A thoroughly entertaining game at Welford Road saw Leicester Tigers secure a 35-30 bonus-point victory over Gloucester Rugby.
Tigers were 27-13 down at half-time but second-half tries from Manu Tuilagi and Peter Betham saw Leicester launch a remarkable comeback to keep their semi-final hopes alive.
Gloucester took an early lead in the third minute after Owen Williams was pinned at the breakdown and Greig Laidlaw converted the penalty for 3-0.
Tigers scored two tries in four minutes through Telusa Veainu and Tuilagi got the home side into the lead for the first time.
First, Tuilagi dragged in two defenders before feeding outside centre Betham who put full-back Veainu away to score in the corner.
Williams missed the touchline conversion but Tigers stretched their lead in the 12th minute through England international Tuilagi.
A high looping pass from Ben Youngs on the short side was tapped inside by Betham giving Tuilagi an easy finish from short range. That made it 10-3.
The remainder of the first half was all Gloucester as they proceeded to score 24 unanswered points before the half-time whistle.
Another successful Laidlaw penalty narrowed the deficit to 10-6 before fly-half James Hook intercepted a Betham pass to set up Gloucester’s first try of the afternoon.
Hook outran Tuilagi before passing to Steve McColl to touch down for his second try of the season with Laidlaw adding the extras to give Gloucester a 13-10 lead just before the half-hour mark.
Henry Trinder extended the Cherry & Whites’ lead when he stepped inside Williams for his 19th Aviva Premiership Rugby try in his career.
Laidlaw gave the West Country side a ten-point lead before Gloucester’s third try in nine minutes was scored by Paddy McAllister from short range after a series of pick and drives.
Laidlaw again added the extras before a penalty in front of the posts on the 40 minute mark for Williams meant the half-time score was 13-27 to the visitors.
Leicester came out fighting in the second half with a successful Williams penalty before Tuilagi had his second try of the afternoon after 46 minutes to narrow the lead to just seven points.
Tigers continued their comeback with a 55th minute penalty, again slotted over by Williams, to bring the score to 23-27.
Laidlaw maintained his 100 per cent record for the day with his sixth successful kick to restore Gloucester’s ten-point lead with a 65th-minute penalty.
Leicester had a try bonus point in the 67th minute after Dominic Barrow stole a Gloucester defensive lineout which was passed along the line for Betham to cross in the corner.
Goneva had Tigers’ fifth try of the afternoon as Leicester regained the lead with six minutes remaining which was successfully converted by Williams to give the home side a five-point lead.
An attacking lineout gave Gloucester one last chance to try and earn victory but after numerous phases Leicester earned the penalty to secure a vital five points and move back into the top four.
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