Premiership: Gloucester 31-38 Leicester Tigers
|Gloucester (24) 31|
|Tries: Scott 2, Sharples, Purdy Cons: Laidlaw 4 Pen: Laidlaw|
|Leicester (7) 38|
|Tries: Tuilagi, Pietersen, Harrison 2, O'Connor Cons: Burns 3, Harrison 2 Pen: Burns|
Leicester turned around a 24-point deficit to secure a dramatic victory at Gloucester in a thrilling opening game of the new Premiership season.
With the score at 31-31, Sam Harrison bundled over for Tigers in the last minute at Kingsholm to seal the win.
Earlier, debutant Matt Scott crossed twice and tries from Charlie Sharples and Henry Purdy put the hosts 31-7 up.
But JP Pietersen, Harrison and Brendon O'Connor levelled things before Leicester's relentless pressure told.
It was the most sensational of comebacks from a Tigers side who were completely outplayed in the first half, with Scotland international Scott making a big impact.
The former Edinburgh centre got his Gloucester career off to a dream start with the first try of the game before racing through to add his second before the break - while England centre Manu Tuilagi's score was Tigers' only positive of the half.
However, it was another debutant, South Africa wing Pietersen, who started the turnaround for Leicester as he demonstrated all of his international class to finish in the left corner early in the second half.
Despite wave after wave of Tigers' pressure, not helped by Matt Kvesic's yellow card, Gloucester looked like holding on with a seven-point lead and three minutes remaining.
But 2007 World Cup winner Pietersen fed O'Connor, who danced his way through to score the eighth try of the night and a bonus point, before Harrison somehow managed to get the ball down from a driving maul.
Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys:
"I haven't experienced a game where there was such a difference between the first and second-half performances.
"Everything we did well in the first half, we did badly in the second half. We gave away too many penalties, and Leicester took advantage of every opportunity.
"The bottom line is it's not acceptable when you lead 31-7 at home, and then lose the game."
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill:
"We played so poorly in the first 45 minutes, to say the least. We conceded cheap points, we couldn't execute anything. It was pretty average.
"Then, we decided we would hold on to the ball and do what we practised. We have got the capability of scoring tries. When our mentality is right, and we put that into action, we are a team that can compete.
"Credit to the players for getting themselves out of a very big hole they dug for themselves, but that first half wasn't good enough and we need to be a lot better."
Gloucester: Marshall; Sharples, Scott, Twelvetrees, Purdy; Burns, Laidlaw (capt); Thomas, Hibbard, Afoa, Savage, Galarza; Moriarty, Kvesic, Morgan.
Replacements: Dawidiuk, McAllister, Doran-Jones, Latta, Rowan, Heinz, Hook, Evans.
Leicester: Tait; Veainu, Betham, Tuilagi, Pietersen; Burns, Harrison; Ayerza, Tom Youngs (capt), Bateman; Slater, Barrow, Hamilton, O'Connor, McCaffrey.
Replacements: McGuigan, Genge, Cole, Kitchener, Evans, Ben Youngs, Smith, Thompstone.