Premiership: Leicester Tigers 35-30 Gloucester

Manu Tuilagi
Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi has now scored three Premiership tries this season
Premiership
Leicester Tigers (13) 35
Tries: Veainu, Tuilagi 2, Betham, Goneva Cons: Williams 2 Pens: Williams 2
Gloucester (27) 30
Tries: McColl, Trinder, McAllister Cons: Laidlaw 3 Pens: Laidlaw 3
Relive Leicester's victory over Gloucester

Leicester Tigers produced a superb second-half comeback to beat Gloucester in an epic encounter and keep their Premiership play-off hopes alive.

Telusa Veainu and England centre Manu Tuilagi both crossed in the opening 11 minutes to give Tigers an early lead.

But tries from Stephen McColl, Henry Trinder and Paddy McAllister left Gloucester 27-13 in front at the break.

Tuilagi added his second soon after half-time before Peter Betham and Niki Goneva completed a dramatic fightback.

The bonus-point victory moves Tigers back to fourth in the table and four points above Northampton, who have a chance to edge ahead of Leicester again on Sunday when they travel to Coventry to face Wasps.

Gloucester, facing the diminishing prospects of a top-six finish and falling short of a European Champions Cup spot, produced an exhilarating brand of attacking rugby in the first half, scoring three tries in nine minutes to stun Richard Cockerill's side.

Leicester, however, responded with a similarly dazzling display of open rugby in the second half, culminating in a fast-flowing and irrepressible move finished by Goneva after the ball had gone through a series of hands, including those of Mathew Tait, Brendon O'Connor, Tom Croft and Greg Bateman.

Tuilagi was among Leicester's chief destroyers, setting the impressive Veainu up for the game's first try before getting on the end of a fine bit of skill from Betham to cross for his first score.

The England centre then displayed trademark power and pace, taking an Owen Williams pass before shrugging off two tackles to spark the second-half revival with his side's third try.

He then played a part in sending Betham over to secure the try-scoring bonus point.

Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill:

"I am delighted with the result, delighted that we got ourselves out of the hole that we put ourselves in.

"But I am really unhappy with that second 20 minutes, which wasn't good enough and not acceptable from us. If you play like that, you get what you get at half-time, which was a 14-point deficit.

"I was pretty unhappy at half-time, if I am honest. We were good enough to win the game, but some of the things we did in that second 20 minutes were not acceptable.

"We had 40 minutes to save our season, because if we had lost today we were done. We knew if we got it right, we are a good enough side to claw it back, so credit to the players for doing that."

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys:

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Humphreys on Leicester v Gloucester

"I am hugely proud of the players, but also hugely disappointed for them.

"We played with some real ambition, scored some great tries and defended well, but ultimately we will look back and three of Leicester's tries came from our set-piece.

"If you want to come to Welford Road and win, that is one of the parts of your game that has got to be rock solid.

"Our performance was a lot better today. We showed real ambition to play. We came to a tough place against a top-four team and produced a performance that the players can be proud of."

Leicester Tigers: Veainu; Thompstone, Betham, Tuilagi, Goneva; Williams, B Youngs; Mulipola, Thacker, Cole, Barrow, Kitchener, Croft, Evans, Slater (capt).

Replacements: Bateman, Ayerza, Balmain, De Chaves, O'Connor, Harrison, Burns, Tait.

Gloucester: Marshall; Cook, Trinder, Atkinson, McColl; Hook, Laidlaw (capt); McAllister, Dawidiuk, Doran-Jones; Savage, Galarza; Evans, Kvesic, Morgan.

Replacements: Cole, Thomas, Afoa, Stooke, Ludlow, Braley, Thorley, Rowan.

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