Leaders Leicester spoil Dean Richards' Kingston Park farewell
Leaders Leicester clinched their 19th Premiership win of the season with a gritty 27-5 victory over Newcastle at Kingston Park. Tries from Nemani Nadolo and Guy Porter, bolstered by the boot of George Ford, secured the points for the table-topping Tigers, with Freddie Steward scoring late on.
Hooker George McGuigan, who was included in the England squad named last Tuesday, did cross for Falcons but the hosts slipped to a 16th defeat of the season and remain eleventh in the Premiership table. The visitors made a fast start and could have been ahead in the opening minute of the game but were forced into touch.
Leicester grabbed the first try in the 14th minute with Nadolo barging his way over from close range before Ford added the extras. Ford kicked a penalty to take Leicester out to a ten-point lead in the 20th minute after McGuigan had been penalised at the breakdown.
The closest Newcastle came to any points in the opening half-an-hour of the game was when a break from Micky Young was kicked forward and Chris Ashton narrowly beat McGuigan to the loose ball. Tigers thought they had a second try through Ellis Genge but there was no clear grounding, with Falcons down to 14 men after Adam Brocklebank was sin-binned for a crocodile roll on Nic Dolly.
As the game approached half-time, the TMO was called into action again when Falcons were held up over the line – denying them a try – but with the advantage being played, they kicked to the corner. From the penalty, they were held up over the line again, with McGuigan being denied by the TMO.
A bright start to the second half from the Falcons – in Dean Richards’ last home game in charge – saw them almost claim their first points of the game. A break from Young released Josh Basham but in attempting to offload the ball, he knocked it on. The pressure finally told for Newcastle as constant pressure in the Leicester 22 was rewarded with McGuigan burrowing his way over from a couple of metres out. From out on the left touchline, Joel Hodgson was unable to convert.
Tigers came back at Newcastle and despite a spell of dominance close to the Falcons line, they only came away with three points thanks to the boot of Ford, who kicked a penalty after an infringement by the Falcons defence.
Porter added the second try for the Tigers with a lovely step to beat the last defender and go under the posts after they created an overlap from the breakdown, with Ford adding the conversion from in front of the posts. Steward added gloss to the scoreline as he collected a cross-field kick from Ford and touched down in the corner.
Ford was once again on the money as he converted from the right touchline to fire Leicester to another win and cement their status at the top of the table.
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