Resilient Tigers win the day
Mon, 31 Dec 2012 12:38
We did really well to keep them out at the end
Man of the match Geoff Parling believes Leicester Tigers' resilience was the difference as they held firm to secure a 17-12 victory over Gloucester at Welford Road.
In the muddy conditions, brought on by the heavy rain, the Tigers dominated large spells of possession but were made to work hard for their victory, which moves them into second place in the Aviva Premiership.
Their pack dominated the scrum from the kick-off, with Gloucester's creaking set-piece giving the Tigers the upper-hand - though the boot of Freddie Burns put the visiting side up 6-3 at half-time.
Anthony Allen's second-half try proved to be decisive, while George Ford shook off a nervy start to dispatch two penalties late on as the Tigers finally got the win their control of possession deserved.
But they had to work hard for it late on, standing firm in the face of heavy goal-line pressure from the Cherry and Whites and England international Parling, rested for Leicester's 31-9 win over London Irish last week, was relieved to have secured the four points.
"We did really well to keep them out at the end and we have to be very proud of that win because we worked hard for it," said Parling.
"Those are the games where the heads can go down a little bit if things aren't going your way but we kept at it and you have to be pleased with that.
"We couldn't quite believe we were behind at half time, especially with that pressure in their end zone that we'd had. It was a tough half because we probably should have come away with a few more points when they had players in the bin.
"But it was a 15-man job and we got there in the end."
To their credit Gloucester stayed in the encounter right until the final seconds - where they were twice thwarted by desperate Tigers defence on the line.
Burns once again highlighted his England pedigree with several tough kicks in the tricky conditions, and it was the youngster's boot which kept them in contention until the end - and secured them a vital losing bonus point.
But in the end it was their struggling set-piece and their high penalty count which cost them, and Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies admits he was surprised to see his forwards struggle in the way they did.
"Our scrum has been a big part of our season so far, so we're disappointed to come second best here," he said.
"The set piece wasn't as good as it should have been, our exiting of the positions wasn't great and they put a lot of pressure on us.
"I thought the conditions probably suited them rather more than us and the way we want to play.
"We're a side in transition and a side with a lot of room for improvement but I think we're already seeing glimpses of how good this team can be.
"To be able to come here and not play particularly well but compete to the end is encouraging."
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