, Chris Baumann, takes to the field replacing Betts. 

For those playing along at home.. the mullet is no longer a feature on the big man. Looking very nice with his new-do though.

50

Attendance

Tonight's crowd is 3,478.

+ the many, many ducks in ponds on the sidelines enjoying the rain. 

40

MOC makes one change

One change from Matt O'Connor at half time with Luke Hamilton replacing Fred Tuilangi in the backrow.

40

Second Half Underway

Equal opportunities

It's a tight battle at Bridgend this evening as the Tigers flew out of the gates early, with tries to new recruit Jonah Holmes and hooker Harry Thacker. However the home side refused to lay down and came together to score two of their own in the latter part of the first half to tie it up at 14-all. Ospreys crowd is enjoying their first taste of home ground rugby for the season, despite the somewhat un-summery weather here in Wales this evening.

Half Time

The referee blows the whistle for half time here at Bridgend and the sides head into sheds tied up at 14-all.

Level headed

Smart, sensible rugby from the home side sees them bring the sides together on the scoreboard as it's all tied up at 14-all here at Bridgend.

TRY TIME

Ospreys cross for their second of the evening after a re-set scrum brings success with the home side No.8 breaking away to push his way over under the sticks.

36

Momentum shift

Off the back of their first points of the night, Ospreys build momentum as a cleverly placed kick through is re-gathered by Tigers fullback George Worth only to be carried back over his line and hand the home side a scrum just 5m out.

Extras added

Ospreys close the gap to just seven as the conversion sails through the uprights. 

TRY

Ospreys find a hole out on the right hand side of the Tigers defence and some slick hands in the wet sees Jay Baker cross for first of the night from the home side.

SIN BIN

Ospreys have a man sent to the sin bin.

26

End-to-end @ Bridgend

The ball is being sent from side to side here at Bridgend by both sides as they look to counter the weather and gain vital field position. Plenty of testing taking place of new lineout calls.

23

In the Nick of time

Nick Malouf reads the play beautifully from the wing and closes down a 3 on 1 from Ospreys, forcing a knock on and preventing a try to the home side.

20

Tom turns back the clock

Tom Croft with a barnstorming run after breaking away from the ruck and finding himself in space here at Bridgend. The ball is shifted wide afterwards but, weather is playing its part and a dropped ball follows handing Ospreys the scrum feed just inside their own half.

Extras added

J. Ford adds his second conversion of the night and extends the lead to 14-0.

TRY!

After being piggybacked towards the Ospreys line through a penalty and touch-finder to follow from J. Ford, the Tigers line-out turned maul pushes its way over the home side's line to score their second of the evening through hooker Harry Thacker.

10

WELLS DONE

Harry Wells showing his pre-season training is working as he latches on to the Ospreys attack and forces a scrum, Tigers feed, after wrapping up the ball.

9

Home side sending it wide

Ospreys using their skills despite the weather to move the ball around, looking for holes in the Tigers defence. Leicester line is holding tight so far. 

Extras added!

Joe Ford joins Holmes in registering their first points for Tigers as he adds the conversion to extend the lead to seven here at Bridgend. 

TRY!

Ospreys throw over their jumper at the line-out and we gain possession before sending it wide out the left to Jonah Holmes, who steps inside to cross for the first of the night - and his first as a Tiger!

3

Rain, rain go away!

The weather is causing havoc early on as both sides compete for territory through close-ruck ball play.

Kick off!

We're underway at Bridgend as Ospreys kick-off in the wet.

0

Warm up

The lads are out in the middle of a wet and wild Bridgend field doing their best to get warm ahead of kick-off, in just over 10 minutes. 

0

Tigers line-up

Starting XV: 15 George Worth, 14 Nick Malouf, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Charlie Thacker, 11 Jonah Holmes, 10 Joe Ford, 9 Ben White; 1 Kyle Traynor, 2 Harry Thacker, 3 Ben Betts, 4 Joe Maksymiw, 5 Harry Wells, 6 Tom Croft (c), 7 Will Evans, 8 Fred Tuilagi

Replacements: Chris Baumann, Mike Fitzgerald, Sam Grahamslaw, Luke Hamilton, Owen Hills, Sam Lewis, Harry Mahoney, Michele Rizzo, Dominic Ryan, Jake Kerr

0

Ospreys line-up

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Joe Thomas, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Jay Baker, 10 Luke Price, 9 Tom Habberfield (c); 1 Paul James, 2 Scott Otten, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 4 Lloyd Ashley, 5 Bradley Davies, 6 James Ratti, 7 Olly Cracknell, 8 Dan Baker

Replacements: 16 Ifan Phillips, 17 Rowan Jenkins, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Josh Cole, 21 Brendon Leonard, 22 Cory Allen, 23 James Hook, - Rob McCusker, - Will Jones, - Matthew Aubrey, - Ben John, - Phil Jones

0

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Enjoy the match!


