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Williams boots Tigers to narrow win


Owen Williams kicked Leicester to victory over Wasps

Owen Williams kicked Leicester to victory over Wasps

Owen Williams kicked Leicester to victory over Wasps

Fly-half Owen Williams produced a brilliant kicking performance to boot Leicester to a 18-16 Aviva Premiership victory at home to Wasps.

The 22-year-old Welshman slotted over six penalties out of six, most from long range, to maintain Leicester's fine record against Wasps who have not won at Welford Road for six years.

Williams struck the winning penalty with just two minutes left of a dour match which produced one try, by Wasps' Samoan centre Alapati Leiua just after the break.

Fly-half Andy Goode converted that and also added three penalties, but it was his Leicester counterpart Williams who ended up having the decisive influence as the Tigers picked up their fifth triumph of the campaign.

Leicester's fit-again England flanker Tom Croft withdrew from the match because his wife is having a baby but the Tigers still looked more like their real selves with the return of four internationals.

They were boosted by the likes of England hooker Tom Youngs, fit again after shoulder surgery, and Argentina prop Marcos Ayerza, while Wasps had Italy full-back Andrea Masi and Samoa centre Alapati Leiua back from international duty.

Wasps dominated the first half and played most of the rugby, but still found themselves trailing 9-3 at the interval.

That was because of the pinpoint accuracy of Williams, who kicked three long-range penalties, including one from two metres inside his own half, while former Leicester man Goode slotted one for Wasps.

Both sides had tries disallowed, Wasps lock Bradley Davies touching down under the posts in the second minute only to find the referee had penalised his side for pulling down in the line-out.

Leicester winger Miles Benjamin also thought he had scored in the 34th minute during Leicester's only spell of real pressure, but the TMO adjudged he had lost the ball as it hit the ground after a tackle by another ex-Leicester player, winger Tom Varndell.

Williams put Leicester 6-0 ahead with penalties from 50 metres in the 10th and 14th minutes before Wasps came close to scoring through flanker Guy Thompson who was hauled down just short of the line and knocked on while trying to lay the ball back.

Goode pulled three points back for Wasps in the 20th minute and it was not until the 32nd minute that the Tigers made their first serious foray into the Wasps 22.

They exerted some real pressure but were unable to find a way through the wall of white shirts and it took a fabulous 53-metre penalty from Williams right on half time to extend their lead to 9-3.

Within seconds of the restart however, Wasps were 10-9 ahead. Goode's kick-off was taken by Leicester scrum-half David Mele and his clearance was charged down by Leiua who followed up for a simple try which Goode converted.

Goode missed with a long-range penalty minutes later but Wasps continued to dominate a dreary match.

Another monster penalty from Williams in the 62nd minute put Leicester 12-10 ahead and after four changes instilled some urgency into their play they won another penalty which the Welshman converted.

Two penalties by Goode in the 69th and 75th minutes put Wasps 16-15 ahead but Williams restored Leicester's lead - this time for good - with just over two minutes left after Wasps captain Chris Bell was penalised at a ruck.