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Flashback Friday | Match Report: History as it happened

On November 6, 2009, Leicester Tigers recorded a historic victory over the then Rugby World Cup champions, South Africa, in front of 24,000 fans at Welford Road. 

In a Flashback Friday special event, the club looks back on the famous night at the home of the #TigersFamily.

This is as it happened...

Leicester Tigers recorded a famous 22-17 win over South Africa at Welford Road on Friday to celebrate the official opening of the new Caterpillar Stand.

Tigers, without six England internationals and nine first-team players through injury, produced a superb performance in front of a capacity crowd to beat the world and Tri-Nations champions.

Trailing 8-0 after Jongi Nokwe's eighth-minute try, Tigers hit back with a brilliant score from Lucas Amorosino and 17 points from the boot of scrum-half Ben Youngs.

A couple of late penalties from Ruan Pienaar brought the Springboks to within a score, but the Tigers defence, roared on by the home crowd, held firm for a memorable victory.

Tigers made two late changes in their pack, with Marcos Ayerza replaced by Boris Stankovich while Ben Kay was replaced by Dan Hemingway. Craig Hammond, on loan from Nottingham, came in among the replacements alongside new signing Lote Tuqiri.

Youngs took on the kicking duties with an early penalty but miscued his effort to the right.

Instead, it was the visitors who took the lead after five minutes with Pienaar's penalty from the edge of the Tigers 22.

South Africa threatened from the restart with a break on the left by Wynand Olivier but his kick ahead, intended for Nokwe, was gathered by Scott Hamilton, who cleared to touch.

The visitors continued to press and scored a try after eight minutes when full-back Earl Rose spotted a gap and pushed a grubber kick through for Nokwe to score in the left corner.

Tigers made an instant response and put their first points on the board when the pack won a penalty in front of the posts that Youngs knocked over. That provided a foothold in the game and gave them a momentum that resulted in 16 unanswered points.

Manu Tuilagi took the attack to the Springboks with a couple of thrusts but the South Africans were looking dangerous on the counter-attack. That was typified by Rose's hack ahead from a Tigers knock-on that threatened to open up the defence before Johne Murphy and then Hemingway cleared the danger.

It proved important as Tigers took the lead for the first time with a thrilling try moments later. Murphy began a counter-attack from inside the Tigers half that flowed through Tuilagi to Amorosino on the left. The Argentina international picked a line through the Springboks defence to score under the posts and Youngs’ conversion put Tigers 10-8 ahead.

The Tigers pack was in good form against an experienced South Africa front five, and won another penalty at a scrum on halfway which Youngs kicked to extend the lead to 13-8. He then added his third penalty before Pienaar hit back with the last kick of the half as Tigers went in 16-11 ahead at half-time.

A quick tap by Scott Hamilton and a burst by Tuilagi had Tigers on the front foot immediately after the restart before Amorosino was tackled into touch.

The Tigers scrum won another penalty after driving the South Africa pack towards their own 22 and when Youngs landed the kick the lead stretched to 19-11 five minutes into the second half.

Murphy then produced an excellent tackle on Ashley Johnson as the South Africa No8 looked to have broken through from the restart. It was typical of the Tigers defence as the visitors struggled to find a way through.

The pack was on top and won another penalty at a scrum on halfway which Youngs kicked to put Tigers 22-11 ahead with 20 minutes left.

Pienaar reduced the arrears with a penalty from the left for the tourists’ first points of the second half but missed the chance to cut the lead even further with five minutes left as his penalty from a central position struck the post.

The South Africa fly-half was on target moments later as the Tigers scrum was penalised for the first time in the game to cut the lead to 22-17.

It set up a tense finish with the South Africa forwards going through phase after phase inside the Tigers 22 as the clock ran down.

But the Tigers defence held firm and forced Odwa Ndungane to knock on five metres from the line and, in doing so, seal a famous victory.


Tigers: Hamilton, Amorosino (Tuqiri 56), Forsyth, M Tuilagi, J Murphy, Mauger (c), B Youngs; Stankovich, Davies (Chuter 52), Castrogiovanni (Cole 66), Green, Hemingway, Parling, B Pienaar (Armes 60), B Deacon (Hammond 13). Reps unused: Grindal, Tonks

South Africa: Rose (Viljeon 66), Ndungane, De Jongh, Olivier (Bosman 64), Nokwe, R Pienaar, Adams (Hougaard 54); Steenkamp (van der Merwe 41), Ralepelle (c) (Maku 20), Du Plessis, Rossouw (Hargreaves 60), Bekker, Potgieter, Raubenheimer (Deysel 48), Johnson.


Referee: Mr Stuart Dickinson

Attendance: 24,000



6min Pen R Pienaar 0-3

8min Try Nokwe 0-8

10min Pen B Youngs 3-8

27min Try/Conv Amorosino/B Youngs 10-8

33min Pen B Youngs 13-8

40min Pen B Youngs 16-8

40min Pen R Pienaar 16-11

46min Pen B Youngs 19-11

58min Pen B Youngs 22-11

65min Pen R Pienaar 22-14

77min Pen R Pienaar 22-17