A young Leicester Tigers side produced an impressive display to beat London Irish 22-15 and pick up their first LV= Cup win of the season at Welford Road.
The Tigers conceded an early try to Anthony Watson but fought back well with a try from Rob Andrew, while George Ford added 17 points with the boot as Leicester overcame the late sending off of prop Boris Stankovich.
Stankovich’s dismissal for a dangerous tackle gave Irish the momentum which saw Tom Homer go over but they couldn’t find another way through and Ford’s late penalty sealed the win for the home side.
Arriving at Welford Road with a strong side the Exiles made the quicker start with an early Ian Humphreys penalty before pouncing on a ball lost in attack by the Tigers to send Watson over.
Andy Forsyth looked to have spotted a gap but knocked on and when the ball was spread wide Topsy Ojo beat Mathew Tait on the inside before feeding Watson to go over.
With an inexperienced side it looked like being a difficult afternoon for the Tigers but they struck back midway through the half when second row Andrew took advantage of a lineout stolen by Ed Slater to crash over.
Ford’s conversion brought his side back to within a point having missed an earlier penalty attempt.
The Tigers’ scrum was hugely impressive with academy graduate Fraser Balmain causing England international Alex Corbisiero all sorts of problems.
Ford added another penalty to put Leicester just in front three minutes later and was again on target with another three points to make it 13-8 to the Tigers at half-time.
It didn’t get any better for Irish five minutes into the second half when Shane Geraghty was sent to the sin bin for an intentional knock on as Tigers threatened to run riot.
Ford slotted the resulting penalty, and added another from just inside the Exiles’ half to extend the lead to 19-8 just before Geraghty’s return.
Irish almost got the reaction they needed after a great break from Darren Allinson but Matt Garvey was brilliantly tackled by Micky Young and Humphreys then missed an eminently kickable penalty as Leicester’s lead stayed at 11.
However with 16 minutes remaining Leicester prop Stankovich was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Allinson, giving Irish an extra man to try to turn things around.
That gave Irish the impetus they needed and after a long period of possession and great work through the phases it was Homer who went over. Humphreys knocked over the difficult conversion to make the score 19-15 with ten minutes remaining.
The momentum appeared to be with the visitors but after Corbisiero was penalised late on Ford slotted another kick to take Leicester back into a seven-point lead which they would not relinquish.