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Tigers snatch thrilling last-gasp win

Sun, 15 Dec 2013 16:21
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A last-minute converted try by centre Niki Goneva saw Leicester Tigers escape the Stade Yves-du-Manoir with a pulsating 15-14 win on Sunday.

In Sunday’s other matches, Edinburgh scored a 16-10 away win over Gloucester while Harlequins kept their play-off hopes alive at Twickenham Stoop, Nick Evans starring and guiding the English club to a comfortable 17-3 win over Racing Metro.

We look at all of Sunday's action.

Harlequins 17-3 Racing Metro

Harlequins made it back-to-back victories over Racing Metro to keep their knock-out stage qualification hopes alive - but rain put a damper on their Twickenham Stoop showdown.

Harlequins, who scored four tries in their 32-8 victory over the Paris club at Stade de la Beaujoire in Round Three, had to be content with just a Charlie Walker "special" from the man of the match this time but the win took them to 11 points and four adrift of Pool Four leaders Clermont.

Harlequins can look forward to hosting the group leaders and then travelling to Parc y Scarlets but Racing remain on six points with matches against the Scarlets and Clermont to come in the new year.

No club have ever qualified for the quarterfinals of the European Cup after losing their first two games but Nick Evans did enough before failing to go the distance to ensure Harlequins can still harbour faint hopes of making the last eight.

Racing's Ireland star Jonny Sexton was off target with a second minute penalty goal opportunity created by his own towering up-and-under while opposing flyhalf Evans, who contributed 17 points in the Round Three contest, was quickly at it again with two early penalties.

Racing also suffered with a yellow card for Davit Khinchagishvili for punching opposite number Joe Marler and the early need for British and Irish Lions and Wales flank Dan Lydiate to have 10 minutes receiving treatment before returning to the fray.

They were let off when Evans failed with a third penalty chance but, despite the rain, the All Black ace was back on song with his third success as referee Alain Rolland repeatedly penalised Racing. That success took Evans to 50 tournament points this campaign.

And it was not just about the boot with Evans. He almost wriggled through for a try and was really buzzing. With 22 minutes gone he had made five carries and gained 35 metres on the four occasions that he crossed the gainline.

But it was far from a one-man show with back row Luke Wallace also highly influential and Quins collectively dominating virtually every area and aspect of play to keep Racing firmly on the back foot.

And the try that had been threatening came for Quins just before the break from Walker. Racing had been better than last week but they were let down by some debatable tackling as Walker jinked twice and turned on the gas to race in for his second try in a week.

Harlequins were 14 points clear at half-time and the dream of becoming the first club to qualify for the last eight after losing their first two games is very much alive.

Evans, who had taken a heavy knock midway through the first half, made way for Ben Botica at the break, Botica picking up where Evans had left off with a 51st minute penalty to take Harlequins 17 points clear.

Discipline was a huge problem for Racing, who after 50 minutes had conceded nine penalties to two, while the scrum was also a problem and it took them 59 minutes to open their account with a Sexton penalty goal.

The scorers:

For Harlequins:
Try:
Walker
ns: Evans 3, Botica

For Racing Metro:
Pen:
Sexton

Yellow card: Davit Khinchagishvili (Racing Metro, 14).

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Luke Wallace, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Sinckler, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Nick Kennedy, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ollie Lindsay-Hague.

Racing Metro: 15 Juan Martín Hernández, 14 Adrien Planté, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Virimi Vakatawa; 10 Jonny Sexton, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Camille Gerondeau, 7 Antoine Battut (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Karim Ghezal, 4 Fabrice Metz, 3 Soane Tonga'uiha, 2 Virgile Lacombe, 1 Davit Khinchagishvili.
Replacements: 16 Jeremie Maurouard, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Luc Ducalcon, 19 Juandre Kruger, 20 Bernard Le Roux, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Jonathan Wisniewski 23 Benjamin Fall.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallacher (Ireland), Gary Conway (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Gloucester 10-16 Edinburgh

Edinburgh did Pro12 colleagues Munster a huge favour as they reversed their home defeat to Gloucester to leave the Irishmen sitting pretty five points clear at the top of Pool Six.

Alan Solomons freshened up his side from the 12-23 defeat at Murrayfield a week earlier and his new-look team surprised the home side with the tenacity of their defence, control at the breakdown and patience with ball in hand.

By the end, they were good value for what was only their fourth win in 16 European Cup games on English soil. The victory also ended a run of five successive defeats in Europe for the Scottish capital club.

A tight first half saw Edinburgh twice take the lead through the boot of fullback Jack Cuthbert. He kicked two opening penalties to open up a six-point lead before Gloucester finally got on the scoreboard after 35 minutes.

Edinburgh conceded a penalty near half-way and Freddie Burns hammered the ball down into their 22. The line-out was secured and the driving maul went like a runaway express train to the line, where French referee Romain Poite ordered a penalty try for collapsing.

