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A George Ford kick proves decisive as Leicester grab win in France

By PA
(Photo by Romain Perrocheau/AFP via Getty Images)

A late George Ford penalty helped Leicester get their Heineken Champions Cup campaign off to a winning start as they beat Bordeaux 16-13 at the Stade Chaban-Delmas. Ford kicked eleven points with Guy Porter scoring their only try as Steve Borthwick’s side maintained their unbeaten start to the season. Jean-Baptiste Dubie touched down for Bordeaux, with Maxime Lucu adding eight points.

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Bordeaux wasted no time in taking the lead, with Lucu knocking over a penalty from 40 metres out after a mere three minutes. After a hectic opening quarter of an hour, Ford levelled the scores for Leicester with a simple penalty after Tommy Reffell had put the visitors on the front foot with a strong carry, forcing the hosts to infringe at the breakdown.

Bordeaux were then temporarily reduced to 14 men, with former Australia international Kaine Douglas sent to the sin bin for a swinging arm to the head of Calum Green.

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Ex-All Blacks prop John Afoa guests on the latest RugbyPass Offload

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Leicester made the most of their numerical advantage as Ford drew in Cameron Woki before offloading to Bryce Hegarty who sliced open the Bordeaux defence. Hegarty charged towards the line before putting Porter over for the try, which the Sale-bound Ford converted.

Leicester’s pack were now in the ascendancy with their scrum and lineout putting Bordeaux under a severe amount of pressure. After laying siege to the Bordeaux try line, Ford opted for a cross-kick, but Hosea Saumaki ended up taking Nans Ducuing out in the air. Referee Andrew Brace was left with no option but to show Saumaki a yellow card.

This proved to be a momentum shift as Bordeaux ended the half with the wind in their sails. First, Italian international Federico Mori raced clear into the Leicester 22 to give the hosts a strong attacking position.

After a period of sustained pressure, Bordeaux centre Moram Falatea-Moefana carried forward before executing a perfect offload to put Dubie over for the try. Lucu added the extras, meaning the scores were level at 10-10 at half-time. Leicester had a try disallowed in the early stages of the second half, with Porter knocking the ball forward before the line, meaning Harry Potter’s grounding was null and void.

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Ford missed a penalty for the Tigers and kicked straight out on the full which handed the momentum back to the hosts, and Lucu edged Bordeaux in front for the first time with a successful penalty. Bordeaux put Leicester under severe pressure but could not take advantage. Leicester forced their way back into the Bordeaux 22 and their scrum earned them a penalty which allowed Ford to level the scores with ten minutes remaining.

With four minutes left on the clock, Ford knocked over a penalty from 45 metres out to put the Tigers back in front. Bordeaux turned down a kickable penalty to level the scores with the last play of the game, but they refused to accept the draw and went for the corner. But after a few powerful carries, they were penalised and Leicester came out on top.

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