Tigers torture Gloucester
12 May 2007
Leicester’s Tigers won the English Premiership final in thrashing Gloucester 44-16 and are now only one match away from winning the European treble.
Leicester plays the European Cup final next weekend, but on Saturday it was the Premiership honours they added to their season’s silverware.
Reuters reports it was a record seventh English league title for Leicester and, with the EDF Energy Cup also in the bag, they go into next weekend’s Heineken Cup final against Wasps in buoyant mood.
Leicester, beaten in the last two Premiership finals, outclassed their long-time rivals in every department and scored seven tries, including two by mighty Samoa winger Alesana Tuilagi.
Leicester took control of the match with 10 minutes of all-powerful rugby, inspired by their Pacific Island wingers, to close out the first half.
They led 7-6 after half an hour as Frank Murphy, in for injured scrumhalf Harry Ellis, got the benefit of the video referee for the opening try while Gloucester kept in touch with two penalties.
A powerful return of a poor Lamb kick by Tuilagi earned the second try in the 32nd minute and a charge on the opposite flank by Fijian Seru Rabeni set up an easy penalty for Andy Goode a minute later.
Gloucester, who thumped Saracens 50-9 in last week’s semi-finals, were without captain and lock Marco Bortolami and lost stand-in skipper Peter Buxton to a thumb injury in the early exchanges.
After trailing 22-6 at the break they began the second half brightly and nabbed another penalty but it was a brief respite as Goode cut through two tackles to score in the left corner after 45 minutes.
Seven minutes later Tuilagi left another tackler trailing as he burst through the middle to make it 34-9.
A classic catch and drive from a lineout in the 64th minute ended with flanker Shane Jennings scoring Leicester’s sixth try and Lamb’s score after intercepting a Geordan Murphy pass soon after barely raised a smile on the Gloucester bench.
With the Heineken Cup final beckoning on the same ground in eight days, Leicester felt able to go through their replacements and give a taste of the action to 17-year-old scrumhalf Ben Youngs.
They still had enough energy for a last-minute shove that brought Lewis Moody a try to complete the hammering.
The Heineken Cup final will be the last game in charge for coach Pat Howard, who is returning to Australia. “The players really wanted this, we’ve had a bit of history here in the last couple of years,” Howard said.
“It’s a lovely moment, it’s really nice, but we are focused on another step.”