Leicester full-back Telusa Veainu was the star of a dour 18-9 Gallagher Premiership victory over midlands rivals Wasps at Welford Road.
With the game in the balance, the Tongan capitalised on poor handling from Wasps to run 90 metres and complete a miserable week for Wasps, during which Dai Young stood down after nine years at the helm as director of rugby.
For much of the match, Wasps looked the more likely winners and led through three penalties from Jimmy Gopperth but a strong second-half performance from the Leicester pack saw them to a deserved triumph.
Greg Bateman scored the Tigers’ other try with Noel Reid kicking a penalty and conversion, while Tom Hardwick added a penalty.
An elusive run and kick ahead from Gopperth gave Wasps an early platform in the opposition 22 and, when the hosts were penalised, the centre knocked over a simple penalty.
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Minutes later, Leicester made two more errors. First Hardwick dropped an up-and-under in his own 22 before Jaco Taute’s deliberate knock-on gave Gopperth an easy opportunity to kick a second penalty.
Wasps continued to have the better of the first quarter and led 6-0 at the end of it as their opponents struggled to make any impact, their cause not being helped by numerous unforced errors.
Tigers lost Sione Kalamafoni to a head-injury assessment with Harry Wells replacing him and, in the number eight’s absence, Hardwick put his side on the scoreboard with a 28th-minute penalty.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 13, 2020
Hardwick was then off target with a 45-metre attempt before Wasps suffered an injury blow when their prop, Simon McIntyre, was helped off.
Leicester had the better of the second quarter but they could not capitalise on a couple of promising positions in the visitors’ 22 and, at the end of a very poor first half, Wasps held a 6-3 lead.
Systematic of the game, Tigers bungled the restart kick to give Wasps a five-metre lineout at which Nizaam Carr was taken out in the air by Tomas Lavanini, who was yellow-carded.
There's a lot of respect out there for the Welshman ????????https://t.co/T9978Te1hc
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 11, 2020
In the second row’s absence, Gopperth and Reid, who had just replaced Hardwick at fly-half, exchanged penalties.
Lavanini returned from the bin as the home pack became increasingly dominant and, in the 55th minute, Tigers took the lead for the first time when Bateman finished off a line-out surge.
Reid converted to give Leicester a 13-9 advantage going into the final quarter but Wasps should have regained the lead.
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The hosts lost a line-out in their own 22 for Thomas Young to burst away, before Michael Le Bourgeois gave Zach Kibirige a chance to race over in the corner.
However the wing lost possession as he dived for the line as he sought to evade a desperate cover tackle from Ben White.
This mistake proved disastrous for Wasps as, soon afterwards, their handling movement broke down and Veainu’s magic made them pay.
– Press Association
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