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Bell try boosts Tigers

Leicester scrambled to a 16-12 victory over Newcastle at Kingston Park thanks to a controversial try five minutes from time.

Trailing 12-6 at half-time, Freddie Burns pulled the Tigers back to 12-9 with a 59th-minute penalty and then in the 75th minute launched a crossfield kick into the Falcons' goal area where brothers Mathew and Alex Tait both went for the ball which rebounded for Tommy Bell to touch down.

After a long delay the TMO approved the try and Burns converted for Leicester to clinch victory and move into the Aviva Premiership's top four.

Had Newcastle won, London Welsh's relegation would have been confirmed given the Exiles lost 74-19 to Exeter on Saturday.

Should Newcastle lose all six of their remaining fixtures, London Welsh would need to win all five of their own and earn a bonus point in at least three of them in order to avoid the drop.

Despite being under constant pressure up front, Newcastle showed they were more than a match for Leicester with the ball in hand and Mathew Tait was left with no alternative but to take Tom Catterick's clever kick through into touch right on the Leicester line.

Newcastle promptly drove the line-out effectively for hooker Scott Lawson to score and Catterick converted for 7-0 after 10 minutes.

It seemed Adam Thompstone must score when he cut back inside, but the winger slipped just inside the Newcastle 22 and the Falcons covered well before Richard Mayhew was caught offside at a scrum and Burns kicked a 15th-minute penalty to make it 7-3.

Both Vereniki Goneva and number eight Laurence Pearce were making their bulk count with big runs in midfield as Leicester dominated possession.

But Newcastle looked dangerous whenever they had the ball and Catterick had the crowd on their feet with a weaving run into the Tigers' 22 before he was stopped.

Mathew Tait ran his brother's long kick out of defence right back at Newcastle and when Adam Powell went off his feet, Burns kicked his second penalty in the 29th minute to make it 7-6.

Right on half-time, Newcastle showed what they can do within the ball in hand, producing a period of sustained pressure with wingers Sinoti Sinoti and Alex Tuilagi making big runs and the latter was inches from scoring.

Newcastle recycled, lost the ball, recovered it and Powell showed real presence of mind to cut back inside and throw a lovely long pass to Sinoti for the winger to hurtle over in the corner with two tacklers hanging on.

The try was given after the referee went to the TMO and i t put Newcastle 12-6 up at the break, Catterick hitting the post with the conversion from the touchline.

Newcastle lost two early second half line-outs deep in the Tigers' 22, and when Josh Furno was taken out in the line-out, Catterick was well short with the 45-metre penalty in the 48th minute.

They were costly misses as Burns slotted a penalty in the 59th minute to make it 12-9 after Mark Wilson strayed offside.

Newcastle kicked it straight out from the restart and were penalised at the scrum for collapsing. Burns had a chance to level the scores but his kick at goal from halfway was short.

Leicester stepped up the pressure and Burns was nearly through with the Falcons showing signs of slipping off the pace.

However, they seemed to be hanging on until Leicester mounted one last effort and Bell got the crucial score in the 75th minute.


From Belfast Telegraph