Vainikolo try sinks Tigers
A late try from Lesley Vainikolo proved the difference as Gloucester beat Leicester 19-12 at Kingsholm on Saturday.
Last Updated: 30/10/10 9:46pm
A late try from Lesley Vainikolo proved the difference as Gloucester edged their Aviva Premiership match with Leicester 19-12 at Kingsholm on Saturday.
The big Tongan-born winger came off the bench to settle a match that had hitherto appeared set for stalemate. However, when the Cherry and Whites gained a man advantage in the closing moments, they went for broke and were duly rewarded 90 seconds from time.
Fly halves Billy Twelvetrees and Nicky Robinson kicked all their sides' points prior to Vainikolo's match-winning cameo - the Gloucester number 10 albeit missing three penalty attempts.
Twelvetrees ended the match with a 100 per cent record and put the first points on the board in the fifth minute with a 43-metre effort after Brett Deacon came in at the side.
However, Toby Flood's stand-in also had a couple of clearances charged down in the opening minutes and after the home side opened up play in their favour, they levelled through Robinson after the Tigers were penalised for wheeling the scrum.
Twelvetrees put Leicester back ahead in the 12th minute after Gloucester were adjudged offside. The visitors appeared the more fluent coming forward at that stage and could have scored when Anthony Allen burst through after 15 minutes.
The former Gloucester player was tackled, though, and his former club could well have scored from the turnover - Scott Hamilton just clearing his lines ahead of Charlie Sharples.
Twelvetrees was charged down again mid-way through the first half and with Gloucester winning a penalty from the resulting five-metre scrum for not releasing, Robinson levelled.
But he missed with an effort from just short of half-way after half an hour, with James Simpson -Daniel unable to pounce on a cheeky chip through from Henry Trinder moments later that would surely have led to a try.
That play was on the advantage - but Robinson was unable to find the target again. However, he put Gloucester ahead after 34 minutes.
A ball-juggling passage of play from the home side came three minutes before half time but, with his side bursting through the centre, Andy Hazell couldn't control Luke Narraway's pass.
Leicester ended the half in the ascendant after George Skivington had charged down Robinson but they failed to make it count, with Allen knocking on when touching down appeared the easier option.
Robinson missed another long-range effort three minutes into the second half but doubled Gloucester's lead moments later after the Tigers were adjudged offside.
An incisive Leicester attack followed and although Geordan Murphy was unable to burst through the last line of defence whilst playing the advantage, Twelvetrees kicked the resulting three-pointer.
The Tigers pack then produced a fine scrum to win a penalty but the efforts of George Chuter, Martin Castrogiovanni and company went unrewarded when Thomas Waldrom was himself penalised having decided to go it alone.
Twelvetrees kept up his record in the 64th minute after an offside decision went against Gloucester but with the score tied at 12-12 entering the final 10 minutes, it was the home side who appeared the most likely winners.
The first big push came after Murphy had lost possession but with 13 phases put together and Vainikolo having gone closest, their efforts counted for nothing when Robinson missed a simple penalty chance.
But with Matt Smith sin-binned for not releasing, Gloucester at least had a man advantage. Another surge forward ended with Sharples penalised for not releasing but the right winger then forged the move with Olly Morgan that led to the breakthrough.
Play spread left and with fellow replacement Olivier Azam to the fore, the unstoppable Vainikolo appeared on the overlap with Robinson converting.