Match preview: Tigers kick off in Wales

Leicester Tigers include a number of their new signings in the squad for the opening pre-season fixture of the summer, against the Ospreys this evening.

Head coach Matt O’Connor has named new arrivals Dominic Ryan, Chris Baumann, Joe Ford, Jonah Holmes and Nick Malouf in the Tigers squad for the fixture at The Brewery Fields in Bridgend (7.30pm).

The new quintet – among 10 close-season signings at Welford Road – are all in line for their first appearance in Tiger colours as the squad kicks off the pre-season programme with a trip to Wales.

O’Connor has had the whole playing squad together at a training camp this week as preparations step up a gear ahead of the big kick-off against Bath at Welford Road in Round One of the Aviva Premiership season.

“We’ve had a good opportunity this week to stay together and work through some of the detail around how we want to play and on all the important things around our environment,” said O’Connor.

“It has been a really positive week with the whole squad together. Now we’re looking forward to getting an opportunity to play and answer some of the questions about ourselves.”

O’Connor will select from an extended squad this evening with the goal of providing gametime throughout the squad at Bridgend and then in the pre-season fixtures at home to Benetton Treviso and the return game against the Ospreys at Welford Road ahead of the Aviva Premiership opener against Bath on Sunday, September 3.

Tom Croft, Will Evans, Mike Fitzgerald, Luke Hamilton, Harry Thacker and Harry Wells are among the senior forwards for the first run-out of the summer, with Matt Smith, Mathew Tait, George Worth, Jono Kitto and George Catchpole among the backline options.

Development squad players Ben Betts, Tom Hardwick, Sam Lewis, Joe Maksymiw, Ben White and Harry Simmons will also have an opportunity to play in senior company.

Tom Croft training
Tom Croft starts in the Tigers back row

Leicester Tigers squad (v Ospreys, at Bridgend, Friday 7.30pm)

Forwards: Chris Baumann, Ben Betts, Tom Croft, Will Evans, Mike Fitzgerald, Sam Grahamslaw, Luke Hamilton, Owen Hills, Sam Lewis, Joe Maksymiw, Harry Mahoney, Michele Rizzo, Dominic Ryan, Harry Thacker, Fred Tuilagi, Harry Wells

Backs: George Catchpole, Joe Ford, Tom Hardwick, Jonah Holmes, Jono Kitto, Nick Malouf, Jordan Olowofela, Harry Simmons, Matt Smith, Mathew Tait, Charlie Thacker, Ben White, George Worth    

Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy includes internationals Paul James, Bradley Davies and Dan Evans in the home team’s starting line-up, with Cory Allen and Rob McCusker  among the replacements alongside fly-half James Hook who is in line for his first appearance for the club in six years following his summer return to Wales. 

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Joe Thomas, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Jay Baker, 10 Luke Price, 9 Tom Habberfield (c); 1 Paul James, 2 Scott Otten, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 4 Lloyd Ashley, 5 Bradley Davies, 6 James Ratti, 7 Olly Cracknell, 8 Dan Baker

Replacements: 16 Ifan Phillips, 17 Rowan Jenkins, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Josh Cole, 21 Brendon Leonard, 22 Cory Allen, 23 James Hook, - Rob McCusker, - Will Jones, - Matthew Aubrey, - Ben John, - Phil Jones

Admission to the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field for this match is £10, with under-16s free.

Tickets for Tigers' home fixtures against Treviso (Friday, August 18, 7.45pm) and the Ospreys (Friday, August 25, 7.45pm) are available from the We;ford Road ticket office now. Both fixtures are included in season tickets for 2017/18.

Match tickets for the opening fixtures in the Aviva Premiership season, including the Round One meeting with Bath Rugby, are also on general sale now.

Book in person at Welford Road, phone the office on 0116 319 8888 (option 2)(open 9.00am-5.00pm Monday-Saturday) or online.

For updates and reaction from this evening’s fixture against the Ospreys, including a new Matchday Live service online, see the Tigers website and social media channels.

Form Guide
Ospreys Rugby
Form
LLLLW
Last Match
Lost to Saracens 36-34
Past Meeting
Lost 14-40
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Leicester Tigers
Form
WLWWW
Last Match
Beat Castres 29-54
Past Meeting
Won 40-14

Matchday Live

Ospreys Rugby14
Ospreys Rugby
Leicester Tigers21
Leicester Tigers
Full Time