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Gloucester claim draw in thriller

League leaders Leicester were denied victory in the final seconds of an epic Aviva Premiership contest at Welford Road as play-off rivals Gloucester snatched a deserved 41-41 draw.

Centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu's interception try, converted by Freddie Burns, ensured the highest-scoring draw in Premiership history and the most points Leicester have ever conceded on home soil in a league game.

Tigers looked as though they would bounce back from their painful European exit to stay in charge of the Premiership title race but Fuimaono-Sapolu's score rewarded a battling performance from the Cherry and Whites.

Juggernaut wing Alesana Tuilagi scored three tries in 14 minutes to ruthlessly overturn an interval deficit, but Gloucester drew level at 34-34 before Leicester centre Billy Twelvetrees claimed what appeared to be a winning score midway through the final quarter.

Gloucester though, had other ideas, and the brilliant Fuimaono-Sapolu claimed his second try when he intercepted Jeremy Staunton's pass 60 metres out, which Burns goaled with the final kick of a 10-try thriller.

Third-placed Gloucester led 17-13 at the break following touchdowns from full-back Olly Morgan and Fuimaono-Sapolu, but Tuilagi then cut loose as he took his Premiership try tally this season to 10.

England fly-half Toby Flood converted Tuilagi's treble and also added the extras to an early Scott Hamilton score and Twelvetrees' touchdown, while two penalties meant he finished with 16 points.

Gloucester though, confirmed their status as probable play-off qualifiers, with flanker Andy Hazell and substitute centre Tim Molenaar adding second-half tries before Fuimaono-Sapolu and Burns provided the finishing touches.

Like Flood, Burns ended with 16 points, and Gloucester will feel disappointed that victory eluded them after stretching champions Leicester to the limit.


From Belfast Telegraph