Leicester Tigers Development XV were beaten 33-15 by Gloucester United in the opening round of the Premiership Rugby Shield at Kingsholm on Monday evening.
Skipper Harry Simmons marked his 22nd birthday with a try as Tigers trailed 14-7 at half-time, but Gloucester turned their possession and pressure into further points in the second half to pull away and register their bonus-point win before Jimmy Stevens added the other try for the visitors.
Coaches Brett Deacon and Boris Stankovich included 12 academy graduates in the Tigers starting team with another four among the replacements. But tries from centre partners Jack Reeves and Tom Seabrook – scoring in almost identical fashion attacking a short pass from a close-range ruck – put the hosts in a commanding position before Simmons supplied the Tigers reply just before half-time.
Gloucester had dominated possession and territory without creating another clear scoring opportunity until tighthead prop Ciaran Knight was penalised for a double movement as he pushed over the tryline in the final action of the half.
In reply, Tigers had only had half-chances, the first as Freddie Steward broke from deep to set Leo Gilliland away on the left, but he was tackled into touch, and then Johnny McPhillips hacked loose ball up to the five-metre line before Gloucester covered in defence.
The Simmons try followed some enterprise in midfield as McPhillips chipped over the defence and the ball bounced perfectly for Costelow to put the skipper away to score under the posts. Costelow added the conversion.
Stevens made his first appearance in a Tigers shirt in more than 12 months as play got under way again, with Osman Dimen joining him in the front row.
Costelow kicked the opening points after the break, but Gloucester started to pull away with two tries from wing Tom Stanton and they added another when the forward pack pushed hooker Ethan Hunt over in the right-hand corner, with Barton’s conversion making it 33-10.
Tigers took some consolation with a try for hooker Stevens in the left-hand corner after some strong work and patience in the set-up from the forward pack at a close-range lineout. McPhillips struck his conversion kick well from the left touchline but watched it drift to the right and back off the post.
THAT'S ALL FOLKS...
Thanks for tuning in for all the latest from Kingsholm this evening.
Not the result we wanted, but top effort from a young Tigers pack.
Safe travels to all who attended tonight and a reminder to tune into Matchday Live this weekend for Tigers derby day trip away to Northampton Saints in the Gallagher Premiership.
FT GLOUCESTER 33 - 15 TIGERS
A brave effort from Tigers young squad in the first Premiership Rugby Shield of this season. Tries from skipper Harry Simmons and Jimmy Stevens highlights for Tigers in the competitions opening round.
TIGERS HOLDING TIGHT IN FINAL FEW MOMENTS
Following a kick-chase which saw Gloucester knock on over the Tigers tryline, the referee pulls the play back for a scrum as Gloucester add pressure in the games final few moments.
OFF THE POST...AND OUT
Johnny McPhillips sees his kick hit the post and bounce out. So unlucky.
STEVENS GOES OVER FOR TIGERS LATE ON
Front row Jimmy Stevens goes over in the line as Tigers work a driving maul into the Gloucester corner. A well deserved try for Tigers making the scores 33 - 15.
YOUNG TIGERS COMPETING IN FINAL STAGES
Tigers young side continuing to work hard to make the yards across the pitch, A penalty against Gloucester gives Johnny McPhillips the chance to kick into touch...and he reaches the Gloucester 10 yard line.
TIGERS SHOWING SOME BITE
Tigers push Gloucester back into their own half and get a chance to play with the ball in hand. Van Poortvliet works the ball to the left before Joe Browning is tackled. Tigers work the ball back across the field and the ball slips away, giving Gloucester the chance to kick into touch.
70 on the clock
Tigers working hard to get back into the game as we enter the last ten minutes of the game. A break in play gives both sides the chance to catch their breath as we set-up for a scrum on the half-way line.
GLOUCESTER 33 - 10 TIGERS
Gloucester's George Barton kicks over the posts again from the right flank to make the scores Gloucester 33 - 10 Tigers.
GLOUCESTER ADD TO LEAD
Gloucester's forwards drive over the line to score with 65 minutes on the clock.
GLOUCESTER 26 - 10 TIGERS
George Barton successfully kicks over the post as Gloucester lead Tigers 26 points to 10 just over the hour mark.
MAN OVER EXTENDS GLOUCESTER'S LEAD
Gloucester work the ball out wide to the right and it's three on two as wing Tom Stanton scores his second try of the game.
TIGERS CHANGE IN THE HALF BACKS
Jack van Poortvliet and Harry Glynn come on for try scorer Harry Simmons and Sam Costelow in the half back positions for Tigers.
James Whitcombe comes on for Keston Lines in the front row for Tigers.
CONVERSION MISSED BY GLOUCESTER
Fly half George Barton misses the kick from out wide to keep the scores at Gloucester 19 - 14 Tigers.
