Aviva Premiership: Leicester Tigers recover to see off Gloucester
Last Updated: 29/12/12 8:10pm
Leicester moved up to second in the Aviva Premiership table with a 17-12 victory over Gloucester at a wet and wild Welford Road.
In a real forwards battle played out in atrocious conditions, the Tigers looked in danger of failing to make the most of their dominance in the scrum when they trailed at the break.
The home side's cause wasn't helped by half-back duo Ben Youngs and George Ford both being sin-binned, while Gloucester themselves had prop Shaun Knight and lock Will James yellow-carded.
But in the end a try from centre Anthony Allen proved crucial in the meeting of two teams with serious title aspirations going into 2013.
Quite how Gloucester had been 6-3 ahead at half time was hard to fathom. Having broken the deadlock with an early penalty, Ford - drafted into the team in place of the ill Toby Flood - fluffed his lines with two further attempts.
His misses, after Freddie Burns had levelled the scores, meant the visitors' issues in the scrum went largely unpunished, despite Knight being carded by referee Andrew Smalls for collapsing a set piece in the 24th minute.
Yet, when a man light, and with Mike Tindall pushed into duties as a makeshift flanker with Akapusi Qera making way for a front-rower, they managed a rare attack to win a penalty, giving Burns the chance to boot them in front.
Although Burns failed to locate the posts following Youngs' yellow card in the closing minutes of the first half, he was on target shortly after the break to extend Gloucester's lead to six points, with Ford having swapped places with his team-mate in the bin.
However, the Cherry and Whites immediately shot themselves in the foot from the re-start; trying to play from deep they coughed up possession, allowing Leicester to methodically work their way towards the line. Just as the forwards looked set to score, Youngs' cut-out pass put Allen in at the right corner.
Geordan Murphy couldn't find the target with the conversion but did knock over a penalty, leaving Gloucester - who by now had seen James become the fourth player to be binned - trailing for the first time since the sixth minute.
A pair of penalties from the right foot of Ford, who showed impressive composure for a teenager after his earlier issues off the tee, gave Leicester a cushion and despite some late nerves, they held on to triumph.
Aviva Premiership Round 12
Action from all six of the Aviva Premiership games on the last weekend of the year.
Leicester's director of rugby Richard Cockerill criticised referee Andrew Small after his side beat Gloucester 17-12.
The Sky Sports experts explained the lessons to be learned by Gloucester after defeat at Leicester.