Tigers late onslaught wins it
Published 21/10/2012 | 17:52
England international Toby Flood delivered a virtuoso display as Leicester kick-started their Heineken Cup campaign with a vital 39-22 victory over Ospreys at Welford Road.
Flood scored 24 of Tigers' points, including a decisive interception try nine minutes from time when he caught his opposite number Dan Biggar's speculative pass and raced 60 metres to score.
He also kicked five penalties and two conversions, with his fellow England internationals Manu Tuilagi (2) and Ben Youngs adding touchdowns as Leicester opened their account in Pool Two after last weekend's defeat in Toulouse.
It was rough luck on Biggar for conceding the Flood try, as he also made a high-class contribution with 17 points that included the conversion of flanker Ryan Jones' early try.
But Leicester secured an unlikely bonus-point triumph with a blistering onslaught of 20 points in the last 18 minutes to leave the Ospreys shell-shocked.
The closing stages showcased Leicester at their finest, sensing an unlikely maximum points haul when they could have just settled for a hard-earned win.
Youngs, a thorn in the Ospreys' side all afternoon, continued to cajole his team-mates, and he inspired the late flourish by sprinting over for a try after Tigers' attackers made the most of a kind bounce.
And there was worse to come for the Ospreys with the last play of a gripping encounter when flanker Steve Mafi was held up short, but Tuilagi gathered possession and gleefully dived over to send a 20,000 crowd wild.
Ospreys could scarcely believe the quality of Leicester's finish, and they will head back to Wales without even a losing bonus from a game that saw them go hammer and tongs with their opponents for most of the contest.