Tiger's pride of Lions tame Gloucester
Kingsholm Zurich Premiership Saturday 14 September 2001
Gloucester 18 Leicester 40
THE DOUBTS at the back of the mind, that a half-time Gloucester lead of 15 - 6 might not be enough, were proved correct as the Tigers added 34 points after the interval with just 3 in reply from the home side.Three too many!
Gloucester made a better start than in the previous game and Ludo took full advantage of the wind to slot his penalty kicks with unerring accuracy.
Gloucester increased their lead after the break with a further penalty goal from Ludovic Mercier. They then let Leicester in for the easiest of soft tries from English hopeful Lewis Moody. This turned the game and the visitors never looked back as their Lions took over.
Until then there were few signs of superiority from the Leicester team. However once they got that vital first try it was different matter. Their fans started to be heard and the Tiger’s tails were definitely up.
No. 10 Andy Goode added two long range drop goals and three more Leicester tries ensured they finished up on top.
Leicester were never completely in control of the game until the final stages when they took all their chances. No one should be in any doubt that the Tigers are still very much the side to beat in the Premiership.
In the first half it was a different story as Leicester struggled to find any shape to their game against a blustery wind and committed an unusual string of basic errors.
Perhaps the reliable successful kicking of Ludo gave the home side a false sense of security as they built up their first half lead. At times Leicester looked vulnerable but despite several chances Gloucester were unable to capitalise to take advantage and get that crucial first try. Three potential first half scores were wasted.
Although Daren O’Leary got to within a few feet of the Leicester line Gloucester found scoring a try an elusive task. The chances were created but invariably the ball was dropped, knocked on or lost in contact and the key opportunities missed.
A nine point half time lead was more than the Cherry and Whites expected pre match but it was a deserved lead.
TOO MANY MISTAKES
The boot was certainly on the other foot after the break and it became the turn of Gloucester to make too many mistakes. They began to fumble. The Tigers then began to rumble, took their chances and piled on the points.
A Ludo penalty early in the second half eased Gloucester further into the lead but then it all went horribly wrong.
Terry Fanolua hesitated at the Leicester kick-off. Live-wire flanker Lewis Moody seized the ball to score with hardly a Gloucester hand laid upon him.
The change in the Tigers was clear for all to see as Leicester upped up their game and began to show the self belief and determination which has helped make them European and Premiership champions.
Deano prowled the touchline with his pride of Lions and introduced his star quartet - Martin Johnson, Martin Corry, Neil Back and Austin Healey, to his Tigers. Their influence and impact following on after that first try proved to be decisive.
27 POINTS IN 25 MINUTES
Andy Goode kicked a huge drop goal to make the score 18 16. Moody got a second try when Gloucester passing broke down in their own half. Once in front the Tigers never looked likely to surrender their lead and Goode kicked a second drop goal as the home side cracked.
Substitute winger Steve Booth got a smart solo try as 27 points rattled up in as many minutes!
Star Irish winger Geordan Murphy put the final nail in the Gloucester coffin with a fine bonus point try in injury time.
Last week Leicester scored 34 second half points to beat Wasps - this time Gloucester suffered the same fate.
Leicester have scored 12 tries so far this season - 4 in the second half at Kingsholm. Gloucester have scored just 3 tries from their three games !
If you cannot pass or catch the ball, winning rugby is difficult. Player’s mistakes cost matches.
It isn’t always the referee’s fault !