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Match Report: Bristol Rugby 16 Leicester Tigers 21

25 Nov 2016
Match Report: Bristol Rugby 16 Leicester Tigers 21

Ellis Genge’s second-half score edged Leicester Tigers to a nervy 21-16 victory against Bristol Rugby to keep in touch with the Aviva Premiership Rugby top three.

It was a back and forth affair in the first period and Bristol had gone ahead through 20-year-old fly-half Billy Searle before Freddie Burns drew Richard Cockerill’s men level.

But Burns struck next and though Searle was on-song again, Ian Evans was sent to the sin bin and the Leicester No. 10’s fine cross-kick freed up Adam Thompstone to score the game’s first try.

Leicester continued their dominance after the break, Genge powering over from close range for a try against his old club before Rob Hawkins struck back for Bristol Rugby.

Jarvis converted and a second penalty from his boot set up a tense finish, Tigers held out to stay fourth in Aviva Premiership Rugby as Manu Tuilagi made a long-awaited comeback.

It took a stunning Owen Williams cover tackle to stop Rhodri Williams when the Bristol scrum-half broke free early doors.

Bristol poured forward as they sensed blood and though Tigers held firm, they conceded a penalty which Searle duly dispatched to put the hosts ahead.

Prop Gaston Cortes was carrying effectively and the entire Bristol pack looked galvanized by a large, raucous Ashton Gate Crowd.

But Peter Betham showed his cutting edge in hitting a fine hole to carve Bristol open after 15 minutes, Will Evans supporting well and when the hosts conceded a penalty, Burns slotted the penalty to make up for an earlier miss.

It was in-form Burns who took the game’s next points, the fly-half thudding a penalty over from right on the edge of his range after 35 minutes to put Tigers ahead for the first time.

A scintillating Tom Brady break from the kick off took Leicester deep into opposition territory only for a handling error to kill the promising attack with ten minutes in the half.

Centre Will Hurrell was growing into the game by the minute, his power causing serious problems in midfield for Tigers.

And it was from a trademark Hurrell barrelling run that Leicester gifted a penalty for young pivot Searle to bang over and level the scores.

Tigers had spurned numerous chances in the first-half, but Burns and Thompstone combined in a moment of real class for the game’s first try.

Welsh lock Evans had just been sent to the bin and Burns dropped a laser-guided crosskick into the path of Thompstone, the winger showing good footwork to finish – but Burns could not convert.

Tigers started by far the brighter after half time, Tom Youngs breaking from the initial maul to take Leicester deep into Bristol territory before prop Genge muscled over from close range against his former club for a converted try.

Jason Woodward saw yellow for a reckless challenge on the airborne Graham Kitchener and three minutes later Burns kicked a further penalty to extend Leicester’s lead

Bristol got a richly-deserved try when former tiger Hawkins crashed over following a yellow to Lachlan McCaffrey before Jarvis converted and followed it up with a second penalty.