TRY FOR GLOUCESTER
And it's a try for Gloucester as Tigers find themselves stretched following a cross field kick finds Gloucester wing Jake Morris who offloads smartly to his opposite wing Tom Stanton to go over.
GLOUCESTER COMING BACK AT TIGERS
Gloucester beginning to find some space with the ball in hand and working through the phases. Tigers defence are having to work hard and a kick out to the right flank stretches Tigers...
TIGERS PENALTY SCORE | 14 - 10
Fly-half Sam Costelow opts to kick from the 40 metre line and kicks the points Tigers need to reduce the scoreline to just four points.
TIGERS REPLACEMENT IN THE FRONT ROW
Jimmy Stevens and Osman Dimen come on for Charlie Clare and Gaston Cortes as the teams return to the pitch for the second half.
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY
Tigers Sam Costelow gets things underway with a deep kick into the Gloucester half and Tigers almost break through with Jimmy Stevens first touch of the ball finding Tigers other replacement in the front row Osman Dimen but Gloucester scupper the chance.
HT FROM KINGSHOLM | GLOUC 14-7 TIGERS
Tigers right back in this game following a bit of luck and great hands from their backline. It's Gloucester 14 - 7 Tigers with everything to play for thanks to a late try from skipper Harry Simmons.
COSTELOW HALVES THE SCORE...GAME ON!
Tigers fly-half Sam Costelow does the business from the tee and Tigers are right back in this game.
TIGERS TRY JUST BEFORE HALF-TIME
It's skipper, birthday boy and Tigers own Harry Simmons who is on the end of a pass from Johnny McPhillips following a charge down from No.6 Ollie Ashworth.
GOUGH OFF FOR TIGERS
Tigers back row Taylor Gough is replaced by Ed Sumpter on the 40 minute mark following an awkward fall in the breakdown.
GLOUCESTER 14 - 0 TIGERS
Gloucester fly-half George Barton adds to the scoreline from the tee to make it Gloucester 14 - 0 Tigers.
GLOUCESTER ADD TO THEIR LEAD
Centre Tom Seabrook charges through following a deep run and adds to Gloucester lead just before half-time.
TIGERS TURNED AND ON THE DEFENCE
Gloucester win the line-out and retain posession before Barton again opts to kick and finds the Tigers five metre line to the delight of the home crowd. The balls thrown in and Gloucester apply pressure late in the first half.
KEEP ON MAULING
Tigers kick for touch and win the resulting line-out but Gloucester manage to hold up the advancing maul and win a penalty for themselves. Fly-half Barton kicks clear and Tigers ready themselves for the line-out.
Football skills on show
Tigers centre Jonny McPhillips lets his feet do the talking following a mistake from the Gloucester backline. He nips the ball away before his teammate Kyran Bungeroo also sticks a boot in before another Gloucester mistake at the breakdown gifts Tigers a penalty.
WE REACH THE HALF HOUR MARK
The first 30 minutes has been a scrappy affair since Gloucester took the lead early in the game. Both teams struggling to find their rhythm but both set of forwards doing their bit at the set-peice.
'SCRUM' AWAY WITH ME
Tigers take the ball from the back of the scrum on their own five metre and run it out. After a quick reverse turnover, Tigers find space down the left flank and wing Leo Gilliland opens his legs for the first time before being tackled 20 metres out.
GLOUCESTER EDGING THE TERRITORY
Tigers fall back into their half as Gloucester continue to press on the half-way line. Fly-half Sam Costelow tries to find touch with a kick but it's punted back by the Gloucester backs. But Tigers concede the penalty and Gloucester kick for the line-out. .
PLAY BEGINNING TO SWITCH UP
The ball now finding a bit more space for both teams. Gloucester wing thought he was in was it not for a steal from Tigers skipper Harry Simmons, but Gloucester find touch. Tigers swing the ball from left to right but are held up on the half-way and the ref spots a knock-on.
Tigers win a penalty from the scrum on their ten metre line and opt to kick clear. Gloucester come back from the line-out but both packs are piling into one another.
TIGERS DEFENCE HOLD STRONG
Gloucester testing Tigers defence from a number of set-pieces but the young Tigers hold out following a line-out and driving maul from the Gloucester pack on the Tigers five metre line.
GLOUCESTER 7-0 TIGERS
George Barton adds the extras from the tee to give Gloucester a seven point lead.
GLOUCESTER OPEN SCORING
Centre Jack Reeves finishes off a well worked Gloucester move to go under the posts following a back-and-forth start by both team
WELCOME FROM KINGSHOLM THIS EVENING
Welcome to Matchday Live and Kingsholm Stadium for the club’s first Premiership Rugby Shield fixture of the 2019/20 season.
Tonight’s Development XV team sees 12 academy graduates make the cut for the starting line-up captained by birthday boy Harry Simmons on his 22nd birthday.
Gloucester United are tonight’s opponents in the first of ten matches Tigers will play in the Premiership Rugby Cup North division.