LEICESTER’S VICTORY at Kingsholm makes it their seventh in a row over Gloucester in a fixture named the Slater Cup, to honour of the former Gloucester and Tigers player Ed Slater, who was forced to retire last year after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
In typical fashion it was Handre Pollard who put Tigers ahead with a close range penalty before Gloucester fly-half George Barton, who could only slot two of his five first-half attempts, put the home side in front.
The final 10 minutes of the opening half would have no doubt pleased Tigers head coach Dan McKellar as Pollard restored the lead with two penalties closely followed by a converted Ollie Hassell-Collins try to establish an eight-point cushion going into the interval.
The arrears would soon be reduced from eight to one after the break as ex-Tigers hooker George McGuigan went over following a rolling maul.
Not to be outdone by his opposite number, Julian Montoya touched down for Leicester to allow Pollard to add the buffer, the try coming as both teams had a player in the bin with Barton and Ollie Chessum each ordered to serve 10 minutes off the pitch.
Hassell-Collins’ second try of the match, and fifth of the season, came minutes after Gloucester back row Jack Clement was shown a yellow card for the third game running before front row replacement Jamal Ford-Robinson registered a five-point score of his own despite the visitors carrying a man advantage.
Tigers went into today’s visit to Kingsholm as the only Premiership team not to claim a try bonus point this season, something Tongan international Solomone Kata ensured would not continue with a score in the final play of the game.
The commanding victory sees Leicester jump two places from ninth in the table.
IN A first half-half littered with handling errors from both teams, it was Springbok Handre Pollard’s right boot that would provide a platform for Tigers to edge out visitors Northampton.
Double World Cup winner Pollard put Tigers ahead after three minutes, following an off-side infringement incurred from George Furbank’s knock on.
An excellent kick to touch from just inside his own 10-metre line shortly after allowed Tigers’ foward pack to drive over from five metres out, however, Charlie’s Clare’s try was disallowed by TMO Hamish Smales for what appeared to be a harsh call against Leicester for obstruction.
Fin Smith – an England fly-half in waiting – levelled proceedings midway through the first-half with a shot at goal from a couple of metres inside the Leicester half.
Pollard restored Tigers’ three-point lead with a penalty as the rain began to sweep across the Mattioli Woods Welford Road pitch, and then extended the advantage to six with another shot at goal in line with the posts from halfway to send the home side into the interval ahead at 9-3.
Leicester’s attacking onslaught from the resumption would see them eventually come away with a try after a number of attacking phases set up replacement loosehead prop Francois van Wyk go over with Saints picking up two yellow cards either side of the score with Sam Matavesi and Ethan Waller punished for multiple penalties.
Northampton’s 13 men hit back immediately as fullback Furbank joined the attacking line and forced his way over for their first try of the game.
Tigers survived a scare a couple of minutes later as Northampton’s outside centre Tommy Freeman dived over the line before referee Karl Dickson spotted the faintest of knock ons from Henry Pollock to bring the game back for a Leicester scrum five metres out.
Captain Hanro Liebengerg would ensure Tigers claimed a second win this season, and their first at home this Premiership campaign, denying Saints any chance of a losing bonus point with a try seven minutes from time following a quick tap penalty.
It was a score that meant Matavesi’s try for the visitor’s with the clock in the red would serve as nothing more than a consolation.
The result sees Leicester climb to eighth in the table, one place above next week’s opponent Gloucester at Kingsholm.
Leicester’s miserable run to the start of the Premiership season has continued with a narrow four-point defeat at home to league leaders Harlequins despite a starting team bolstered with returning World Cup stars.
In a captivating nip and tuck match in which neither side could establish dominance, seven tries were scored in front of a 20,000-strong Mattioli Woods Welford Road crowd.
The defeat leaves Tigers sitting in an unenviable ninth in the Gallagher Premiership, just one place above the foot of the table.
Tigers’ defence was tested from the off as Harlequins went through the attacking phases early on following a lineout thrown over the top of the forwards and into the rapidly advancing Jack van Poortvliet, forcing Tigers to be penned back in their own 22.
‘Quins retained possession well and recycled the ball quickly before finding Tyrone Green on the right wing, who while avoiding being forced in to touch, offloaded the ball superbly infield behind his back to keep the attack alive.
It was a stage of play that would ultimately see Tigers fall behind as Harlequins’ captain Alex Dombrandt powered his way over the tryline for the opening score inside three minutes, however fly-half Marcus Smith, often deployed in an unfamiliar position of full-back by former Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick at the World Cup in France, could only find the outside of the post with his conversion attempt.
