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Aviva Premiership: Leicester Tigers recover to see off Gloucester
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.
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|Saturday 20th December|
|15:15||Northampton vs Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 27th December|
|14:00||Sale vs Leicester|
|Sunday 4th January|
|14:00||Leicester Tigers vs Bath|
|Saturday 10th January|
|15:15||Harlequins vs Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 17th January|
|European Rugby Champions Cup|
|TBC||Leicester vs Scarlets|
|Saturday 24th January|
|TBC||Ulster vs Leicester|
|Saturday 31st January|
|15:00||Leicester vs Northampton|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Cardiff Blues vs Leicester|
|Saturday 14th February|
|15:00||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 21st February|
|15:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|Saturday 28th February|
|15:00||Leicester vs Sale|
|Sunday 8th March|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 13th December|
|European Rugby Champions Cup|
|Toulon 23 - 8 Leicester Tigers|
|Sunday 7th December|
|Leicester Tigers 25 - 21 Toulon|
|Saturday 29th November|
|Leicester Tigers 18 - 16 Wasps|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester Tigers|
|Sunday 16th November|
|Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 Saracens|
|Sunday 9th November|
|Leicester 29 - 13 Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 1st November|
|London Irish 16 - 17 Leicester|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com