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Match Reaction: Leicester Tigers 35 Gloucester Rugby 30

Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill admitted his side’s season was on the line when they trailed 27-13 at half time to Gloucester Rugby.

Tigers recovered with three second half tries from Manu Tuilagi, his second of the game, Vereniki Goneva and Peter Betham to sneak a vital 35-30 win.

The win moves the Tigers back into the top four ahead of Northampton Saints game against Wasps on Sunday, and Cockerill believes keeping the pressure on their rivals was vital.

“It was the season for us, we had 40 minutes to keep our season alive so there were some harsh words said at half time,” he said.

“But we knew if we got it right, like we did in the first 20 minutes, we could score points and we can win.

“We started really well and then went to pieces defensively. We looked poor and we probably deserved to be 17 points down at half time, we got what we deserved in that first half.

“I don’t think it’s going to be pleasant watching on Monday. We are not going to accept that 20 minutes of that first half because that’s not good enough.

“But credit to the players they worked and toiled and we got ourselves back into a winning position and they deserve a huge amount of credit for that.”

After two early Tigers tries from Telusa Veainu and Tuilagi, Gloucester came roaring back at the Tigers with three of their own tries from Steve McColl, Henry Trinder and Paddy McAllister.

And with the impeccable kicking of Greig Laidlaw, who converted all three conversions and three penalties, the Cherry and Whites deservedly led at the break.

But three second-half tries put Leicester back in front and despite some late Gloucester pressure in the dying moments, they held on for the full five points.

The defeat means Gloucester have not won any of their last four games going into their Challenge Cup game against Newport Gwent Dragons next weekend.

Gloucester’s director of rugby, David Humphries, said: “We’re disappointed in the dressing room; I’m so disappointed for the players with the effort they put in.

“We talked before the game about the need to come here and have a big performance and there were large aspects of our game that were very good today.

“For us to win our set piece had to be better than it was today and I think three of the Leicester tries came directly from our set piece.

“Today was about coming out and bouncing back from what was a low performance against Worcester, since then week on week we have got better and better and in long parts of the game today we were very good.”
 
Leicester Tigers:  Veainu, Thompstone (Tait 52), Betham, Tuilagi, Goneva, Williams, Youngs (Harrison 52), Mulipola (Ayerza 40), Thacker, Cole (Balmain 64), Barrow, Kitchener (Seb de Chaves 79), Croft, 7 Will Evans (Bateman 58), Slater (O'Connor 40).

Gloucester Rugby: Marshall, Cook, Trinder, Atkinson, McColl; Hook, Laidlaw; McAllister (Thomas 56), Dawidiuk (Cole), Doran-Jones (Afoa 46), Savage (Stooke 69), Galarza, Evans (Rowan), Kvesic, Morgan.
Replacements not used: Ludlow, Braley, Thorley
 
Leicester Tigers
Tries: Veainu, Tuilagi 2, Betham, Goneva
Conversions: Williams 2
Penalties: Williams 2
 
Gloucester Rugby
Tries: McColl, Trinder, McAllister
Conversions: Laidlaw 3
Penalties: Laidlaw 3

Referee: JP Doyle
Attendance: 22,223
 

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