Tigerish Leicester come from behind to beat Connacht

Jack Carty
(Photo: From Jack Carty Instagram page)
LONDON — Two-time European champions Leicester had to bare their claws as they scrambled from behind to beat Irish province Connacht 29-23 at Welford Road on Sunday in this season’s second round of pool matches. اضافة اعلان

The Tigers trailed 12-17 at half-time and when Connacht fly-half Jack Carty landed his second penalty seven minutes after the break, the English Premiership leaders looked to be in trouble. 

But with Connacht down to 14 after prop Finlay Bealham was sin-binned, Freddie Steward crossed for Leicester in the 56th minute with Bryce Hegarty’s conversion cutting the gap to a single point.

Six minutes later, and still with the man advantage, Hosea Saumaki scored what proved to be the winning try.

The bonus point win means Leicester are third in Pool B — level on nine points with leaders Harlequins and Munster — with Connacht fourth, three points behind. 

However, strict COVID-19 travel restrictions between France and the UK means that 10 sides have not yet played their second game.

“They really challenged us today as they played a smart game in the first half,” said Leicester coach Steve Borthwick.

“At that stage we made too many errors and gave away too many penalties and they capitalized on those.

“What was really pleasing was that our team were able to grab hold of the game and change it in the second half as I thought the players managed the situation really well and the last 30 minutes were pretty good.”

Connacht, who hammered a listless Stade Francais in their opening match, threw everything at Leicester from the start. 

Nick Dolly and Hegarty both touched down in the first half for the Tigers but Connacht responded with tries from John Porch and Carty, who converted both and added a late drop goal to claim a personal tally of 18 points and a full set of scoring methods.

More important, that drop also ensured the Irish side a defensive bonus point. 
“There’s a lot of frustration in the dressing room as we came to win and not just get a bonus point,” said coach Andy Friend.

“It was the biggest stage for some of the lads and there may have been a bit of nerves but we are OK with six points after our opening two games in Europe.”
The two sides are due to meet again in Galway on January 15 in the third round of pool matches. 

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