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Tigers win Premiership 'A' League opener

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Leicester Tigers claimed a 33-20 victory over Wasps in the opening Premiership 'A' league fixture of the season on Monday evening.

International props Michele Rizzo and Logovi’i Mulipola were included in the squad on their return from injury, with loosehead Rizzo in action for the first time since suffering knee ligament damage in the 2015 Rugby World Cup with Italy.
In a match played at Broadstreet RFC in Coventry, Tigers also included former Sale Sharks wing Tom Brady in his first appearance for the club and Irish trialist Mick McGrath.
The Wasps line-up included experienced first-teamers James Cannon and Kearnan Myall, plus former Tigers duo Tom Bristow and Jacob Umaga.
Tigers led 19-13 at half-time after getting off to the perfect start with an intercept try from Brady after just two minutes. Wasps clawed their way back to level the scores at 10-10 before some indiscipline in the home defence was punished by fly-half Oli Bryant and replacement Tom Hardwick.
Wasps, though, came back again and led by a point in the second half before Jack Roberts produced a burst of pace to score the second Tigers try of the night and the issue was put beyond doubt when a big Tigers scrum – with Mulipola playing his part – forced a penalty try in the closing action of the night.
Brady gave the visitors a flying start with the opening score from an interception near halfway, though Wasps felt aggrieved that advantage had been called over just seconds before following a Tigers knock-on.
Bryant added the conversion before Wasps got on the board from the restart with a penalty from fly-half Connor Eastgate.
A break from Roberts and then a chargedown from Will Evans kept the hosts penned in their own territory and the pressure produced a penalty which Bryant kicked for a 10-3 lead.
The Tigers defence responded quickly to a break by Eastgate but, just as it seemed the danger had been averted, Wasps scrum-half Will Porter found a gap and put centre Brendan Macken through to slide in next to the posts. The conversion from Eastgate brought the scores level at 10-10.
Another Roberts break got Tigers going forward again and, when Wasps fell foul of the referee’s whistle, Bryant kicked the points advantage and then repeated the trick within minutes to stretch the lead to six points.
A lineout drive near halfway almost brought another breakthrough, with Will Evans breaking free and Jono Kitto bursting through, only for the hosts to scramble back and shut the door.
Hardwick was introduced at fly-half and quickly added another three-pointer after Wasps had been penalised at a scrum to make it 19-10 before Eastgate responded with the final points of the half.
Wasps grabbed the opening points after the interval too with wing Tom Howe diving in on the right. Eastgate’s precise conversion from the touchline gave them the lead at 20-19.
Mulipola had made his return before Tigers grabbed their second score of the night, Roberts picking up loose ball on the left and racing clear of the defence to restore the lead with 15 minutes remaining. Hardwick’s kick made it 26-20 to the visitors.
And there was still time for a third score when Tigers drives from Will Owen and Harry Wells got the pack on the front foot and then the scrum pushed Wasps back to their own line before the referee signalled for a penalty try. Hardwick’s conversion brought the game to an end as Tigers opened their ‘A’ League account with an away win.