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Worcester Warriors 18 Leicester Tigers 21

15 Nov 2013
Worcester Warriors 18 Leicester Tigers 21

Leicester Tigers claimed their first victory away from Welford Road since September with a tightly contested 21-18 win over Worcester Warriors in the LV= Cup at Sixways.

But it could have been so different for the struggling home side if they had located their kicking boots, with 13 points going begging from the tee during the course of the evening.

And despite falling 10-0 behind early on Leicester gradually reeled in Worcester, who were unable to capitalise on their good start.

Debutant Andy Symons had an early chance to score his first points for Worcester after signing from the Cardiff Blues last week, but he fell narrowly short with a long range shot at goal inside 90 seconds.

However the former Leicester centre didn’t have to wait long to make his presence felt, Worcester running the ball out of their own 22 and making ground through Max Stelling.

The ball was recycled and Symons crashed over from two metres to make it 5-0, although fly-half Paul Warwick failed with the conversion.

Owen Williams nearly got the Tigers on the scoresheet with a penalty from 40 metres after James Percival was penalised for playing the ball on the deck only to strike the upright.

And Worcester made Williams pay for the miss, the Warriors pouncing on a high up and under and breaking forward through Symons who offloaded to Jake Abbott to dive over the line. Yet Warwick failed to find the posts with the extras meaning the score stayed 10-0 on 18 minutes.

Williams got Leicester underway with his second penalty effort of the evening shortly after, as try-scorer Jake Abbott left the field with a knock to be replaced by Richard de Carpentier.

Awarded a penalty in front of the posts halfway through the first period, Warwick handed over kicking duties to Symonds whose effort spooned up into the air to groans from the Sixways crowd, the fourth unsuccessful Warriors shot at goal.

Despite their problems from the kicking tee Worcester continued to dominate at the breakdown and lineout as Leicester struggled to find any rhythm.

So it came as a surprise when Williams was handed another opportunity to reduce the deficit, slotting a long-range penalty to make it 10-6.

Two minutes before the interval Leicester had their first period of real dominance, Miles Benjamin at the front of the attack, the Tigers’ forwards camping on the Worcester line.

Worcester lost flanker Sam Betty to the sin bin as their defending became more desperate, with Leicester choosing to opt for the scrum instead of a shot at goal. Williams dropped back into the pocket and knocked over a drop goal to send the Tigers in just a point down.

Worcester looked to have made the perfect start to the second period when they put the ball through the hands again and made it all the way to the try line only for play to be pulled back for a forward pass from Warwick.

And Leicester went ahead for the first time in the game when they crossed in the right corner, the Tigers keeping it tight and barging forward before whipping it wide for Michael Noone to touch down. Williams kicked the conversion across the face of the posts but Worcester were now looking at a four point deficit.

Betty returned from the sin bin in time for Warwick to take his third penalty shot at goal but the Australian was wayward again after a poor connection with the ball.

Worcester continued to press, Warwick chasing his own chip only for Scott Hamilton to tidy up at the back. But the penalty had already been awarded and this time the ball soared through the posts to make it a one-point game.

A raft of replacements disrupted the flow of the game but Leicester then put their best passage of play together, Matt Smith narrowly failing to get their second try after putting a foot in touch following a try-saving tackle from James Stephenson.

A missed tackle on Jamie Gibson gave Leicester another great attacking platform but he was pulled down a couple of metres short of the try line as the visitors ramped up the pressure.

With the Tigers’ forwards dominant and the Worcester scrum splintering referee Neil Hennessy blew for a penalty try, Williams making short work of the conversion to extend Leicester’s lead to eight points with 12 minutes remaining.

And with the clock running down Leicester lost Gibson to the sin bin for coming in at the side, Worcester kicking to the corner as they went in search of the two scores needed to win the game.

A lineout went to the front of the line and Christian Scotland-Williamson went over from close range to make it 21-18, replacement Ignacio Mieres taking a quick drop conversion to give Leicester time to restart the game.

But they couldn’t find another score as poor handling let them down, the Tigers holding on for victory.

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