Premiership: Tom Hardwick's late penalty helps Leicester beat Gloucester 16-13

Tom Hardwick
Leicester's Tom Hardwick kicks a 79th-minute penalty to seal his side's victory over Gloucester
Gallagher Premiership
Leicester (10) 16
Tries: Reid Cons: Hardwick Pens: Hardwick 3
Gloucester (6) 13
Tries: Simpson Cons: Twelvetrees Pens: Twelvetrees 2

Tom Hardwick kicked a late penalty as Leicester saw off Gloucester to earn a tight first victory of the season.

The Tigers centre struck from the tee in the 79th minute before the hosts defended stoutly for seven minutes of injury time to secure a four-point win.

Leicester scored the only first-half try when stand-off Noel Reid stepped inside Gerbrandt Grobler to cross.

The previously unbeaten Cherry and Whites struck back through Joe Simpson's 48th-minute try.

After Gloucester's Ed Slater was yellow carded inside two minutes for a late tackle on Tigers fly-half Noel Reid, Hardwick kicked the hosts in front.

The Cherry and Whites hit back after six minutes when Nephi Leitigaga was penalised for a high tackle, allowing Billy Twelvetrees to level.

Leicester made their pressure count when Sam Harrison spun the ball to Reid to go over but were pegged back again by the boot of Twelvetrees.

Gloucester then took the lead for the first time eight minutes into the second half from an excellent move, as scrum-half Simpson sprinted in from just outside the 22.

Hardwick's penalty made it 13-13 with 13 minutes remaining before a scrum penalty allowed him to kick the winning points.

Leicester's victory ended a run of five league defeats for the Tigers, who won at home for the first time since March.

Leicester head coach Geordan Murphy told BBC Radio Leicester:

"It was a really tough game in the conditions. We played some good stuff at times and showed tremendous spirit, but there's lots to work on for the rest of the season.

"We won it up front, where we were pretty dominant, but I'm equally pleased we've shown we can dig in when it gets tough, which it did in the last 20 minutes.

"Our performance in that area ultimately got us over the line, especially from a perspective of winning those last couple of penalties, but the mental toughness to stay in the fight was huge.

"In years gone by we'd have capitulated when we'd relinquished a lead, or opportunities, but this group have shown that they're tough."

Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

"We just weren't switched on at all in that first half. We never threw a punch. We weren't there tactically and looked half a step slow and not as energised as we usually are.

"The response was much better in the second half. Credit to the players, they came out after half-time and scored a brilliant try.

"At that moment you're thinking, 'yes, we'll kick on now', but we never did. I've had a few comments post-game about the two penalties against us at the end, but that's part of it.

"These things happen, and we'll get our share over the course of what is a long season. If you look how those penalties came about, that's all down to us."

Leicester Tigers: Veainu; Holmes, Forsyth, Hardwick, Olowofela; Reid, Harrison; Bateman, Youngs (capt), Leatigaga, Wells, Green, Liebenberg, Thompson, Kalamafoni.

Replacements: Polota-Nau, Gigena, Heyes, Lavanini, Boladau, White, Worth, Thompstone.

Gloucester: Marshall, Banahan, Twelvetrees, Atkinson, Thorley, Cipriani, Simpson; Hohneck, Marais, Balmain, Slater (capt), Grobler, Ackermann, Polledri, Morgan.

Replacements: Fourie, Ruskin, Ford-Robinson, Clarke, Ludlow, Braley, Harris, Woodward.

Sin Bin: Ed Slater (2).

Referee: Ian Tempest (RFU).

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