Harrison steals late winner for Tigers
The Tigers overcame a 24-point deficit to beat Gloucester 38-31 in a breathless Premiership contest at Kingsholm.
* In the other Friday match Sale Sharks' Dan Mugford could not make it two stunning Premiership turnarounds in one day.
The replacement No.10's last-gasp penalty sailed wide of the mark to hand Newcastle Falcons an opening 19-17 win.
We look at the Friday matches!
Gloucester 31-38 Leicester Tigers
Sam Harrison's last-gasp try completed an astonishing comeback as Leicester Tigers overcame a 24-point deficit to beat Gloucester 38-31 in a breathless Premiership contest at Kingsholm.
Scottish international Matt Scott went over twice during his first half in the Cherry & Whites' jersey to give the hosts an imposing lead, with Charlie Sharples also scoring from an interception and Manu Tuilagi providing the Tigers' only response.
The game looked up for Tigers when Henry Purdy charged through soon after the break, but four second half-tries still were to come with JP Pietersen and Brendon O'Connor going over, and Harrison completing a try-double as the clock ticked into the red.
And to top off a wonderful match, Premiership history was made as the Burns brothers, Freddie and Billy, became the first pair of siblings to face each other as starting No.10s.
Gloucester enjoyed the vast majority of the early possession, with Billy Twelvetrees and John Afoa combining to unlock the Tigers' defence for the first real opportunity of the game.
And it was the hosts who opened the scoring with a brilliant handling move down the left flank.
Tom Marshall and Matt Kvesic were both involved to put Scott over in the corner as he supported Twelvetrees perfectly, with the Scot's international colleague Greig Laidlaw slotting an excellent conversion from the sideline.
Leicester bounced back quickly however, and despite all the Cherry & Whites' possession the scores were soon level after stunning footwork from Telusa Veainu moved his side 60 metres downfield.
Marshall's kick was charged down and after Burns senior put through a grubber, Tuilagi was able to gather Pietersen's offload and slam the ball down despite Sharples' last-ditch tackle – with the fly-half adding the extras.
The parity did not last long however. Mathew Tait's pass just outside the 25 was intercepted by Sharples, and with just grass ahead of him the 27-year-old could pin his ears back and a 21st-minute try was the only result.
And a stunning first-half performance was complete on 33 minutes when another wonderful flowing move was finished off in right corner by Scott, although Ross Moriarty deserved the plaudits too for a perfect step inside and offload out of the back door.
Another Laidlaw conversion made it 24-7 at the interval, and with plenty of work to in the second half Leicester got off to the worst possible start.
It came from a second interception of the game – this time by James Hook, who sent Purdy clear, and he turned Veainu inside out to score.
The Tigers – Premiership semifinalists 12 years in a row – showed exactly what they are made of however to hit straight back through Pietersen, who showed his pace down the left-hand side.
And they thought they had a second moments later, but after Adam Thompstone beat Purdy to Burns' kick through, the TMO ruled he was offside.
But Leicester now had the wind in their sails, and after several mauls were held up illegally on the Gloucester line, Kvesic saw yellow and Harrison burrowed his way over on 56 minutes.
Burns added a scrum penalty just before the hour-mark to set up a grandstand finish with Leicester now within a score at 31-24.
Leicester huffed and puffed in the closing stages with Gloucester also electing to kick a penalty into the corner rather than take the points.
And they were made to rue that decision when Youngs' box kick over the top saw Pietersen offload to O'Connor, before Harrison – who had levelled the scores with the conversion – then made it a memorable Tigers victory with a last-gasp score.
Tries:Scott 2, Sharples, Purdy
Cons: Laidlaw 4
For Leicester Tigers:
Tries:Tuilagi, Pietersen, Harrison 2, O'Connor
Cons: Burns 3, Harrison 2
Yellow card: Matt Kvesic (Gloucester, 54)
Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Joe Latta, 20 Jacob Rowan, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 James Hook, 23 Gareth Evans
Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Luke Hamilton, 5 Dom Barrow, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Greg Bateman, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Will Evans, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Matt Smith, 23 Adam Thompstone
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Ian Tempest, Peter Allan
TMO: David Grashoff
Newcastle Falcons 19-17 Sale Sharks
Sale Sharks' Dan Mugford could not make it two stunning Premiership turnarounds in one evening, as the replacement No.10's last-gasp penalty sailed wide of the mark to hand Newcastle Falcons an opening 19-17 win.
