Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Leicester back to winning ways

Leicester head coach Richard Cockerill saw his side beat the Ospreys in the LV= Cup.
Leicester head coach Richard Cockerill saw his side beat the Ospreys in the LV= Cup.

Leicester got their season back on track with a convincing 39-16 victory over the Ospreys in their opening LV= Cup match at Welford Road.

The 2012 champions' win over the 2008 winners was their first in six matches in all competitions and owed much to the boot of 21-year-old Welsh fly-half Owen Williams, who scored 19 points, kicking five penalties and two conversions.

The Tigers scored four tries through Thomas Waldrom, Sam Harrison, Harry Wells, and Michael Noone, while Sam Williams got the Ospreys' only try and fly-half Sam Davies kicked 11 points.

The Ospreys, who have never won in England since beating Leicester in the 2008 final, lost captain Lloyd Peers to the sin-bin in the second half.

Both sides were badly hit by international calls and injuries and, as is the norm in this competition, took the opportunity to blood several youngsters in inexperienced sides.

The English and Welsh giants, who were meeting for the 12th time in cup competitions in less than a decade, were also badly in need of a win having each won just one of their last five games.

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill called on his side to show the sort of pride in the shirt that was missing in last weekend's home defeat by Harlequins.

And they started brightly, with both centres, Javiah Pohe and George Catchpole, breaching the Ospreys defence and fly-half Owen Williams giving the Tigers a 9-0 lead by the 13th minute with three well struck penalties.

The Ospreys, however, hit back through world junior player of the year, fly-half Davies, who kicked two penalties from four attempts, the fourth bouncing back infield off the crossbar.

The visitors also suffered a blow when prop Joe Rees had to be substituted after lengthy treatment following a crunching tackle by Leicester captain, prop Boris Stankovich.

Leicester stretched their lead in the 28th minute when Kiwi No.8 Waldrom scored the first try of the game, blasting past three defenders from a ruck after some good build-up play started by 21-year-old Owen Williams, who signed from the Scarlets in the summer. Owen Williams missed the conversion.

Davies kept the Ospreys in it with his third penalty in the 34th minute but Owen Williams stretched Leicester's lead to 20-9 within 10 minutes of the restart, by kicking two penalties from three attempts.

The third came after a sustained Tigers attack sparked by flanker Jamie Gibson and ended with Ospreys captain Peers being sin-binned for killing the ball at a ruck in his own 22.

Leicester began to take a stranglehold on the game and their pressure told in the 63rd minute when scrum-half Harrison darted under the posts from a ruck following a line-out and drive. Owen Williams converted to make it 27-9.

It took some outstanding defence by the Ospreys to keep out Leicester winger Miles Benjamin and then the Tigers pack in the 66th minute but with nine minutes left the video referee, after much deliberation, awarded replacement Wells a try following a line-out and drive. Owen Williams missed the conversion.

Ospreys hit back immediately with a try by replacement Sam Williams, converted by Davies.

But flanker Michael Noon got Leicester's fourth try, converted by Owen Williams, right on time.

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