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BBC rugby correspondent Ian Robertson
"It was only heroic tackling which gave Leicester this narrowest of wins"
 real 14k

Llanelli's Martyn Madden
"That's what rugby's all about."
 real 56k

Leicester coach Dean Richards
"We were a little bit complacent"
 real 56k

Saturday, 29 September, 2001, 18:20 GMT 19:20 UK
Tigers claw past Llanelli
Stephen Jones and Martin Johnson tussle on the floor
Jones (l) was penalised for his fracas with Johnson
Leicester 12-9 Llanelli

Leicester began their defence of the Heineken Cup in winning fashion - but were made to work hard by a determined Llanelli side at Welford Road.

All the points in the match came from the respective boots of Tim Stimpson and Stephen Jones, an indication of how close the encounter was.

After a promising opening, the visitors took a deserved lead when Jones kicked the first points of the match.

England flanker Neil Back was adjudged to have killed the ball in the ruck, handing the Llanelli fly-half the perfect opportunity to give his side a solid start in the 17th minute.

Leicester then quickly found themselves one-man down when inspirational captain Martin Johnson was yellow-carded for what can only be described as a slap on Martyn Madden.

Leicester's Freddie Tuilagi is surrounded by Llanelli defenders
Leicester's Freddie Tuilagi on the charge
Referee David McHugh had no option but to send the second row to the sin-bin for 10 minutes.

And to compound Leicester's misery further, Jones successfully kicked the resulting penalty to double Llanelli's lead.

But the reigning champions responded in typical fashion when Stimpson levelled proceedings with two penalties - the second coming after relentless pressure on the Llanelli line.

Jones reclaimed the lead for the Welsh side when he kicked his third penalty of the half after Leicester were caught off-side.

But the fly half's fine work with the boot was undone when an off-the-ball altercation with Johnson resulted in a Leicester penalty, kicked over by Stimpson for a 9-9 score at half-time.

Dean Richard's half-time talk made an immediate impression as his side began to impose their authority.

Leicester pressure

Indeed, Llanelli had substitute Neil Boobyer - on for the injured Wayne Proctor - and Robin McBryde to thank for two potentially try-saving tackles.

Boobyer stopped an onrushing Freddie Tuilagi 20 metres from the Llanelli line when it looked certain the Samoan would score the first try of the match.

And as the ball was efficiently recycled by the Leicester forwards, hooker McBryde then stopped Andy Goode in tracks with just metres to go.

But persistent Leicester pressure eventually paid dividends when Llanelli were caught off-side.

Stimpson kicked over what proved to be the decisive penalty, giving Leicester their first victory in Europe this season.

Leicester: Pens: T Stimpson (4)

Llanelli: Pens: Jones (3)

Leicester: Stimpson, Booth, Gelderbloom, Kafer, Tuilagi, Goode, Healey, Rowntree, West, Garforth, M. Johnson, Kay, Moody, Back, Corry.
Replacements: Chuter, Smith, Deacon, Nebbett, Ellis, Naylor, W. Johnson.

Llanelli: B. Davies, Proctor, Cardey, L. Davies, Finau, S. Jones, G. Easterby, Madden, McBryde, J. Davies, Gross, Wyatt, D. Jones, S. Easterby, Hodges.
Replacements: John, M. Thomas, Cooper, Morgan, Peel, G. Bowen, I. Boobyer.

Referee: D. McHugh (RFU)

Links to more Heineken Cup stories are at the foot of the page.


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