Leicester Tigers were beaten 33-10 by Newcastle Falcons in the sixth round of the Premiership ‘A’ League at Loughborough University on Monday evening.
In a game played in heavy rain almost from first whistle to last, Tigers got off to a good start with the opening try of the evening but then saw their more experienced rivals claim five scores to consolidate second place in the northern conference table.
Captained by George Worth who started at fly-half, Tigers were without six players on international under-20s duties as well as the academy players preparing for the Under-18 League Final on Sunday and included 12 players from Loughborough University in the matchday squad, while Matt Smith, Tom Brady and Dom Barrow provided the experience in the line-up.
It was student flanker Cameron Wilkins who provided the opening points of the evening, providing the finishing touch from a strong rolling maul by the Tigers after just five minutes’ play.
But Falcons responded with three first-half tries, two from prop Scott Wilson and one from full-back Tom Penny, all converted by Brett Connon, as they reached the break 21-5 in front.
With encouragement from first-team colleagues and members of the England Under-20s squad on the sidelines, Tigers enjoyed good spells of possession in the second half, together with periods of pressure on the Falcons tryline before Charlie Thacker provided the second try, holding off two defenders to finish smartly in the left-hand corner.
Thacker was prominent in many of the Tigers attacks, with Fred Tuilagi and Ben Betts carrying repeatedly among the forwards, though the Falcons defence shut out the remaining opportunities and still managed to break out to add to their own tally with Craig Willis scoring in the right-hand corner to secure the bonus point.
Replacement prop Adam Brocklebank then charged over near the posts for the final try of the evening, with Willis adding the conversion.
15 Tom Brady
14 Will Foster (Loughborough University)
13 Matt Smith
12 Charlie Thacker
11 Jack Antoniou (Loughborough University)
10 George Worth (c)
9 Ben Pointon (Loughborough University)
1 Facundo Gigena
2 Harry Mahoney
3 Ben Betts
4 Dom Barrow
5 Joe Maksymiw
6 Will Foster (Loughborough University)
7 Cameron Wilkins (Loughborough University)
8 Fred Tuilagi
16 Jamie Cox (Loughborough University)
17 Owen Hills
18 Andrew Nathan-Boyd (Loughborough University)
19 Sam Bailey (Loughborough University)
20 Oliver Kilgallon (Loughborough University)
21 Will Findlay (Loughborough University)
22 Joe Carolan (Loughborough University)
23 Bamidele Fadahunsi (Loughborough University)
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Adam Radwan, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Sam Stuart; 1 Sami Mavinga, 2 Santiago Socino, 3 Scott Wilson, 4 Evan Olmstead, 5 Andrew Davidson, 6 Callum Chick, 7 Simon Uzokwe, 8 Ryan Burrows (c)
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Trevor Davison, 19 Max Davies, 20 Matt Salway (Northumbria University), 21 Cameron Cowell, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Belisario Agulla