Ford guides Leicester to victory over Newcastle
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Flyhalf George Ford helped Leicester Tigers beat Newcastle Falcons 26-12 in a physical Premiership encounter at Welford Road on Sunday.
Ford contributed 16 points with the boot in the match. The hosts led 16-0 at the break and withstood a rallying Falcons effort to hold on for the win.
Leicester enjoyed the early dominance and earned their due rewards on 12 minutes with the first try of the game with flank Hanro Liebenberg ploughing over down the left with Ford adding the conversion.
It seemed to spark the Falcons into life, Joel Hodgson’s cross-field kick almost putting Ben Stevenson away down the left only for Leicester to bundle the ball into touch.
The resulting line-out saw Newcastle turn over the ball in prime attacking position, Stevenson again attacking down the left but the TMO ruling him to have put a foot in touch in the act of scoring in the corner.
Tigers responded with a penalty from Ford on 26 minutes following a line-out infringement on the left-hand side of the field, Newcastle striving to bounce back with some improved field position but still not finding a way to turn pressure into points.
Ford’s second penalty extended the home side’s lead to 13-0 on 35 minutes when the England international chipped one over from in front following an offside, the Tigers failing to make a close-range line-out count shortly after as they conceded an obstruction infringement.
But the hosts did manage to add to their tally with the final play of the half, Ford striking a penalty from 40 metres out on the right-hand side to secure a 16-0 interval lead.
Newcastle began the second half with no shortage of energy with Mark Wilson and Stevenson both making incursions, while Jamie Blamire’s enthusiasm in defence saw the hooker earning a jackal penalty for his side.
Jasper Wiese and George Martin were sent to the sin bin as Falcons enjoyed a sustained period of red-zone pressure, and they finally earned their first points of the afternoon when Will Welch scored from a close-range pick-and-go between the posts.
Brett Connon added the simple conversion, but Leicester kept chipping away through Ford’s fourth penalty as the England man slotted from 45 metres out.
The visitors kept battling in search of further points with Kyle Cooper and Luther Burrell among the players breaking the line as they camped themselves in the home half, but the scores just weren’t forthcoming as Leicester’s rearguard held tight.
Tigers themselves had a try ruled out by the TMO when Freddie Steward scored on the back of an earlier off-the-ball hit, but managed to erase that disappointment when Charlie Clare dotted down from a maul in the right corner.
Sam Stuart replied with a try from a tap-and-go, but the gap by that stage was too wide to bridge.
For Leicester Tigers:
Tries: Liebenberg, Clare
Cons: Ford 2
Pens: Ford 4
For Newcastle Falcons:
Tries: Welch, Stuart
Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Kini Murimurivalu, 10 George Ford, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 5 Calum Green, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Cameron Henderson, 20 George Martin, 21 Jack Van Poortvliet, 22 Johnny McPhillips, 23 Guy Porter.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 George Wacokecoke, 13 Pete Lucock, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Callum Chick, 7 Mark Wilson (captain), 6 Will Welch, 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Darren Barry, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Jamie Blamire, 1 Adam Brocklebank.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Connor Collett, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Morgan Passman.
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: Greg Macdonald, Wayne Falla
TMO: Rowan Kitt