South African World Cup winner Handre Pollard would reduce the deficit and put Leicester on the scoreboard with a simple penalty goal just minutes later.
Italian-capped flanker Dino Lamb, man of the match today, would help himself to a couple of tries for Harlequins.
The first to extend the visitor’s first-half lead at the quarter of an hour mark before Hanro Liebenberg led from the front as the Tigers captain showed an excellent pair of hands to open the home side’s try scoring account in the corner of the in goal area.
England star Freddie Steward scored the first of his double just after half an hour of play, leisurely falling over the tryline with ball in hand completely unopposed after an attacking scrum in front of the posts saw the ball worked out to his wing.
Tyrone Green would deny Tigers a half-time lead however as the winger impressively collected a pass on Tigers’ 22-metre line and diving into the corner, evading a last ditch tackle in the process.
Steward doubled his tally for the afternoon just six minutes after the interval to re-establish Tigers’ lead before Pollard converted brilliantly from the touchline right through the middle of the posts.
Scrum-half Will Porter would also find himself among the away team’s tryscorers after picking the ball from the base of a ruck and throwing a dummy pass to create enough space for himself to pounce through Tigers’ defensive line.
Tigers again reclaimed the lead as Pollard slotted a penalty straight in front of the sticks from just outside the Harlequins 22-metre line.
It was a crucial score that put Leicester ahead by a single point, something the South African is accustomed to as the Springboks won all of their knockout stage matches including the final by the same margin at the World Cup, with less than 15 minutes to play.
However, it would be Warwickshire-born Lamb that would slaughter Tigers’ hopes this afternoon.
With just 10 minutes left to play, the five-cap Italian international produced the game-winning try to ensure Harlequins return to London taking a bonus point victory with them.
LEICESTER CITY have been relegated from English football’s top flight despite a 2-1 victory over West Ham United on the final day.
The Foxes knew only a win would give them any chance of survival, but with fellow strugglers Everton beating Bournemouth 1-0, the club’s fate was out of their hands.
Dean Smith, who suffered relegation with Norwich City last season, was announced as Leicester manager last month, and was tasked with maintaining the Foxes’ Premier League status with eight games remaining after the club parted ways with Brendan Rodgers.
Everton’s victory means that Leicester have been demoted along with Southampton and Leeds United and brought an end to their nine-year stay in the Premier League, which saw them defy odds of 5,000-1 in 2016 to be crowned champions under Claudio Ranieri.
In that time the club also enjoyed a run in Europe’s elite club competition the Champions League the following year, losing to Atletico Madrid in the quarter-final stage, before lifting the FA Cup at their fifth attempt in 2021 thanks to a long-range strike from Belgian Youri Tielemans, whose contract expires in June.
Leicester could also be set to lose attackers Harvey Barnes, who opened the scoring today, and James Maddison over the summer with a number of Premier League sides said to be interested in signing the England-capped duo.
The Foxes will renew their M69 Derby against Coventry City in the Championship next season, after the Sky Blues fell to a shoot-out play-off final defeat against Luton Town yesterday.
Leicester City have last night confirmed the appointment of Dean Smith as the new first team manager until the end of the season.
The 52-year-old Smith now has eight matches to save Leicester’s top flight status with the club sitting in the relegation zone, two points off safety and behind East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest in the Premier League table.
Former England captain John Terry, who worked under Smith at Aston Villa, will be a part of the coaching staff, while Craig Shakespeare will make his return to the King Power.
Smith said: “I’m really happy to have the opportunity to lead the team during these final weeks of the season.
“The challenge in front of us is clear, but it’s one myself and my coaching team have experienced before and, with the quality in this squad and the number of games remaining, it’s very much achievable.”
The former Aston Villa and Norwich City boss will take training today as the Foxes prepare for Saturday’s visit to Manchester City.
“Our first job is to rebuild confidence and instil belief in the team and I’m looking forward to getting to work with the players this week.
“Saturday will be a big test, but it’s the kind of occasion that reminds us all what it means to be a Premier League club, competing on the biggest stages against the best players in the world.
“I know we’ll be well supported by our travelling fans. We have to connect with that and give them a performance they can be proud of. We go there positive, looking for points”, Smith added.
The appointment comes eight days after the sacking of Brendan Rodgers, who guided the club to two consecutive fifth place finishes and an FA Cup during his four-year tenure.
