Bristol tamed by Tigers
Leicester moved top of the Guinness Premiership with a hard-fought 23-17 victory over Bristol on Friday night.
Last Updated: 14/03/09 1:52am
Leicester moved to the top of the Guinness Premiership table with a 23-17 comeback victory against Bristol at the Memorial Ground on Friday night.
The struggling hosts produced a spirited display to take a losing bonus point, but it could have been more but for a disappointing second-half after they had led 14-7 at the break.
The Tigers made the first impact on the scoreboard, though, as tighthead prop Dan Cole picked up from a ruck and slipped through a couple of tacklers to score under the posts. Julian Dupuy kicked the conversion and Leicester had an early 7-0 lead.
Bristol provided an immediate response as Luke Arscott made the break before sending fit-again Robert Sidoli through for the line.
The lock was hauled down just short of the line, but managed to return the pass to the full-back to level the match with Ed Barnes' extras.
Alesana Tuilagi then looked set to restore the visitors' lead but for a misplaced pass and the Tigers were then dealt a blow as goal-kicking scrum-half Dupuy was withdrawn with a leg injury.
Bristol capitalised as they worked the ball along the backs to wing David Lemi, who ran in 20 metres down the left unopposed for the hosts' second converted try.
Simple errors and poor discipline crept in to Bristol's play after the interval, though, and fly-half Tom Vesty took advantage to reduce the defict to one point with a pair of penalties after the restart.
Bristol came back as Neil Brew broke through supported by Sidoli, and then Lemi, before Leicester were penalised at the breakdown and Barnes kicked the penalty.
But they could not add to that lead and were ultimately made to pay as Leicester replacement scrum-half Ben Youngs raced away before off-loading to Dan Hipkiss to score under the posts.
Vesty added the simple conversion and a penalty in the final minute to seal the 23-17 victory that takes Leicester to the top following their fourth successive league win.