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Friday, 11 October, 2002, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Tigers held at the Gnoll
Neath 16-16 Leicester
A controversial last-minute penalty awarded against French international Franck Tournaire allowed Neath to salvage a draw against reigning Heineken Cup champions Leicester at the Gnoll.
The home side had led for most of the game, but a moment of magic from Austin Healey saw the Tigers take the lead with a 78th-minute try.
Leicester controlled the ball from the restart, but at the ruck David McHugh adjudged that substitute Tournaire had stamped on a Neath player.
Lee Jarvis stepped forward to kick his third penalty of the night and earn his side a hard-fought draw.
The double champions were looking unusually vulnerable before the match.
They had lost their last three away games, and carried the record of never having beaten a Welsh club in the Heineken Cup on this side of the border.
Perhaps a sign of Leicester's unease was the mind games they played with their line-up before kick off.
In the match build-up, England internationals Austin Healey, Darren Garforth and Neil Back were all named as substitutes, but come kick-off time and they were out there on the park.
The shenanigans had no effect on the men in black as they tore into the Tigers from the outset, playing a tight forward game allied to some astute kicking from fly-half Jarvis.
The tactics were ideally suited to the filthy conditions at the Gnoll and Neath skipper Gareth Llewellyn led the way with his aggressive play, including some rigorous footwork on Darren Garforth.
The first points of the night came when Garforth buckled under the pressure exerted from Duncan Jones at the scrum.
Jarvis slotted the resultant penalty, and another after Leon Lloyd's late tackle on Shane Williams.
England and Lions full-back Tim Stimpson replied for the Tigers, but it was a piece of uncharacteristic uncertainty from him that led to Neath's opening try.
He hesitated under a high Jarvis garryowen, and from the resultant Neath line-out Llewellyn presented perfect possession.
Jarvis' chip kick found Stimpson badly out of position, allowing Dave Tiueti to run through and ground the ball for a converted try.
Neath were cruising until the stroke of half-time when wing Shane Williams was needlessly caught offside. Stimpson stroked over the penalty to leave the interval score at 13-6.
The Tigers came out to show their champion credentials, encamping in the Neath half and forcing a succession of penalties.
Stimpson slotted the first and the All Blacks were on the ropes, but the full-back proceeded to miss the next two.
The waves of Leicester attacks continued to break against the black wall. Stimpson probed, but the increasingly desperate defence somehow held until just two minutes from the end.
Austin Healey, the man whose breaks have been crucial to his side's success in the last two Heineken Cup finals, was again their inspiration.
A long-range Jarvis penalty was returned with interest by the Leicester fly-half, and from the position deep in the Neath half the visitors won a scrum.
The ball came back to man-of-the-match Healey who looped round, threw a dummy to Tiueti and crossed under the posts.
The conversion made it 13-16, but straight from the restart came the controversial penalty.
Jarvis made no mistake with the kick. Leicester stormed back at Neath, but the All Blacks held on and the draw was a fair result.
Healey was an angry man in his post-match interview, saying: "I don't like to have a go at refs so I won't.
"But the game was lost on a decision that was far from agreeable."
Neath: Gareth Morris; Kevin James, James Storey, Dave Tiueti, Shane Williams; Lee Jarvis, Andy Moore; Duncan
Jones, Barry Williams, Andrew Millward, Andy Newman, Gareth Llewellyn (capt), Hywel Jenkins, Alfie Mocelutu, Nathan Bonner-Evans.
Leicester: Tim Stimpson; Leon Lloyd, Glenn Gelderbloom, Rod Kafer, Freddie Tuilagi, Austin Healey, Tom Tierney, Graham Rowntree, Dorian West, Darren Garforth, Martin Johnson, Ben Kay, Lewis Moody, Neil Back,
Referee: David McHugh (Ireland)
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