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Tigers keep in touch at top after taming Wasps

Published 01/11/2015

Owen Williams scored four penalties and a conversion in Leicester's win
Owen Williams scored four penalties and a conversion in Leicester's win

Leicester remain in second place in the Premiership table after a hard-fought 24-16 victory over Wasps at Welford Road.

After three matches, Leicester and Saracens are the only two unbeaten sides in the Premiership but the Tigers, unable to secure a bonus point in this match, remain one point behind their London rivals.

Leicester were more impressive than in recent weeks and were deserved winners with the lively Vereniki Goneva, and replacement Telusa Veainu scoring their tries. Owen Williams completed the scoring with four penalties and a conversion.

For Wasps, Lorenzo Cittadini scored a late try converted by Ruaridh Jackson. Jimmy Gopperth kicked two penalties and Elliot Daly one, with their fruitless afternoon being compounded by the loss of key forwards, Nathan Hughes and Matt Mullan, through injury.

Tongan number eight Opeti Fonua was included in Leicester's starting line-up for the first time with Dan Cole and Williams stepping up from the replacements' bench.

Wasps were without injury victims, Rob Miller and Ben Jacobs with Jackson and James Downey replacing them. Dan Robson made his Premiership debut for the club at scrum half with lock, Kearnan Myall, appearing for the first time the season.

Leicester went ahead after only five minutes. From a scrum on the half-way line, some skilful play from Sam Harrison released the three-quarters to produce a flowing move. Goneva burst through a gap taking Tigers into the opposition 22, from where they recycled the ball for the Fijian to brush aside some weak tackling for the opening try.

Wasps suffered a further early blow when prop, Mullan was led off with an injury to be replaced by Tom Bristow but the visitors picked up the next score thanks to a Gopperth penalty.

Williams hit a post with a long-range penalty but was on target with two further attempts to give Leicester a 13-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Wasps then came back into the game. First the home side conceded a scrum penalty on half-way with Daly stepping up to kick the goal with ease before Gopperth was successful with a more simple kick.

The visitors looked to have taken the lead when Daly sent Frank Halai away for the touchdown but the TMO ruled no try as result of a previous obstruction, so Wasps trailed 13-9 at the interval.

After the restart, Wasps suffered a major setback when number eight Hughes left the field with a leg injury with Guy Thompson coming on as his replacement.

Leicester also lost Fonua with an arm injury. Jordan Crane came onto the field together with recently signed Tongan World Cup wing, Veainu, who made his debut for the club.

Williams extended the home lead with his third penalty before Gopperth was yellow carded for a head-high challenge on Tigers' full-back Matthew Tait. Frustrated by his poor kick ahead, the Wasps fly-half was fortunate that it was not red as he led with a forearm into Tait's face.

With 20 minutes to go, Wasps introduced Bradley Davies, Joe Simpson and Ashley Johnson in an attempt to reverse their fortunes but it did not pay dividends as Leicester soon sealed the match with a try from Veanu.

Williams missed the conversion but kicked his fourth penalty before Wasps scored a consolation try from Cittadini with three minutes remaining.

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