Former Leicester Tigers coach Steve Borthwick has this afternoon announced his 23-man England squad for the eagerly anticipated Calcutta Cup clash at home to Scotland on Saturday.
Unsurprisingly, the Tigers connection will be strong at Twickenham as the newly appointed England head coach has selected six Leicester players in the match day squad for his first game in charge.
Backs Freddie Steward and Jack van Poortvliet start for the Roses alongside second row Ollie Chessum, while vastly experienced prop Dan Cole, just five short of a century of international caps, and Ben Youngs, England’s all-time appearance maker, will form part of the replacements with winger Anthony Watson.
Former Tigers players Ellis Genge, captain during his time at Welford Road, has also been given a starting place at loosehead prop, while centre, Manu Tuilagi, has been left out altogether.
Borthwick and his men will be hoping to kickstart their Six Nations campaign with a win at the weekend, following a dismal display last year which saw England pick up just two victories in the tournament.
A factor which no doubt contributed to the decision to relieve former coach Eddie Jones of his duty less than 12 months before the start of the Rugby World Cup.
England match day squad in full:
15 Freddie Steward 14 Max Malins 13 Joe Marchant 12 Owen Farrell 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins 10 Marcus Smith 9 Jack van Poortvliet
1 Ellis Genge 2 Jamie George 3 Kyle Sinckler 4 Maro Itoje 5 Ollie Chessum 6 Lewis Ludlam 7 Ben Curry 8 Alex Dombrandt
16 Jack Walker 17 Mako Vunipola 18 Dan Cole 19 Nick Isiekwe 20 Ben Earl 21 Ben Youngs 22 Ollie Lawrence 23 Anthony Watson
Warwickshire-born cueist Chris Wakelin last night won his maiden ranking event title, overcoming Belgium’s Julien Leclercq 119-0 at Morningside Arena, Leicester.
The 30-year-old potter will receive a winner’s prize of £50,000, in addition to his £5,000 tournament high break bonus, which was made in the final.
Matches in the Shoot Out are played under a variation of standard rules with games played over a single frame lasting a maximum of ten minutes with a shot clock in operation.
Wakelin’s superb form entering the competition saw him qualify for the German Masters and Welsh Open, and now extends his winning run to 10 matches following seven victories in the Shoot Out.
It is a result even more remarkable given he had only made it past the second round of the tournament once in seven previous entries.
The triumph sees Wakelin rise to a career-high 33 in the world rankings, from 47, and puts him in contention to qualify for next month’s Players Championship.
Wakelin has also raised money for Coventry-based baby hospice Zoe’s Place and is a familiar face in Nuneaton’s snooker scene having practiced at Atack Snooker Club for a number of years alongside Leicester’s four-time World Championship winner Mark Selby.
Nottingham Forest were worthy winners in the East Midlands clash, securing all three points and their first back-to-back wins since their promotion triumph.
Pressure, which was already mounting on Brendan Rodgers, will only increase as Leicester suffer their fourth consecutive Premier League defeat.
Brennan Johnson scored his third and fourth league goals of the season to ensure Leicester City would leave the City Ground empty-handed.
Harvey Barnes should have put Leicester ahead on a couple of occasions, but two poor efforts from close range were passed up by the winger.
Barnes shot wide from eight yards following a superb cross from Marc Albrighton to find the one-cap England international unmarked before placing the ball agonisingly wide after being played in on goal by Youri Tielemans’ pass.
It was 21-year-old Johnson that would put Forest in front however, as he peeled off the Leicester backline at pace to meet Morgan Gibbs-White’s through ball and rounding a committed Danny Ward to roll the ball calmy into an unguarded net.
The Assistant referee had his flag up for offside to pause the celebrations of the home crowd before VAR officials intervened to confirm the striker had timed his run superbly, with Wout Faes playing the Welshman onside.
Energetic and lively Gibbs-White, who put in a man of the match performance, was again the provider as Johnson doubled his and Forest’s tally five minutes from time.
The former Wolverhampton Wanderers man picked the ball up in his own half, using his strength to hold off Wilfred Ndidi, and turn well to drive at Leicester’s defensive line, picking out Johnson with a brilliant pass using the outside of his right foot, with the Welsh international able to find the far corner with power.
It is a result which sees Forest climb to 13th in the Premier League table, while Leicester drop to 15th, just two points clear of the relegation zone.
Full time at the City Ground: Nottingham Forest 2-0 Leicester City.
