Premiership: Bristol 16-21 Leicester Tigers
|Bristol (6) 16|
|Tries: Hawkins Cons: Jarvis Pens: Searle 2, Jarvis|
|Leicester (11) 21|
|Tries: Thompstone, Genge Cons: Burns Pens: Burns 3|
Bottom-of-the-table Bristol succumbed to a ninth defeat from nine Premiership games as Leicester Tigers survived a second-half fightback at Ashton Gate.
The visitors edged a relatively even first half and took an 11-6 half-time lead thanks to Adam Thompstone's try.
Ellis Genge crossed to extend Tigers' advantage after the break and Freddie Burns' boot put them 15 points ahead.
But Bristol hit back and Rob Hawkins' score helped them earn a fourth losing bonus point of the season so far.
England centre Manu Tuilagi made his return for Leicester off the bench after two months out with a groin injury and helped his side move within a point of third-placed Wasps.
Tigers' first-half try came when Bristol had 14 men after lock Ian Evans was sin-binned and Thompstone gathered Burns' fine cross-field ball to take advantage.
The hosts also saw Jason Woodward shown a yellow card after the break, before they battled back after Tigers went down to 14 themselves as Lachlan McCaffrey was penalised for a defensive infringement.
Bristol, who released centre Gareth Maule by mutual consent earlier on Friday, sensed they could grab a dramatic victory when Adrian Jarvis kicked them to within five points, but Leicester's defence held firm.
Bristol interim head coach Mark Tainton told BBC Radio Bristol: "I'm very proud of the way the players performed.
"I'm delighted with they way we finished the game, to have the character to go back up the field and win a penalty to get a losing bonus point.
"Obviously it's not the result we wanted, we wanted a win, but we've got to take a point away from this game and be happy."
Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill told BBC Radio Leicester: "It was a physical old game.
"It's a good win, away from home, after a five-day turnaround, with lots of guys missing. Everything was against us.
"Bristol played very well, they were tenacious, strong and worked hard.
"If they play like that, they will turn sides over if they're underestimated."
Bristol: J Williams; Edwards, Woodward, Hurrell, Tovey; Searle, R Williams; Traynor, Jones, Cortes, Evans, Sorenson, Eadie, Robinson, Crane (capt).
Replacements: Hawkins, Bevington, Ford-Robinson, Phillips, Fisher, Cliff, Jarvis, Wallace.
Leicester: Worth; Thompstone, Betham, Williams, Brady; Burns, Harrison; Genge, Youngs (capt), Bateman, Slater, Kitchener, Fitzgerald, Evans, Hamilton.
Replacements: Thacker, Brugnara, Cilliers, Wells, McCaffrey, Kitto, Tuilagi, Roberts.
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