Tigers dispatch Maori All Blacks
November 14, 2012
Mathew Tait was starting his first match in 13 months © Getty Images
George Ford booted the Leicester Tigers to a famous 32-24 victory over the Maori All Blacks in front of a packed Welford Road on Tuesday night.
The young fly-half slotted 22 points as the Tigers handed the Maori's their first loss since 2007. But it was the visitors who took the early advantage thanks to a score from Frae Wilson but the Tigers soon struck back through Ford's boot and a try from Niall Morris. The Tigers then stretched their lead through Adam Thompstone's try but Tim Bateman struck back for the away side with a score of his own to make the score 26-17 in favour of the Tigers at the break.
Ford then nudged over an early penalty in the second 40 but Charlie Ngatai's try kept the Maori's hot on the heels of the hosts. Both teams suffered late sin-binnings with Dan Bowden and Jarrod Hoeata seeing yellow and a further penalty from Ford took the score to 32-24. The visitors attempted to rally in the closing stages but the Tigers held on for the win.
Elsewhere on Tuesday evening, the Tigers' Aviva Premiership rivals Gloucester were also facing international opposition. The Cherry and Whites overcame Fiji 31-29 in a pulsating clash at Kingsholm.
But it was Fiji who started the better of the teams with hooker Tuapati Talemaitoga going over for an early score with Jonetani Ralulu nudging over a pair of penalties. Both teams then exchanged tries with Matt Cox scoring for Gloucester while Toulouse flyer Timoci Matanavou crashed over for Fiji leaving the half-time score 18-10 in favour of the visitors.
Fiji then stretched their lead with a score from Watisoni Vatu who took advantage of a superb cross-kick from Ralulu. But the tied then turned in the match with Gloucester taking advantage of Penijamni Makutu's sin-binning to notch a penalty try. Fiji were then reduced to 13-men when Nemani Naqusa was dispatched to the cooler and Gloucester piled in for another penalty try. Fiji nudged over another penalty but Gloucester struck in the closing stages through Koree Britton and with Dan Robson's conversion, it was enough to secure a memorable win.
And the Newcastle Falcons were also in action on Tuesday evening against Tonga at Kingston Park. They overcame the visitors 24-13 with Scott MacLeod, a penalty try and another score from Mark Wilson bringing up their total.
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