After Leicester Tigers had overhauled a 24-point deficit to win at Gloucester, Sale looked to have done the same with second-half scores from Johnny Leota and Byron McGuigan giving them a chance to win the game.
Sinoti Sinoti had scored the only try of the first half for Newcastle, and Mike Delany's heroics from the tee ultimately proved enough as he slotted 14 points for the hosts.
Niki Goneva endeared himself to the home fans early on, making three line breaks inside the first four minutes as the Falcons put huge pressure on the Sale try-line – only for Bryn Evans to rip the ball away at the vital moment.
But Falcons continued to apply the early pressure and were rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts, with Delany doing the honours to make it 3-0.
Sharks had the chance to hit straight back when Newcastle were pinged at a Sale driving Maul, but new recruit AJ MacGinty's first kick drifting just wide of the mark from the left-hand side.
The visitors were level on 20 minutes however after a five-metre line-out allowed them to put massive pressure on the Newcastle line, and this time MacGinty made no mistake with the penalty.
The fly-half was almost in for the game's opening try five minutes later as he hacked onto a loose pass and chased downfield, but the Falcons recovered to ground the ball in goal.
Sale looked to turn the screw and after a great carry from TJ Ioane brought the Sharks deep into the Falcons half, MacGinty could kick a penalty into the corner.
But after a Mark Wilson turnover, Newcastle were up the other end quick as a flash, and when Sale were penalised for a high tackle they had a five-metre line-out of their own.
And after another penalty and line-out, Falcons finally crossed the whitewash in the 36th minute through Sinoti, who sidestepped and barrelled over in the left corner from Juan Pablo Socino's pass.
The Sharks looked for an immediate response before the break, but despite immense pressure on the hosts' line an impressive defensive effort kept them at bay and eventually forced the turnover to keep it 10-3 at the break.
Prop Jon Welsh picked up where Falcons left off with a drop of the shoulder and a line break, before Delany nudged another penalty through the posts to hand his side a ten-point advantage.
But Sale came roaring back into the contest on 46 minutes as Leota was released on the overlap to score, with Mugford – on for MacGinty – making it 13-10 with the conversion.
There was a lengthy delay before Taione Vea was stretchered off, before a dominant Falcons scrum saw the Sharks front row penalised and allowed Delany to add another penalty from long range.
Eifion Lewis-Roberts was then pinged for sticking his hands into the ruck, and Delany's trusty boot took the Falcons more than a converted try clear.
Sale were not done yet however and McGuigan scored a wonderful try to blow the game wide open heading into the final ten minutes, as he latched on to Mugford's chip over the top to score – with the fly-half then adding the extras to take the scoreline to 19-17.
And after Delany missed his first penalty of the evening, the Sharks were given a golden opportunity to win it with a penalty awarded from a driving maul as the clock ticked into the red, but it was heartbreak for Mugford who watched his kick miss the target.
For Newcastle Falcons:
Pens: Delany 4
For Sale Sharks:
Tries: Leota, McGuigan
Cons: Mugford 2
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (captain), 6 Evan Olmstead, 5 Will Witty, 4 Calum Green, 3 Taione Vea, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Jon Welsh
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Sam Lockwood, 19 Opeti Fonua, 20 Callum Chick, 21 Sam Egerton, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Dominic Waldouck
Sale Sharks: 15 Byron McGuigan, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Laurence Pearce, 7 TJ Ioane, 6 Josh Beaumont (captain), 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 James Flynn, 18 Kieran Longbottom, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Magnus Lund, 21 David Seymour, 22 James Mitchell, 23 Dan Mugford
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant referees: John Meredith, Wayne Falla
TMO: Trevor Fisher