Burns added the conversion to make it 7-6, but on the stroke of half-time, Cuthbert stroked home a third penalty to edge Edinburgh's noses back in front.

Burns regained the lead with a penalty five minutes into the second half, but the decisive score came eight minutes later.

Edinburgh worked the ball through the phases and deep into the home 22 before launching New Zealand centre Ben Atiga at the line for a match-winning try.

Cuthbert added the conversion to take his match tally to 11 points and the remained of the game was about containing Gloucester.

On a greasy surface, and with some superb defence, the Scottish side were able to do that with something to spare.

They lost former Cheetahs prop WP Nel to the sin bin for a scrum offence, but still held their line firm, and then had the luxury of playing against 14 men themselves for the final eight minutes when England No.8 Ben Morgan also saw yellow.

Edinburgh move into third place in the pool on eight points, while Gloucester's only consolation was a losing bonus point. They now have to prepare to face the pool leaders Munster at Kingsholm in the new year for a must-win game.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:
Try:
Penalty try
Con: Burns
Pen: Burns

For Edinburgh:
Try:
Atiga
Con: Cuthbert
Pen: Cuthbert 3

Yellow cards: WP Nel (Edinburgh, 60), Ben Morgan (Gloucester, 71).

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Martyn Thomas, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jonny May, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 James Hudson, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Shaun Knight, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Tom Hicks, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Mike Tindall, 23 Charlie Sharples.

Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Douglas Fife, 13 Joaquin Dominguez, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Grayson Hart, 8 Cornell Du Preez, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Tomas Leonardi, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford (captain), 1 Wicus Blaauw.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Ross Rennie, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Sean Kennedy, 23 Lee Jones.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Cyril Lafon (France), Stephane Boyer (France)
TMO: Jean-Pierre Pellaprat (France)

Montpellier 14-15 Leicester Tigers

Leicester Tigers closed the gap on Pool Five leaders Ulster with a late win in Montpellier.

A converted try from centre Niki Goneva 45 seconds from the end snatched the victory against a determined French side.

Two tries in 10 minutes from flyhalf Enzo Selponi and wing Lucas Dupont looked to have secured Montpellier the win after Tom Youngs had crossed for the visitors but Goneva broke French hearts with his late try.

Montpellier had made 14 changes from the side who went down 32-41 at Welford Road but they started very brightly. Both sides struggled to go through the phases in the opening 20 minutes and it wasn't until Tigers wing Miles Benjamin was shown a yellow card for a block on scrumhalf Benoit Paillaugue that the game opened up.

But twice Montpellier got within five metres of the Tigers’ line and wasted the opportunity. Leicester survived the 10 minutes when they were down to 14 men without conceding any points.

The best chance of the half was a penalty to Montpellier on the stroke of half-time but Paillaugue pushed his kick wide to send the game into the break at 0-0.

Tigers thought they had eventually broken the deadlock on 47 minutes when Benjamin went over in the corner after an initial break by Ben Youngs by the TMO spotted a foot in touch.

The opening try finally came on 50 minutes when Tom Waldron made a superb break and found Goneva on his shoulder, he fed Ben Youngs who made a short pass for his brother Tom to crash over. Flood missed the conversion as he continued to struggle with what looked like a hamstring problem.

Montpellier wasted no time in hitting straight back when two minutes later No.8 Alex Tulou picked up from the back of the scrum and set Paillaugue free and he found Selponi to race over. Paillaugue added the conversion to nudge the home side back in front by two points.

Buoyed by their first try the French side added a second on 62 minutes when Mamuka Gorgodze broke through the middle of a ruck and found Dupont in support to cross close to the posts and Paillaugue once again added the conversion.

Replacement flyhalf Ryan Lamb kicked a long penalty to keep Leicester in touch before Goneva crossed in the 79thminute and Lamb added the extras for the win.

The scorers:

For Montpellier:
Tries:
Selponi, Dupont
Cons: Paillaugue, Escande

For Leicester Tigers:
Tries:
T Youngs, Goneva
Con: Lamb
Pen: Lamb

Yellow card: Miles Benjamin (Leicester Tigers, 21).

Montpellier: 15 Pierre Berard, 14 Lucas Dupont, 13 Anthony Tuitavake, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Yohann Artru, 10 Enzo Selponi, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Alex Tulou, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze (captain), 6 Alexandre Bias, 5 Thibaut Privat, 4 Robins Tchale Watchou, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Mickael Ivaldi, 1 Yvan Watremez.
Replacements: 16 Thomas Bianchin, 17 Na'ama Leleimalefaga, 18 Paea Fa'anunu, 19 Johnnie Beattie, 20 Mickael Demarco, 21 Eric Escande, 22 Thomas Combezou, 23 Anthony Floch.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Toby Flood (captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 David Mele, 22 Matt Smith, 23 Ryan Lamb.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)

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