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Match Reaction: Leicester Tigers 18 Wasps 16

Match Reaction: Leicester Tigers 18 Wasps 16

Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill believes the metronomic kicking of Owen Williams was the only positive to emerge from their scrappy Aviva Premiership Rugby victory over Wasps.

The 22-year-old Welshman kicked all of Leicester’s points in the 18-16 win as Wasps’ Alapati Leiua scored the game’s only try just after half-time.

Tigers are now level on points with fourth-placed Saracens as they continue to recover from their slow start to the season.

But Cockerill is adamant they will have to play considerably better if they are to keep on picking up points in the league.

“I'm bitterly disappointed we played so poorly,” said Cockerill. “It was a game we could have lost and were lucky to win.

“I'll take the four points but that, and Owen's kicking, were about as positive as the day was.

“We know Owen has the balls to kick important kicks, we saw that against Saracens and again today.

“It was a pretty poor game, from both teams, not a lot of rugby was played.

“We had senior players making poor decisions and we paid for it. We will move on but going into next week we need to be a lot, lot better than we were today.”

A scrappy first half at Welford Road ended with the Tigers 9-3 to the good thanks to fly-half Williams’ three penalties, all from around the halfway line.

But the game truly erupted into life just seven seconds into the second half with Leiua’s score.

Andy Goode’s kick-off was caught by David Mele but Leiua charged down the Frenchman’s attempted clearance.

The Samoan international then gathered to dot down for his first Aviva Premiership Rugby try – Goode adding the extras to give Wasps a 10-9 lead.

However, Wasps’ ill-discipline allowed Williams to do the rest of the damage through three more penalties, despite Goode briefly giving Wasps a lead inside the last ten minutes.

Neither side hit top gear but Wasps director of rugby Dai Young claimed he was pleased with what he deemed an improvement from last week’s 31-15 loss to Exeter Chiefs.

But the defeat does mean the visitors lose ground to their hosts in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table and Young admitted frustration that they couldn’t emerge with more than just a losing bonus point.

“We're disappointed but, first and foremost, it was a big step on from where we were last week,” he said.

“Last weekend's performance wasn't good enough and we asked some questions of ourselves internally this week. I thought the boys came out and really responded.

“Taking the positives out of it, we looked a completely different team to last week.

“But discipline was the difference between winning and losing today, especially in the last ten minutes.

“We got our noses in front but gave away three silly penalties when we had a chance to win the game.”
 
Leicester Tigers: Tait; Scully, Goneva, Allen, Benjamin; Williams, Mele (Harrison 57); Ayerza (Rizzo 55), Youngs (Ghiraldini 52), Cole, Thorn, Kitchener, Gibson, Salvi, Pearce (Barbieri 55).
Replacements not used: Balmain, de Chaves, Burns, Smith.
 
Wasps: Masi; Tagicakibau, Leiua, Bell, Varndell; Goode, Simpson; McIntyre (Yapp 68), Shervington (Johnson 62), Cittadini (Cooper-Woolley 55), Davies, Myall (Cannon 63), Jackson (Thompson 65), Thompson (Hughes 58), Jones. 
Replacements not used: Davies, Lozowski, Miller.
 
Scorers
 
Leicester Tigers
Penalties: Williams 6
 
Wasps
Try: Leiua
Conversion: Goode
Penalties: Goode 3
 
Referee: Luke Pearce
Attendance: 21,907

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