Leicester 29-23 Connacht: Dan Cole delivers off the bench as the previous England prop sparks comeback victory for hosts in European Champions Cup
- Leicester have been behind by eight factors within the early levels of the second half
- Dan Cole was launched off the bench and helped flip the sport round
- Leicester stay undefeated this season – their final loss got here six months in the past
- Head coach Steve Borthwick praised Cole for his affect within the second half
Leicester’s very personal Bomb Squad blew Connacht aside with former England prop Dan Cole main Tigers to a victory that retains their 100 per cent win report intact.
Trailing 20-12 after 47 minutes, Leicester boss Steve Borthwick had seen sufficient and despatched on substitutes Cole, Julian Montoya and James Whitcombe to defuse a dicey state of affairs.
The trio rapidly pressured the sin-binning of tight-head prop Finlay Bealham, and whereas he was off Leicester scored two transformed tries from Freddie Steward and Hosea Saumaki to seal victory.
Freddie Steward scores a attempt as Leicester got here from behind to beat Connacht on Sunday
It now means Leicester have received all 13 video games they’ve performed this season – their final defeat method again in June towards Bristol who’re up subsequent on Boxing Day within the Premiership.
‘The players coming on added a huge amount of energy and intensity,’ stated Borthwick of his front-row who rivalled the well-known work of the South African substitute front-rowers. What was actually pleasing was how our group grabbed maintain of it and adjusted the sport.’
Cole, 35 subsequent May, notably impressed. ‘He’s not that previous, positively not! Not the best way he’s transferring round,’ added Borthwick. ‘I retired at 34 and didn’t transfer like him. He’s been wonderful.
‘Those three front rowers who came on did a terrific job. Dan is a very mature, very composed rugby player. He just keeps putting in great performances.’
Dan Cole (L) got here off the bench to make a huge impact, turning the sport in Leicester’s favour
Leicester boss Steve Borthwick was delighted with Cole’s efficiency after the interval
As this was the one match of the day within the Champions Cup, after France’s closing of their borders to the UK had pressured the postponement of seven video games, we wanted some pre-Christmas cheer.
By half-time, Connacht have been the Grinches stealing a lot pleasure from the Welford Road crowd that some even jeered Tigers off.
Leicester largely had themselves to blame for falling behind.
It was wanting good for Tigers once they went 12-3 up earlier than the half-hour mark. First Nic Dolly scored on the left after fast work from Ben Youngs to dummy and go off a rolling maul, discovering the hooker hanging out huge for the attempt.
Then Matt Scott broke properly in midfield, fed by what regarded like a ahead cross from Dan Kelly, to make an incision in behind Connacht, earlier than kicking neatly by way of for Youngs.
Leicester whipped the ball by way of the backs and Kelly discovered Bryce Hegarty for the Tigers’ second attempt which Freddie Burns transformed.
But then Leicester let Connacht again in. Kelly went for an intercept, however nipped in to put John Porch away. Jack Carty transformed to add to his earlier penalty.
Bryce Hegarty (above) runs clear to rating Leicester’s second attempt of the match at Welford Road
Jack Carty (C) put Connacht in a powerful place along with his kicking earlier than Leicester fought again
Tigers compounded the error. Burns shovelled a ball on to Kelly who was hit behind the gainline. He made it worse by flicking ball away in a panic and earlier than any Tiger may react Carty had scooped it up and run in to rating and convert.
With no George Ford and Ellis Genge – the departing duo off to Sale and Bristol subsequent season rested for this – young and old Tigers wanted to step up.
Carty prolonged the Connacht lead to eight with a penalty after half-time earlier than Borthwick hooked off Burns, who was having a poor afternoon, displaying a definite lack of management with errant kicking.
At the identical time he modified the entire front-row, Whitcombe, Montoya and Cole on for Nephi Leatigaga, Dolly and Joe Heyes, which reworked Leicester’s afternoon.
Hosea Saumaki broke clear late on to seal a formidable comeback win for Leicester
Three scrum penalties towards Connacht on their very own line in fast succession noticed referee Mike Adamson sin-bin Bealham after which with numbers over Steward bashed in on a brief line off Kelly to rating. Hegarty transformed as Tigers moved one level behind.
Then got here their fourth attempt Saumaki splitting Connacht with a diagonal burst after Leicester had sucked Connacht’s 14-men in with a giant maul. Hegarty kicked the objective and Leicester had 14 factors within the sin-bin interval.
The full-back prolonged Tigers’ lead to 9 with a late penalty which regarded to have denied Connacht a shedding bonus-point – however Carty’s drop-goal with the final kick stole a hard-earned level.
‘The yellow card hurt us, but that’s Leicester Tigers, they flexed their muscular tissues and we paid the penalty,’ stated Connacht coach Andy Friend.