Despite his side going down 31-22 to table-toppers Exeter Chiefs, the power of Taufua gave the Tigers a much-needed lift as they matched Exeter for 60-minutes before losing control in the final quarter.
The backrower made his impact early, earning a penalty at the breakdown for his side before steamrolling Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg on a bulldozing run down the touchline. Collecting a cross-field kick from George Ford, Taufua deliberately lined up the fullback before flattening him.
As he scored his first try in Tigers’ colours, he roared to the crowd’s delight after slamming the ball down emphatically. Leicester fans were buoyed by the showing of one of their high-profile recruits as the side tries to avoid relegation.
I think I’ve watched that Jordan taufua try about 10 times……unreal strength
— Stuart Middlehurst (@StU010189) December 21, 2019
Great to see @JordanTaufua @ welford road- love the passion and commitment- exciting times ahead
— Matt Hooper (@themajormajor) December 21, 2019
— JIMMY (@jamesbrown912) December 21, 2019
— Clare Cassidy (@misscecass) December 21, 2019
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) December 21, 2019
@JordanTaufua Great start – proud of you – more please!
— Simon (@AncientKeeper) December 21, 2019
What a game he had absolutely brilliant today such a great player . ?????? so lucky to have him with us @JordanTaufua
— Suzanne Jayne (@deacon_suzanne) December 21, 2019
Jordan Taufua and George Ford are having exceptional games for Leicester.
— The Loose Head (@TheLooseH) December 21, 2019
Taufua earned the Tigers’ fans’ vote for player of the match with 50% of the polling.
Following the match head coach Geordan Murphy said that Taufua is ‘going to be massive for us’ for the remainder of the season.
“Jordan came from New Zealand having played a long season already,” he said.
“He had a knock at London Irish so we stood him down for a few weeks. He had a great game today, it was great for him to score the first try. He’s going to be massive for us.”
The Tigers missed out on a much-need losing bonus point that would have given them some reward for the improved showing.
With just one win from their opening six games, Saracens have been able to close the gap on Leicester to 17 competition points after being docked 35 points for salary cap infringements.
At this rate, Saracens will comfortably catch the Tigers well before the end of the season putting the former powerhouse club at risk of Championship relegation. Wasps, also with just one win, will also be in the firing line.
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