Scrum-half Julien Dupuy kicked Leicester into the GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP play-off places with seven penalties in a 24-10 win which denied leaders Gloucester a second successive win at Welford Road.
The Frenchman punished Gloucester for an undisciplined display, which included the sin-binning of scrum-half Rory Lawson and lock Alex Brown, with full-back Geordan Murphy putting the seal on victory by slotting a spectacular late drop goal from inside his own half.
Despite dominating for long periods Leicester could not breach a solid Gloucester defence but they did have two tries disallowed. Tom Croft’s was wiped out for a forward pass and Marco Wentzel’s for a foot in touch.
The only try of the match was an interception effort scored by Gloucester’s former England winger Iain Balshaw but the leaders, who struggled in the set pieces, were well beaten.
Leicester had early problems of their own in the scrum which first prevented them from turning a promising attacking opportunity into a try and then allowed Olly Barkley to nudge Gloucester in front with a fifth minute penalty.
Leicester were soon back on level terms when Dupuy slotted his first penalty after Gloucester were penalised in a ruck.
But another scrappy scrum allowed Gloucester to press again with Lawson wriggling free and linking with England Under-20 centre Henry Trinder, who was called up as a late replacement when Anthony Allen failed a fitness test on a back injury.
Leicester managed to repel that attack but a floated pass from fly-half Sam Vesty, making his 100th GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP appearance, was easily picked off by Balshaw whose try was converted by Barkley.
Leicester got over the line themselves after 28 minutes but England flanker Croft’s celebrations were short-lived as referee Wayne Barnes brought play back for a forward pass.
Dupuy started the attack with a quick tapped penalty but the scrum-half opted for three more points to trim the lead when Gloucester were penalised for not rolling away in a ruck.
Dupuy reduced the lead to a point with his third penalty then put them in front for the first time with the final play of the first half after Lawson was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on.
Gloucester began the second half with a similar lack of discipline but Dupuy was unable to punish them as he pushed three long range penalty attempts wide of the target in an eight minute period.
It was only a matter of time before Dupuy found the target again as Gloucester continued to concede penalties at an alarming rate and a straightforward effort after 55 minutes got the scoreboard moving again.
But Leicester still could not break down Gloucester’s defence despite a forward barrage. Props Marcos Ayerza and Martin Castrogiovanni were both held short of the line and winger Alex Tuilagi then knocked on when the ball was moved wide.
Instead Leicester had to rely on Dupuy to move two scores clear with his sixth penalty after Brown was sin-binned for taking out Geordan Murphy off the ball.
Leicester battered away at Gloucester’s defensive wall without success so Murphy banged over his dropped goal from 53 metres and Dupuy found the target again with the final kick of a pulsating match.