Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Tigers bounce back strongly

Leicester Tigers' Vereniki Goneva, left, tries to break through in Leicester's convincing victory
Leicester Tigers' Vereniki Goneva, left, tries to break through in Leicester's convincing victory

Leicester bounced back from their opening Heineken Cup defeat at Ulster with a convincing 34-3 victory over Benetton Treviso at Welford Road.

The Pool Five success maintained Leicester's 100 per cent record against Italian sides - played 19 won 19 - and also meant they had earned a bonus point in each of Treviso's four visits to Leicester.

Leicester's tries came from Thomas Waldrom, Tom Youngs, Blaine Scully and Adam Thompstone - with the last move of the game. Toby Flood kicked 14 points.

Tobias Botes kicked a penalty for Treviso, who had three players sin- binned, two in the space of two minutes in the second half. Leicester scored 14 points while the Italians were down to 13 men.

Leicester, already without several key players, including both first- choice centres, suffered another blow after just four minutes when Fijian centre Vereniki Goneva went off with a leg injury.

He was replaced by 21-year-old Kiwi Terence Hepetema, a recent signing from Australian side Waratahs, who was making his second appearance.

The teams were meeting at the pool stage for the fourth time and the fact that Leicester won only 14-13 away and 33-25 at home last year was a sign of the great strides the Italian side have made.

They made life difficult for Leicester in the first half with their direct running style but lost the ball in contact too often and trailed 13-0 at half-time.

Leicester fly-half Toby Flood kicked two penalties and also converted a try by number eight Waldrom.

Leicester came close to scoring in the 14th minute after Treviso lost the ball in the Tigers 22 and scrum-half Ben Youngs launched the ball upfield. Winger Scully won the race to the ball but was forced into touch by Christian Loamanu.

Flood, however, put Leicester ahead with his first penalty three minutes later and the English champions were left cursing pedantic French referee Pascal Gauzere who pulled Scully back in the act of scoring because a tap penalty had not been taken from the right spot.

Treviso lost fly-half Mat Berquist, who had missed with a long range penalty early on, with an ankle injury and moments later were down to 14 men after scrum-half Tobias Botes was sin-binned for a shirt pull in front of the posts.

Flood kicked the penalty and, with just two minutes of the half left, Waldrom forced his way over after a second line-out and drive, with Flood adding the conversion.

Leicester started the second half strongly but had a try disallowed by the video referee after just four minutes. Lock Graham Kitchener stole a lineout and was driven over but after going upstairs the referee awarded Treviso a penalty.

Botes put Treviso on the scoreboard with a 47th minute penalty but the visitors then shot themselves in the foot when captain Antonio Pavanello and winger Loamanu received yellow cards in the space of two minutes, the former for repeated offences, the latter for a high tackle on Scully.

They paid the price immediately, hooker Tom Youngs forcing his way over following a line-out and drive, with Flood adding the conversion.

And in the 65th minute Scully got Leicester's third try after a quickly taken tap penalty. Flood converted from the right touchline to make it 27-3.

It looked like Leicester would fail to land a crucial bonus point but in the final minute winger Thompstone stepped inside a defender to score his side's fourth try, with Flood adding the conversion.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre