Tigers beat Connacht in Champions Cup

Tigers beat Connacht in Champions Cup


Hosea Saumaki scores a try
Hosea Saumaki’s try put Leicester ahead in the 63rd minute
Leicester: (12) 29
Tries: Dolly, Hegarty, Steward, Saumaki; Pen: Hegarty; Cons: Burns, Hegarty 2
Connacht: (17) 23
Tries: Porch, Carty; Pens: Carty 2; Cons: Carty 2; Drop-goal: Carty

Leicester fought off an impressive Connacht to claim their 13th win in a row with victory in the Champions Cup.

The Irish province were 17-12 up at half-time after John Porch and Jack Carty capitalised on loose Tigers play to score.

After a Carty penalty, prop Finlay Bealham was sin-binned and Leicester’s Freddie Steward crossed to cut Connacht’s lead to one.

With the man advantage, Hosea Saumaki scored the winning try for the hosts.

The bonus-point success means Leicester are third in pool B at the halfway point of the group stage – level on nine points with leaders Harlequins and Munster – with Connacht fourth but 10 sides have not yet played their second game because of coronavirus disruption.

With departing England stars George Ford and Ellis Genge out of the Leicester squad, Connacht dominated early and were rewarded with a Carty penalty.

But Leicester’s forwards soon built their own period of pressure and Nic Dolly crashed over to give the hosts the lead before Matt Scott’s break led to a try for Bryce Hegarty.

But the Tigers’ attack stuttered at times and Porch and Carty took advantage of wayward passes before Ben Youngs’ knock-on meant Carty could claim another three points.

Eventually, Leicester brought on scrum reinforcements and Connacht penalties began to stack up, leading to the yellow card for Bealham.

With the numerical advantage, Steward burrowed his way through defenders to reduce the deficit to one point before Saumaki found space to slice his way across the line and enable the Tigers to regain the lead.

Hegarty then scored another penalty for the hosts before a canny Carty landed a drop-goal with the clock in red to ensure Connacht at least came away with a losing bonus point.

Both sides’ next European game is on 15 January, when they face each other in Ireland.

What they said

Leicester’s player of the match Ben Youngs told BT Sport: “The connections weren’t quite working out there. The finishers came on and did a great job and we were able to grind it out, but Connacht made it difficult.”

Connacht head coach Andy Friend told BT Sport: “There’s a frustration that we were up and the yellow card hurt us, but that’s Leicester Tigers. They’ve got a strong scrum. They flexed their muscle there and we paid the penalty.”


Leicester: Hegarty; Steward, Scott, Kelly, Saumaki; Burns, Youngs; Leatigaga, Dolly, Heyes, Wells, Snyman, Martin, Reffell, Wiese.

Replacements: Montoya, Whitcombe, Cole, Green, Chessum, Van Staden, Van Poortvliet, Porter.

Connacht: O’Halloran; Porch, Arnold, Aki, Wootton; Carty, Marmion; Burke, Heffernan, Bealham, Dillane, Murray, Prendergast, Oliver, Butler.

Replacements: Delahunt, Tuimauga, Aungier, Fifita, Papali’i, Blade, Fitzgerald, Kilgallen.

Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)

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