Ford kick Tigers to late winner over Bordeaux-Bègles
EUROPEAN REPORT: A 77th-minute penalty from Leicester Tigers flyhalf George Ford was ultimately the deciding factor as the two-time Champions Cup winners left the South of France with a 16-13 win over Union Bordeaux-Begles.
In a tightly contested Pool B matchup, it took until the final stages to separate the sides.
Outside centre Guy Porter crossed the whitewash for the visitors to help open a 10-3 lead, but Jean-Baptiste Dubié responded on the brink of half-time to level the score at 10.
The second half was a battle of the kickers, Ford and Bordeaux scrumhalf Maxime Lucu went kick-for-kick until the final moments, where the Leicester man broke the deadlock for good with just four minutes remaining.
Bordeaux opened the scoring with a third-minute penalty after Leicester committed an infringement in the line-out. Lucu called his shot dispatching the first of two penalties in the contest.
Further chances were at a premium, however, and it wasn’t until the mid-way point of the first half Leicester responded – Ford dissecting the posts with a penalty of his own.
A minute later, Bordeaux was reduced to 14-men – Kane Douglas was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle on lock Ollie Chessum.
Leicester took full advantage as Ford, Bryce Hegarty and Porter showcased quick hands to create an opening for the latter to break through for the go-ahead try.
With time winding down in the first half, Leicester looked set to attack the Bordeaux flank with Ford lofting a high kick towards the corner. The ball was claimed in the air by Bordeaux’s Nans Ducuing – Tigers’ Hosea Saumaki committing an illegal tackle in the air, earning himself 10 minutes in the sin bin.
The hosts made use of the extra man in added time at the end of the first period. Lucu the conductor as he picked the ball at the back of the scrum, finding Yoram Moefana with a quick pass, the inside centre finding his midfield partner Dubié who rushed through the defensive line to score.
The second half continued in the same vein as the first, with both teams eager to gain territory through the kicking game.
Tigers’ thought they’d scored an early second-half try when wing Harry Potter dotted down in the corner, unfortunately, a knock-on from Porter in the build-up nullified the try.
Lucu and Ford exchanged penalties – and missed kicks – during the second half before Ford’s late, late penalty earned victory for the visiting English side.
Leicester host Connacht in round two next weekend, while Bordeaux face a trip to Wales to take on Scarlets – both fixtures scheduled to take place on Sunday.
For Union Bordeaux-Bègles
Pens: Lucu 2
For Leicester Tigers
Pens: Ford 3
Yellow cards: Kane Douglas (Bordeaux, 17), Hosea Saumaki (Leicester, 33)
Bordeaux: 15 Nans Ducuing, 14 Federico Mori, 13 Jean-Baptiste Dubié, 12 Yoram Falatea-Moefana, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Maxime Lucu, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Bastien Vergnes, 6 Cameron Woki, 5 Thomas Jolmes, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Clement Maynadier, 1 Jefferson Poirot (captain).
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Thierry Paiva, 18 Lekso Kaulashvili, 19 Alban Roussel, 20 Alexandre Roumat, 21 Yann Lesgourgues, 22 Ulupano Seuteni, 23 Santiago Cordero.
Leicester: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Guy Porter, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 George Ford, 9 Jack van Poortvliet, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 George Martin, 5 Calum Green, 4 Ollie Chessum, 3 Joe Heyes, 2 Nic Dolly, 1 Ellis Genge (captain).
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 James Whitcombe, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Juan Pablo Socino, 23 Kini Murimurivalu.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Eoghan Cross (Ireland), Oisin Quinn (Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)