Tigers pile misery on Falcons
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Guy Thompson scored two tries and made a crucial turnover as Leicester Tigers won a thrilling game against Newcastle Falcons 27-22 at Kingston Park.
The result left the Falcons stuck at the bottom of the standings and eased the Tigers’ own relegation fears.
The No.8, Thomson, set up Jonny May’s opening try, before getting two in the second half as Leicester eased away from the bottom of the table in a tense encounter.
Sonatane Takulua got two tries for Falcons, to add to Chris Harris’ earlier score, but they fell short at the end in a bid to snatch victory.
Leicester made the perfect start with an early George Ford penalty followed by a fine finish by May. Thompson made the initial burst and put in a beautiful offload to May on the wing. He then showed his power to hold off one tackle and then step inside another on his way to the line.
Ford’s conversion, and another penalty, made it 13-0 to the Tigers, who looked in complete control.
Falcons hit back though, Simon Hammersley breaking and Harris the man to eventually get over.
And they had another within a couple of minutes. It came as Vereniki Goneva spectacularly stood up Jordan Olowofela, raced away down the right and fed Takulua. The scrum-half still had a lot to do, but fended off Ford on his way to the line.
Takulua could not convert and Leicester hung onto a one-point lead at the break.
The momentum seemed to be with Newcastle, but against the run of play Thompson picked off a pass from Toby Flood, sprinting home from inside his own half, with Ford’s conversion making it 20-12.
Newcastle responded, with Takulua grabbing his second from close range. Mike Williams had just been sent to the bin for collapsing a maul, and from a scrum Newcastle got up to the line, with the scrum-half pouncing to dot down. He converted at the second attempt to cut the deficit back to a single point.
From a no-arms tackle by Ellis Genge on Flood, Takulua added another penalty putting Newcastle into the lead for the first time 22-20.
It did not last for long though, Thompson going over from close range off the back of a ruck. Ford’s conversion gave Tigers a little breathing space.
And Thompson was the hero at the death as Falcons hammered away at the Leicester line, winning the crucial turnover penalty to clinch victory.
Tries: Harris, Takulua 2
Cons: Takulua 2
Tries: May, Thompson 2
Cons: Ford 3
Pens: Ford 2
Yellow card: Mike Williams (Leicester Tigers, 54)
Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Toby Flood (co-captain), 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Mark Wilson (co-captain), 7 John Hardie, 6 Gary Graham, 5 Andrew Davidson, 4 Calum Green, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Logovi’i Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Sam Lockwood, 18 Trevor Davison, 19 Sean Robinson, 20 Evan Olmstead, 21 Michael Young, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Johnny Williams.
Leicester Tigers: 15 Matt Toomua, 14 Jonny May, 13 Gareth Owen, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Jordan Olowofela, 10 George Ford (captain), 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Guy Thompson, 7 Mike Williams, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Will Spencer, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jake Kerr, 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Brendon O’Connor, 21 Ben White, 22 Sam Aspland-Robinson, 23 Matt Smith.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley & Luke Pearce.
TMO: Rowan Kitt.