The Foxes will host Brighton and Hove Albion, who ran out 3-0 winners over Liverpool this afternoon, in their next outing on Saturday.
It was a night to forget for the Foxes after a lacklustre display away at Newcastle ended in defeat.
The signs were ominous from the outset for Leicester who should have found themselves behind in the opening minute.
After surrendering possession of the ball too easily, Miguel Almiron was able to drive at the Leicester backline before finding Joe Willock whose pass across the face of the goal was drilled into the ground and over the crossbar by Sean Longstaff, who knew he had spurned a glorious opportunity.
Moments later and Newcastle created another opportunity but Bruno Guimares’ powerful first-time shot from 25 yards sailed harmlessly wide.
Almiron was again causing issues for Leicester’s defence as the Paraguayan international, who has been in superb form of late, pranced past Wout Faes, perhaps still reeling from his double own-goal blunder against Liverpool, too easily and was able to find Callum Wilson with a cutback but the England striker’s shot was deflected wide from 12 yards.
These two sides last met on Boxing Day when high-flying Newcastle ran out 3-0 winners over the struggling Foxes at the King Power Stadium.
Brendan Rodgers’ side were two goals down inside seven minutes in the festive fixture and should have found themselves trailing again this evening as Newcastle looked lively in the opening 15 minutes, bar their inability to convert their early flurry of chances.
Bruno Guimares’ should have put Newcastle ahead, but the Brazilian opted for power once more from close range, drilling his shot just wide of the left-hand post, with Danny Ward rooted to the spot.
Longstaff had another clear-cut chance as the midfielder brought the ball down inside the Leicester box before shifting the ball out of his feet and striking a powerful shot centrally, which was turned around the post by a strong right hand from the Wales international.
It is understandable, given the number of chances passed up by the Magpies, why they have failed to progress past the quarter-final stages of the League Cup on seven previous occasions at this stage of the competition. Their only League Cup quarter-final win in nine matches dating back to December 1975 (1-0 versus Notts County).
The half-hour mark saw a rare venture forward into the Newcastle half for the Foxes as Timothy Castagne released the pacy Zambian Patson Daka, who bizarrely chose to square the ball across goal in the direction of Harvey Barnes rather than shoot from 12 yards, allowing Newcastle skipper Kieran Tripper the cut the ball out and relieve the infrequent spell of pressure.
Leicester improved as the half progressed, but it was Newcastle who came closest to going into the half-time interval ahead. Almiron’s curling effort was held by Ward before Bruno Guimares’ fourth attempt of the half a minute later was a controlled effort, but the Welsh shot stopper was again equal to it and palmed the shot around the post.
The second half began in similar fashion to the first as Leicester found themselves on the back foot within seconds of the restart.
Joelinton picked the ball up in acres of space from the left wing and cut inside firing a driven shot toward the Leicester goal, the retreating Marc Albrighton managed to stick out the toe-end of his boot and divert the course of the ball onto the post and behind for a corner, much to the relief of the travelling supporters.
Dan Burn saw his free header drift over the crossbar before Longstaff registered a shot on target with a firm shot from the edge of the box which called Ward into action again as the Welshman parried the ball away from goal.
It looked as though it was going to be one of those frustrating nights for the Magpies before Newcastle-supporting, former season ticket holder Burn was composed from close range to finally put Newcastle deservedly in front.
The left-back drove into the box from a wide position with two deft touches on his left side, showing strength to hold off Castagne, he shifted the ball on to his right foot and guided in the ball into the far corner, through the legs of Daniel Amartey and past an outstretched Ward, who was left with no chance of saving a shot hit with such control, opening his club account in the process.
Joelinton then added to Leicester’s misery as the Brazilian showed great composure to double Newcastle’s lead.
Miguel Almiron picking the ball up and threading a perfectly weighted pass through the heart of the Leicester defence, providing Joelinton the luxury of placing his left-footed first-time shot into the far corner, just as Burn had done 12 minutes earlier.
The introduction of Jamie Vardy should have seen the deficit halved as the Premier League winner found himself unmarked in the middle of the Newcastle penalty area with the goal at his mercy. A glorious opportunity which was unbelievably placed wide from such close range.
Perhaps further evidence that the former England international, who turns 36 tomorrow, is a fading force at this level.
Full time at St. James’ Park: Newcastle United 2-0 Leicester City.
Brendan Rodgers’ men will now head to the City Ground for an East Midlands clash with Nottingham Forest on Saturday.