Leicester Tigers earn derby victory over Wasps

Telusa Veainu of Leicester dives over to score a try

Leicester Tigers maintained their winning start to the Aviva Premiership Rugby season with a 24-16 victory over Wasps at Welford Road.

The Tigers scored the only try of the first half when Vereniki Goneva crossed the line to set up a 13-9 half time lead over the Coventry side. Later Telusa Veainu also crossed for the Tigers.

Wasps went over with two minutes to spare through Lorenzo Cittadini, but it wasn’t enough to secure a bonus point.

Coming in on the back of a six game unbeaten streak in the Premiership, Leicester started this one in perfect style, going over for the only try of the first 40 just six minutes in. Goneva, out on the left hand side, found space for himself and side stepped a couple of challenges as he crossed the line, allowing Owen Williams to kick through the conversion.

With just a few minutes on the board, Tigers had a 7-0 lead. That was cut back almost from the restart, as Jimmy Gopperth made no mistake from his first penalty of the afternoon, though Williams could have restored that seven point gap only to fire a kick wide of the sticks. Not that he let that miss affect him, slotting a straight forward penalty through just a minute after.

In a 35 minute spell dominated by kickers, Williams again sent through a kick after the visitors were penalised for not rolling away as Tigers increased their lead to 10. Elliot Daly reduced that again though with a perfectly struck kick from all of 50 metres.

Gopperth’s second three pointer of the afternoon cut the gap down to just four.

Wasps thought they’d turned the game around when Frank Halai went over in the right hand corner, but TMO interference cut those celebrations short, ruling the try out for crossing over as Leicester edged into half-time in front.

Williams started the scoring for the second half as he maintained a decent sized gap between the sides.

Wasps’ task was made tougher after the yellow card shown to Gopperth, and Tigers made him pay as they went over for a game sealing second. Veainu – on his debut – grabbed it, going over on the right after quick handling saw the Tongan make a big impact off the bench. Williams’ conversion went wide but the lead was up to 12 as Tigers grabbed hold of the game.

The kicker was given yet another chance to increase that lead and did so through another penalty, Leicester holding a 15 point lead with just 10 minutes remaining.

Wasps did have their first try with two minutes of the game remaining, Cittadini going over to reignite hopes of a losing bonus point, with Ruaridh Jackson kicking through to reduce the gap to eight points. But it came too late and Leicester made it three wins from three as Wasps didn’t take any points home.

Final Score Leicester Tigers (13) 24 Wasps (9) 16

Scorers

Leicester Tigers
Tries – Goneva, Veainu
Pen – Williams 4
Con – Williams
Drop –

Wasps
Tries – Cittadini
Pen – Gopperth 2, Daly
Con – Jackson
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee :Tim Wigglesworth (97th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell and Simon Harding.
TMO: Stuart Terheege

Teams

Leicester Tigers

15 Mathew Tait (c) , 14 Adam Thompstone , 13 Peter Betham , 12 Matt Smith , 11 Vereniki Goneva , 10 Owen Williams , 9 Sam Harrison , 1 Fraser Balmain , 2 Tom Youngs , 3 Dan Cole , 4 Mike Williams , 5 Mike Fitzgerald , 6 Tom Croft , 7 Lachlan McCaffrey , 8 Opeti Fonua

Replacements : 16 Greg Bateman , 17 Riccardo Brugnara , 18 Tiziano Pasquali , 19 Dom Barrow , 20 Jordan Crane , 21 Jono Kitto , 22 Seremaia Bai , 23 Telusa Veainu

Wasps

15. Ruaridh Jackson , 14. Christian Wade , 13. Elliot Daly , 12. James Downey , 11. Frank Halai , 10. Jimmy Gopperth , 9. Dan Robson, 8. Nathan Hughes , 7. George Smith , 6. James Haskell © , 5. Kearnan Myall , 4. Joe Launchbury , 3. Jake Cooper-Woolley , 2. Carlo Festuccia , 1. Matt Mullan

Replacements : 16. Ashley Johnson , 17. Tom Bristow , 18. Lorenzo Cittadini , 19. Bradley Davies , 20. Guy Thompson , 21. Joe Simpson , 22. Alex Lozowski , 23. Sailosi Tagicakibau

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