Geoff Parling’s second-half try and the boot of Freddie Burns saw Leicester Tigers leapfrog Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.
A fortnight ago Exeter Chiefs saw off the Tigers in a thrilling LV= Cup semi-final, and the teams met again at Welford Road in the Aviva Premiership with the hosts hoping for a different outcome – having lost just once in front of their home fans this season.
And despite former Tiger Thomas Waldrom and Will Chudley going over for the Chiefs, the home side were celebrating as Burns kicked 20 points and Parling crossed the whitewash.
Exeter had the first chance of the match from a penalty in the fourth minute when Leicester were caught offside with Henry Slade electing to kick from his own half with the wind behind him, however he put the chance wide.
Barely three minutes later, Slade again missed a penalty after Leicester’s Miles Benjamin had failed to move out of the way and the Tigers made them pay with Freddie Burns putting a penalty of their own away to give the Tigers the lead.
With high balls causing havoc in the swirling wind and handling errors from Exeter, Burns then added a second penalty for Leicester on 18 minutes to double the home side’s lead.
Exeter finally got on the board in the 23nd minute with Slade, this time, successful with a kick from his own half.
On the half-hour sustained pressure in the Tigers 22 from Exeter came to nothing as the Chiefs were frustrated.
And in the 36th minute the Tigers regained their six-point lead after Exeter failed to roll away after an excellent break from Benjamin, with Burns making no mistake again from the tee. It came at a price though with Benjamin leaving the field injured, replaced by Vereniki Goneva.
The Tigers almost had the first try of the game on the stroke of half-time after another breakaway but had to make do with a fourth penalty from Burns as Leicester went into the break with a 12-3 lead.
It was the Tigers on the front foot from the start of the second half and with barely a minute gone they were awarded a penalty with Burns, in imperious form with the boot, slotting home his fifth of the match to put Leicester further in front.
Exeter swiftly made the changes with the hope of getting back into the game with Ben Moon, Ben White and Tom James coming on.
And it made the immediate impact as hoped with former Tiger Waldrom scoring the first try of the game after an Exeter drive near the posts with Slade inexplicably missing the conversion, hitting the post when it was easier to score.
It was the Tigers’ turn to force the pressure with Goneva going close in the corner as both teams changed personnel. The pressure told as Leicester’s dominance in the scrum saw Parling go over in the corner with Burns adding the conversion to give the Tigers a 22-8 lead with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Exeter hit straight back with a try of their own as Chudley went under the posts after a breakaway with Slade making no mistake this time to reduce the deficit to seven points with Tigers still leading 22-15.
Burns added a further penalty to increase the lead to ten but missed his first kick of the game with just minutes remaining as he attempted one from his own half.
A late Slade penalty was not enough for Exeter, however, as the Tigers saw out any further trouble to climb above their visitors in the table.
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