Leicester Tigers Development XV secured a first win of the season with a 24-21 victory over Worcester Cavaliers in the Premiership Rugby Shield on Monday evening.
Trailing 14-10 at half-time, with Taylor Gough supplying the try, Tigers took the lead just before the hour mark with George Martin adding a second try to go with the kicked points from Johnny McPhillips.
A second score from Gough moments later allowed the visitors to take that advantage to 10 points against a Cavaliers side unbeaten in their first four fixtures and they held out despite conceding a late penalty try and then two front-rowers to the sin bin.
The home side started the game at a frantic pace at odds with the freezing conditions at Sixways and their robust work in the early phases was met by a stern Tigers line typified by two crucial tackles from Joe Thomas on the fringes.
Worcester kept the pressure on, though, inching up the field to win a scrum in front of the Tigers posts, eventually getting over the tryline through hooker Isaac Miller. Scott van Breda added the conversion with 13 minutes played.
Tigers hit back immediately from the restart, with Johnny McPhillips latching on to a break by scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet. Leicester spread the ball to the left with a neat cross-field kick from McPhillips, where quick hands from the forwards put Taylor Gough over in the corner. The touchline conversion from McPhillips evened up the scores.
More heavy work – with big hits from both teams – followed with Cavaliers eventually breaking through via centre van Breda, who fed No9 Gareth Simpson to dive over. The extras from the tee made it 14-7.
Another strong Tigers scrum on the edge of the home 22 set up a response from McPhillips, whose successful penalty brought Tigers within four points after half an hour.
Freddie Steward’s work under the high ball was the highlight for the remainder of the first period, fielding a barrage of kicks.
McPhillips was short with a 40-metre penalty at the start of the second half though Tigers were still able to build some pressure through the forwards without finding a breakthrough.
Scrum-half Van Poortvliet showed his pace in defence as he raced back to dot down behind the tryline from a kick through by the Warriors with Tigers still four pints in arrears.
A precision kick down the right from a McPhillips penalty gave Tigers an attacking position and another whistle followed as they attacked in front of the posts. After three carries from the forwards on the left, Cameron Jordan was held up over the tryline.
But from the scrum, Tigers kept ball well until Martin attacked the line and forced his way over to give the visitors the lead for the first time on 57 minutes. McPhillips added a conversion with the score at 14-17.
Just two more minutes had elapsed when Tigers added to the score with Gough grabbing his second of the night, finishing from close range after Van Poortvliet had been stopped just short in the left-hand corner. McPhillips again showed his strength from the tee with another two points as the lead reached double figures.
When Tigers were forced back, they defended at a five-metre scrum and then Gough’s work over the ball won a penalty to ease the pressure close to the tryline.
But Cavaliers finally made a breakthrough as the game entered its final minutes, earning a penalty try as they pressured the Tigers line on the right, with Darren Dawidiuk yellow carded for his role in defence.
And Tigers also lost Keston Lines to the sin bin almost immediately afterwards with just three points between the teams but managed to hold out in defence as Cavaliers looked for one more opening.
Thank you to all the supporters who have joined us here in Worcester this evening and for all those following along at home.
Tigers are next in action away at Bath on Saturday, January 25 before our next home game against Wasps on Saturday, February 15 at Welford Road.
BREATHLESS BUT THAT'S FULL TIME
Worcester with the penalty kick for the lineout and work their way up the pitch, making breaks with the extra two men to put pressure on Tigers defence.
Worcester make it all the way up into the Tigers 22 before the referee blows for a knock-on from Worcester and that's the end of the game.
Worcester 21 Tigers 24.
Tigers are shown a second yellow almost straight away as there is a high tackle on Worcester from the restart.
Tigers replacement hooker Darren Dawidiuk is shown a yellow card for collapsing the maul for the Worcester penalty try.
PENALTY TRY FOR WORCESTER
The action has slowly moved in Worcester's favour and moved up the field to have all the action played in Tigers half and into Tigers 22 before a number of penalites for Worcester give them the lineout.
Worcester with the driving maul before it is pulled down and the referee bows for a penalty try to make it 21-24.
McPhillips with the kick once again to add the conversion and make it 14-24 after 61 minutes.
SECOND FOR GOUGH
Tigers on the attack from the restart and work back up the field before a break in play sees the ball offloaded through the team before a step from van Poortvliet sees him just short in the corner before Gough collects the ball and crosses the line for his second of the night.
EXTRAS FOR TIGERS
McPhillips adds the conversion to extend Tigers lead to 14-17 after 58 minutes.
TRY FOR TIGERS
The second half starts very much like the first with end to end running rugby from both sides making breaks and attacking in each 22.
Tigers win consecutive penalties to get an attacking lineout 5 metres out from the Worcester tryline. Tigers have several carries with the ball from the lineout before Tigers make it over the line but the referee calls the ball held up for a Tigers scrum.
Tigers with a few phases off the scrum before Jack van Poortvliet finds George Martin who finds the gap to run over the line for Tigers second try of the match.
SECOND HALF KICKS OFF
Worcester to kick-off the second half here at Sixways stadium as Tigers trail by four.
FOUR POINT GAME
There's end to end rugby in the closing stages of the half as both teams look to run the ball and despite a break by Worcester there is a knock-on on Tigers 22 line and the referee blows the whistle for half-time.
Worcester 14 Tigers 10.
THREE POINTS FOR TIGERS
A scrum for Tigers inside the Worcester half gives Tigers a good platform as we look to run the ball, working up to the Worcester 22 before winning a penalty at the breakdown.
McPhillips points to the posts and kids the points to make it 14-10 after 30 minutes.
SEVEN POINT GAME
Worcester add the conversion through van Breda to take the lead once again to seven points at 14-17 after 27 minutes.
SECOND FOR WORCESTER
Worcester have possesion and several phases of posession to work their way up the field and into Tigers half.
A penalty for Worcester gives them a lineout in Tigers 22 and despite a loose ball kicked clear up field by Tigers, Worcester run it back and find a gap for scrum-half Gareth Simpson to run through for the try.
Johnny McPhillips adds the conversion to level the scores at 7-7 after 18 minutes.
QUICK RESPONSE FROM TIGERS
Tigers have an immediate response as Worcester look to attack from the kick-off a loose ball is collected by EW Viljoen who makes the break through the Worcester defence before offloading and Tigers capitalise on the open play.
Johnny McPhillips makes a chip across field and Tigers use quick hands through the forwards before Taylor Gough receives the ball to run it over the line to get Tigers on the board.
Worcester add the conversion through Scott van Breda to make it 7-0 after 14 minutes.
OPENING POINTS FOR WORCESTER
All of the early action has taken place in the middle of the field with both teams taking on the ball and running it across the pitch before Worcester win a penalty on half-way for a high tackle.
Worcester get in to the Tigers 22 for the first time and another penalty sees them with a lineout in the corner. Tigers show good defence as Worcester build phases before a penalty give Worcester a scrum just in front of the posts.
More phases from Worcester off the scrum before hooker Isaac Miller is able to push his way over for the first points of the match.
HERE WE GO
Tonight's match has started as Tigers as Johnny McPhillips kicks things off here in Worcester.
Both teams have finished their warm-ups and have gone in to the changing rooms ahead of kick-off.
MONDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Welcome to everyone following coverage of tonight's Premiership Rugby Shield match this cold January evening as Tigers visit Worcester to take on the Cavaliers.