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Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Sunday, 7 September 2008 17:52 UK

Gloucester 8-20 Leicester

Gloucester (8) 8
Tries: Morgan Pens: Lamb

Leicester (5) 20
Tries: Murphy, Flood Cons: Dupuy, Flood Pens: Flood 2

By James Standley

Tom Varndell (left) and Jordan Crane (centre) mob Geordan Murphy after he scored Leicester's first try
Crane leads the celebrations after Murphy scythed through to score

New Leicester coach Heyneke Meyer made a winning start as the Tigers came from behind to defeat Gloucester.

Toby Flood kicked the Tigers into an early 6-0 lead before a Ryan Lamb penalty got the hosts on the board.

Lamb missed a couple of simple kicks for Gloucester but Olly Morgan's try saw the hosts lead 8-6 at half-time.

They butchered a superb try-scoring chance after 65 minutes and converted tries from Geordan Murphy and Flood then made them pay.

There is plenty of history between the two clubs and Gloucester had had all summer to stew over their previous encounter.

Back in May, Gloucester, who had topped the Premiership regular-season table for the second year in a row, led 12-3 at half-time in the play-off semi-final and looked set for a date at Twickenham.

But the Tigers defied their own rocky form to fight back and clinch a 26-25 victory with a 78th-minute Andy Goode drop-goal, leaving Gloucester to yet again curse the play-off system.

606: DEBATE
TTB

With new signing Olly Barkley out injured the hosts had no new faces on parade, but Leicester unveiled former Newcastle man Flood at fly-half and he landed two penalties to give them a 6-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Lamb then missed a simple chance to get the hosts on the board before finally finding his range after Leicester open-side Ben Herring was sin-binned for illegal hands on the floor.

Lamb, who combined some lovely touches with some erratic moments, missed for a second time, this time from the right of the posts, but he played an integral role as Gloucester came within inches of the first try.

Lamb hoisted a huge bomb and full-back Morgan leapt above Murphy to claim a superb catch before offloading to the supporting Andy Titterell.

The hooker was travelling at pace but Tom Varndell caught him just short of the line and the combined might of several Leicester tacklers prevented him from getting the ball down.

Leicester flanker Ben Herring wraps up Anthony Allen
There was no quarter given at Kingsholm on Sunday

However, Gloucester were awarded a scrum and with the new laws meaning the defence had to be five metres back, Morgan was able to cross in the corner despite Leicester cynically encroaching offside.

Lamb missed the conversion from the touchline and both he and Flood were off target with penalty attempts either side of the break as nerves began to tell.

Gloucester brought on Willie Walker for Lamb but he pulled a penalty attempt to the left to leave Gloucester just two points ahead with an hour played.

The hosts should have stretched clear after 65 minutes but within a matter of seconds they somehow contrived to twice mess up massive overlaps, with Luke Narraway slipping a yard from the line as he tried to step inside the last man after the hosts finally managed to get the ball wide.

It looked like being a costly miss and Leicester punished them immediately as Murphy knifed through from the 22 to score a fine try after a superb hooked pass from Jordan Crane earlier in the move.

Replacement scrum-half Julien Dupuy converted to put Leicester five points ahead and although Gloucester hammered away for the last 10 minutes, Leicester, helped by some inept attacking play from the hosts, had the final word.

Flood picked off a pass as Gloucester desperately attacked from deep and the England fly-half cantered over before adding the extras as the Tigers once again sent the Kingsholm faithful home empty-handed.


Gloucester boss Dean Ryan:
"I am frustrated, but we know why we lost that game. It is the small things and how we are being distracted that is killing us.

"We should have put the game away - we had the winning of it for 70 minutes.

"We have got to look at individuals. Yes, we will win games this season, but whether we can win big games? We've got to find out whether the personalities can take this club forward."

Leicester boss Heyneke Meyer:
"We always knew it would be tough. We knew Gloucester would come out firing and that we would have to get stuck in and show some attitude.

"Our fitness levels showed and I was very happy with the defence. Gloucester had a lot of opportunities out wide but we defended well."


Gloucester: Morgan; Simpson-Daniel, Tindall, Allen, Vainikolo; Lamb, Lawson; Wood, Titterrell, Nieto, W. James, Bortolami, Buxton, Strokosch, Narraway.

Replacements: Watkins for Allen (73), Walker for Lamb (59), Cooper for Lawson (66), Young for Wood (58), Azam for Titterrell (41), Brown for Bortolami (50), Hazell for Strokosch (69).

Leicester: G Murphy; Varndell, Smith, Hipkiss, Tuilagi; Flood, Ellis; Ayerza, Chuter, White, Blaze, Kay, Croft, Herring, Crane.

Replacements: T Youngs for Tuilagi (40), Dupuy for Ellis (58), Kayser for Chuter (50), Woods for Herring (63).

Not Used: Cole, Wentzel, Vesty.

Sin Bin: Herring (23).

Att: 13,180

Ref: Dave Pearson (Newcastle).


see also
Hougaard praises head coach Meyer
03 Sep 08 |  Leicester
Ryan set to start with his stars
02 Sep 08 |  Gloucester
Burke lands Tigers coaching role
02 Sep 08 |  Leicester
Ryan mulling over Satala signing
01 Sep 08 |  Gloucester


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