Gloucester 26-33 Leicester: Tigers roar again from their play-off prospects with bonus points win led by inspiring skipper Ellis Genge
- Leicester took a 33-26 Premiership win at Gloucester on Friday
- George Ford drove the Tigers’ impressive attack after being dropped by England
- Captain Ellis Genge played impressively enough to earn respect from the Shed
Ellis Genge led Leicester to another thunderous, statement win as they quelled Gloucester’s proud resistance to give early warning that they could be contenders for the Premiership play-off again.
Six days after sending Exeter to Welford Road, the Tigers provided further evidence that – after the rough years – their resurgence is substantial, as they claimed a bonus point win in hostile territory at Kingsholm.
George Ford had a result to enjoy at the end of a rough week when he was left out of the England training squad by Eddie Jones – who was in attendance last night.
Leicester faced a hostile atmosphere as they faced Gloucester in a Premiership away game
Captain Ellis Genge (C) was one of the stars of the show as the visitors came home with the win
The veteran fly-half was far from imperious with the boot, but he orchestrated a Leicester attack that was often electric and gloriously daring. The creativity of the visitors and Gloucester’s fighting spirit lit up a fiery tribal occasion. It was raw and partisan and wonderful.
Genge scored a try, set the tone with a typically frenzied performance, and even earned some grudging applause from the Shed as he left. England prospects Freddie Steward and Jack Van Poortvliet also stood out for the Tigers – again.
Their efforts typified the new mood of optimism and hope within their club and its supporters. It’s been a while since Leicester was a real force, but they’re heading that way again.
However, Steve Borthwick did his best to keep optimism and anticipation in check, with a measured response to the exploits of his players. “We need to be much better against the Saracens next week than tonight,” he said, reflecting several mistakes among all the positive intentions.
However, the victorious head coach paid tribute to the impact of new skipper Genge, adding: “He has been outstanding, first and foremost in the way he has played.
Hero Genge lands but it was Nic Dolly who would score the decisive bonus point try
“He played very well tonight and he played very well last week. The first thing a leader should do is lead by example and he does that.’
The first half was pulsating. Ford’s two early penalties set the wheels in motion, then the visitors jumped for a first try in the 13th minute, with Harry Wells on hand to apply the decisive touch after a series of runs through the 22.
Ford converted and Borthwick’s men led by 13 points in as many minutes, but Gloucester retaliated with a direct attack that ended with ex-Tiger prop Fraser Balmain flying over at close range. Lloyd Evans added the extras.
Undeterred, Leicester continued to display deadly intent. In the 22nd minute they launched a counterattack from their own 22 as Nemani Nadolo, Freddie Steward and Matt Scott smashed down the left wing together and seconds later Dan Cole was held up in in-goal.
But the dam soon burst. Leicester moved the ball to the right from a quick penalty and a pass from Van Poortvliet knocked Genge over the head.
The pendulum swung quickly again. Gloucester drove well from a lineout on the right, Evans looped to receive the ball into space and hurled it at Ruan Ackermann to hit the corner. That made it 12-18 and it stayed that way until halftime.
There was more of the same merry chaos in the second half. Leicester claimed another try when Ben Young’s Harry Potter let go and the wing burst through a gap to the 22, bouncing on Evans and finishing strong. Ford converted.
Game over? Not yet. Gloucester rallied again and closed the gap as Mark Atkinson followed up on his England call-up with a try as he squirmed past Tommy Reffell to go under the posts.
Ford was awarded another penalty, after which Nic Dolly scored the Tigers’ bonus points, but Gloucester refused to surrender.
With nine minutes to go, Jack Clement scored and Ollie Chessum was the scapegoat, forcing the visitors to watch the game with 14 men. They did just that, with a massive rearguard on their line to take the win.