Premiership: Leicester Tigers 22-10 Newcastle Falcons

Telusa Veainu
Telusa Veainu scored a first-half try to bring Leicester back into contention against Newcastle
Aviva Premiership
Leicester Tigers (10) 22
Tries: Veainu, Betham, Pearce Cons: Burns 2 Pen: Burns
Newcastle Falcons (10) 10
Try: Latu Con: Willis Pen: Willis
Relive Boxing Day's Premiership action

Leicester Tigers recovered from a 10-point deficit at Welford Road to beat Newcastle, who dropped to the bottom of the Premiership table.

The sides were level at 10-10 at half-time after Nili Latu bundled over for Newcastle and Telusa Veainu brought Leicester back on terms.

Peter Betham wriggled through after a missed tackle to give Tigers the lead.

Leicester denied Newcastle a losing bonus point when Laurence Pearce crossed after Betham's fine offload.

Victory lifted Leicester to third before Harlequins' meeting with Gloucester on Sunday, while a dramatic late win for London Irish against Northampton saw Newcastle slip to the bottom.

Dean Richards' side, without a win this season, made the early running and were rewarded through Latu finishing off a five-metre line out from the catch-and-drive and Craig Willis kicking the extras.

Leicester tight-head Fraser Balmain was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle, but Newcastle's own indiscipline saw them reduced to 13 men at one stage in the opening 40 minutes.

Belisario Agulla and Mark Wilson went to the sin bin within the space of a minute for a dangerous tackle and failing to release respectively.

Leicester fly-half Freddie Burns chipped away at the deficit before Veainu ran through in the corner after having an earlier effort disallowed.

Mathew Tait also had a try ruled out against his former club as he failed to ground the ball, but Betham put Tigers ahead for the first time after Newcastle's defence was stretched.

The Australian then turned provider to make victory safe for Richard Cockerill's men when number eight Pearce crossed for Leicester's third try.

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill: "I'll take the four points but we were pretty ordinary, we were inaccurate and created lots of opportunities but Newcastle came and fought hard and made us work very hard for it.

"Newcastle were good and their set-piece was excellent and they worked hard, but if you're inaccurate and you let the official in and you don't control it yourself then you get what you get."

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards: "If we can have a little bit more patience in attack and we didn't have that today... the first 20 minutes we showed that patience and that shape and it caused them problems and as soon as we lost that patience, our game went to pot a little bit and we had to defend long periods.

"When we did get the ball, we tended to lose it within two to three phases.

"I thought our pack was outstanding but again it comes down to that little bit of accuracy but I thought we defended really well.

"We're not even a third of the way through the season yet but as we have in the last few seasons we tend to come out and surprise people towards the end of the season and we'll start to get the wins that we want."

Leicester: Tait; Veainu, Betham, Smith, Goneva; Burns, B. Youngs; Mulipola, H. Thacker, Balmain, Barrow, Slater, Croft, McCaffrey, Pearce.

Replacements: T. Youngs, Aguero, Cole, De Chaves, Fonua, Harrison, Bell, Bai.

Newcastle: Hammersley; A. Tait, Agulla, C. Harris, Watson; Willis, M. Young; Vickers, McGuigan, Welsh, M. Wilson, Robinson, Hogg, Welch, Latu.

Replacements: Lawson, Rogers, Vea, Botha, Clever, Takulua, Catterick, Socino.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

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