Goneva stars as Tigers down Chiefs
Vereniki Goneva produced a man-of-the-match performance to help Leicester Tigers edge past Exeter Chiefs.
Vereniki Goneva proved he is most certainly is a capable replacement for Manu Tuilagi as he produced a man-of-the-match performance to help Leicester Tigers edge past Exeter Chiefs.
The Fijian, who is usually out on the wing but currently is being asked to fill in at centre while Tuilagi is sidelined, scored a first-half try to add to Ben Youngs' earlier effort in an important 21-9 Premiership win at Sandy Park.
Toby Flood kicked 11 points from the kicking tee as he captained the side and despite a much-improved second-half display for the home side, two penalties from the flyhalf always kept the visitors ahead.
The Tigers thought they had made the early breakthrough after just three minutes when Niall Morris latched onto a cute Flood chip but the television match official ruled the fullback had knocked on before grounding the ball.
Flood then had the chance to put his side ahead a few minutes later after Damien Welch was penalised at the line-out but he dragged his kick right of the uprights.
Tom James then upended Blaine Scully to give Leicester an attacking position inside the Exeter 22 and after several phases of play Ben Youngs touched down despite pressure from David Ewers.
Following a driving maul, Tom Youngs passed to his younger brother who had peeled off to the right and touched down in the corner, Flood however was again wayward with the conversion.
Jason Shoemark then conceded another penalty for not rolling away after 15 minutes and this time Flood made no mistake, taking the score onto 8-0.
The Chiefs were under the quash for most of the half but after Julian Salvi was penalised at the breakdown, Gareth Steenson was presented with a chance to get his side's first points of the afternoon.
The flyhalf came into the game boasting a 94 percent success rate from the kicking tee, the highest of anyone in the Premiership, but he couldn't convert the penalty as it sailed wide.
With two minutes remaining in the half Exeter front-rower Hoani Tui won back the ball to put his side on the attack but a poor pass from James Scaysbrook fell loose and there was Goneva who picked the ball up and raced through to score.
Flood was then successful with the relatively simple conversion to take Leicester 15-0 ahead at the break.
It was the Chiefs who added the first points of the second-half - their first of the entire game - as Steenson slotted home a penalty after Dan Cole had been penalised for deliberately slowing the ball down.
And on 50 minutes the flyhalf was successful once again after Salvi was penalised for coming in at the side - taking the score onto 15-6 and passing 500 Premiership points in the process.
Exeter were certainly more competitive in the scrum in the second-half and after Youngs was penalised under pressure, Steenson again made them pay.
The penalty brought the home side to within a converted try of the champions but a strong scrummage from Leicester shortly after saw Flood restore a nine-point lead.
Another Flood penalty in the 73rd minute left Exeter with only hope of securing a losing bonus point but Goneva then almost had his second after a kick and chase at the death, Welshman James chasing back to secure the loose ball.
With the 80 minutes up Exeter had one last scrum just inside their own half with which to build a final attack from, but a knock-on from James ended proceedings as Leicester recorded a hard-fought victory.
Pens: Steenson 3
Tries: B.Youngs, Goneva
Pens: Flood 3
Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Jason Shoemark, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Dave Ewers, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (captain), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Carl Rimmer, 19 Tom Hayes, 20 Ben White, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Matt Jess.
Leicester: 15 Niall Morris, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Toby Flood (captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Ed Slater, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Dan Bowden.
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Ashley Rowden, Roger Baileff
TMO: Geoffrey Warren
Gloucester 22-16 Newcastle Falcons
Freddie Burns' four penalties helped Gloucester come from behind for the second week running to maintain their Premiership top-six ambitions with a narrow victory against Newcastle Falcons.
Having dramatically beaten Northampton Saints last week, tries from Rob Cook and Jonny May as well as four Burns' penalties ensured the Cherry and Whites made it back-to-back wins.
Tom Catterick had earlier scored Newcastle's first try of the season but the Falcons suffered their third defeat in four matches since returning to the Premiership.
Having gone three games without crossing the whitewash, the Falcons took less than a minute to finally end their drought through Catterick's score on the left wing, which Rory Clegg converted.
Captain Will Welch had made the try, breaking the line before feeding Ally Hogg, who in turn offloaded for Catterick to gleefully dive over.
A number of injuries in the opening fifteen minutes meant neither side was able to build any rhythm although the Falcons remained on top with Gloucester struggling in the scrum.
One such scrum resulted in the penalty from which Clegg extended the Falcons lead on 19 minutes but Burns' straight-forward kick got Gloucester on the board two minutes later.
Newcastle's pack remained on top though and a couple of big driving mauls kept them camped deep in Gloucester territory, with Clegg restoring their ten-point lead from the tee.
Burns missed the chance to hit straight back when the Falcons were punished at the breakdown as his kick drifted wide in the high winds.
The Cherry and Whites manufactured more space through James Simpson-Daniel on 32 minutes though, and Rob Cook squeezed over in the corner when the ball was recycled just metres out.
Gloucester remained on top after the break, and great forward play deep in Falcons territory was eventually rewarded when a high tackle allowed Burns to kick a penalty from under the posts on 48 minutes.
And the Cherry and Whites were in front for the first time five minutes later when Noah Cato was drawn out of position, allowing Jonny May the space to dive over from Henry Trinder's pass.
A triple substitution by the Falcons halted the visitors' momentum however, and replacement flyhalf Phil Godman levelled the scores with a straight-forward penalty on 59 minutes when Gloucester were penalised under pressure at the breakdown.
Burns kicked the visitors back in front from the edge of the 22 on 66 minutes however, and he sealed the victory with three minutes remaining by landing a difficult kick from the right touchline.
Newcastle piled the pressure on in the dying minutes with a series of rucks but Gloucester held firm with some desperate defending on their own tryline to secure their second victory of the season.
Pens: Clegg 2, Godman
Tries: Cook, May
Pens: Burns 4
Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Adam Powell, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Tom Catterick, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (captain), 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Dom Barrow, 4 Carlo del Fava, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 2 Matt Thompson, 1 Franck Montanella.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Rob Vickers, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Scott MacLeod, 20 Chris York, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Phil Godman, 23 Alex Crockett.
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 James Simpson-Daniel, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jonny May, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Will James, 4 Tom Savage (captain), 3 Shaun Knight, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Koree Britton, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Rupert Harden, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Mike Tindall, 23 Charlie Sharples.