Sunday, 8 September 2013

Goneva the Great Roars Tigers to Victory as it all goes Pear shaped for Worcester

2 moments of Fijian brilliance lit up Welford Road as first Josh Matavesi then Vereniki Goneva scored scintillating individual tries.  Worcester’s Matavesi brought the Warriors to within 10 points in the second half after his loop round the back of a ruck was swiftly followed by an outrageous dummy which did for Ed Slater, Anthony Allen and half the crowd.

Not being the quickest player to grace the Welford Road turf he only just made it in the corner following pressure from Niall Morris and Julian Slavi.

But not for the first time Vereniki Goneva cast his spell and the Tigers crowd was enchanted, as was the Warriors defence, he stepped inside one, two, three, back outside round four, five, six before wriggling through seven and eight to claim the bonus point try with only 6 seconds to go.  

Tigers started brightly; Lamb spotted the overlap and Tigers went from their own 22.  The ball was spread from Parling onto Thompstone who raced away into the Worcester half.  Zimbabwean Mike Williams flopped an arm round the side of the ruck and dragged the ball onto his side, the referee spotted it and Lamb made no mistake putting Tigers up 3-0 early.

Tigers extended their lead to 8-0 when Adam Thompstone pounced on Niall Morris’s delicately weighted kick through.  Anthony Allen had run the dummy line to hold the midfield and Goneva had swept round the back, beautifully passing almost 15 meters to find Morris also joining the line.

Lamb and Mieres exchanged penalties to make it 11-3.
With the clock now past 40 Tigers were attacking into the Worcester 22.  Jordan Crane made a powerful burst through the middle of the ruck, twisting to free his hands and make the pop the pass to the onrushing David Mele who scooted in to score on his competitive debut for the club.  Mele scored only twice in his 7 years at Perpginan but along with his pre-season tries against Ulster and Jersey that is already three in his first month at the Tigers!

Lamb’s simple conversion made it 18-3 at half time.
Tigers further stretched their lead when Jordan Crane was on the back of a driving maul.  Young referee Luke Pearce spotted the grounding and thankfully awarded the try without re-course to the TMO, if we had had to go “upstairs” they might have struggled to see the grounding.

Worcester were down to 14 men at this point after Mike Williams’s late charge on Ryan Lamb.  Dean Ryan was not a happy bunny, sarcastically declaring “I'd forgotten you're not allowed to touch a Leicester No10 at Welford Road, I should have mentioned it to everyone before the game.”  How anyone could forget such a basic tenant of the game is beyond me.

Tigers’ lineout then started to malfunction with 2 misses and one scrappy win destroying momentum.  Pearce harshly ruled Parling was blocking on what the lineout nerds describe as a “shift drive”, which was what I thought Americans called manual cars but apparently is when the catcher pass down to another player to set up a maul.  Either way the opportunity was gone and Worcester grasped this chance at the last chance saloon with both hands, drinking deep.

Professional arsehole Chris Jones was introduced to the action at this point and annoyingly managed to slip through the challenge of Logovi’i Mulipola to get the Worcester side back into contention.

Cornish born Fijian Matavesi was next to enter the stage with his outrageous dummy that fooled everyone.

Ryan Lamb had started the game fantastically but as the pressure came on his game fell apart, he seemed to suffer from mental fatigue; getting bored and just hoof it away after a handful of phases.  That is not the way to get the best out of Tigers muti-phase tactics and he was hooked off before it all went pear shaped and Worcester got any closer.

Owen Williams didn’t have long, only 5 minutes, but this briefest morsel of a cameo had the Crumbie stand slathering for much more than an amuse bouche next time.  Williams’s long pass sent Tom Croft galloping down the touchline.  The roar went up as the crowd anticipated another trademark Tom Croft score.  But face stamping scrum half Paul Hodgson showed some shoe in the other sense to get across and make the try saving tackle.

Showing his nous earned from 171 First class games for Leicester, England & the Lions Croft kept his ankles in the air, the ball in play and kept the chance of the bonus point try alive.  Mele spread it to Williams who found Goneva in at inside centre.  Then the Flying Fijian’s magic feet bamboozled the tiring Worcester defence and found the try line to rapturous applause from the Leicester faithful.

After the game there was some concern that Dan Cole might have bitten Ignacio Mieres in the 76th minute.  Replays however showed that the Argentine play maker’s hands in Cole’s mouth and no reaction until the tackle collapsed on the floor.  Now Rugby’s “justice” system can never surprise with its ability to ban players for nothing; but surely we can safely say that the offence of having your mouth fingered whilst tackled is not going to be added to the list that now includes swearing in the vicinity of a touch judge.

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