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Error earns Tigers draw
Leicester 16-16 Newcastle
Guinness Premiership, Welford Road, Friday October 14
An error by the touch judges earned Leicester a 16-16 draw against Newcastle after a fiery clash at Welford Road that featured a string of injuries, two sin-binnings and red cards for Julian White and Andy Perry.
But the most controversial moment of the contest came after 46 minutes when Andy Goode's conversion attempt flew wide of the left-hand upright and the touch judges raised their flags.
The Falcons would have settled for a point after February's 83-10 mauling by the Tigers on the same venue, but are entitled to feel harshly done by.
In a game which had virtually everything - apart from any sustained spell of quality rugby - there was also an injury scare for Jonny Wilkinson, who received lengthy treatment after a marginally late hit from Leicester scrum-half Harry Ellis.
Wilkinson continued for the rest of the match but had to hand the kicking duties over to full-back Matt Burke - who missed with a late long range penalty from in front of the posts that the former England fly-half would surely have slotted.
As early as the fourth minute Wilkinson demonstrated his kicking skills, dropping a goal with the same right foot that won the World Cup after a penalty attempt rebounded off the posts.
Andy Goode replied with two penalties for Leicester, although Wilkinson had levelled the scores at 6-6 before taking a powerful tackle from Ellis as he cleared his lines.
Referee Tony Spreadbury awarded a penalty where the ball went out and Burke put Newcastle ahead.
Wilkinson stayed on, but a groggy Graham Rowntree went off after the veteran prop took a blow to the head from Andy Perry.
On 35 minutes Goode was yellow carded for an elbow to - who else? - Wilkinson and moments later Spreadbury had the same card out for Andy Long for playing the ball on the ground.
Tempers were becoming increasingly frayed and just a minute later Julian White and Perry were sent off following a mass brawl.
With more than 15 minutes of interruptions, Burke mised a penalty attempt from in front on the stroke of half time and the visitors went in 9-6 ahead.
Leicester started the second half fast, forcing Newcastle into 23 tackles in the first five minutes before Ollie Smith went over from close range, only for the video referee to rule he was held up.
A minute later leicester got the try their presure deserved as Dan Hipkiss held off a tackle from Tom May and James Hamilton scooped up the ball and placed it over the try line. There was a strong suspicion of a knock-on, but this time Spreadbury decided against going to the video ref.
Goode aded the extras - or rather he didn't - and following a Goode penalty that did split the uprights, Leicester led 16-9.
Newcastle finally started to show some invention in the backs in the final quarter and Jamie Noone bombed a chance to go over beneath the sticks after Burke's beak.
On 69 minutes a flowing move in the backs ended in Mike McCarthy's cut-out pass for Robbie Morris to side-step inside and score in the corner.
Burke's touchline conversion levelled the scores and both sides had chances to win it late on, Goode screwing a drop-goal attempt wide and Burke hooking a penalty shot from just inside the Leicester half.
A draw was probably a fair result, but when they see the video of Goode's 'conversion', Newcastle are unlikely to agree.
Leicester: (6) 16
Pens: Goode 3
Newcastle: (9) 16
Pens: Wilkinson, Burke
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|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com