Leicester Tigers secured a bonus point win with six seconds to spare in the opening game of the Aviva Premiership.
Tigers finished 32-15 winners and secured the all important point when Vereniki Goneva’s swivelled and turned before reaching out to touch down for a score which brought a subdued Welford Road to life on Sunday.
Adam Thompstone and man-of-the-match David Mele touched down in the first half and the excellent Jordan Crane capped a fine performance by finishing of a powerful catch and drive move by the forwards in the second.
Leicester never really got out of third gear but were firmly in control at half time. However a spirited Worcester side, under new leadership, hit back with two tries through Chris Jones and Josh Matavesi to take the wind out of Tigers’ sails.
The result never looked in doubt but the ease with which Worcester breached the Tigers’ line will be a concern to the coaching staff, who were without director of rugby Richard Cockerill who was sitting out the third game of his nine-game ban.
Leicester have big players to come back into the side, British and Irish Lions Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs were both named on the bench but failed late fitness tests.
Toby Flood was also absent after being concussed in Tigers’ final pre-season game against Ulster.
The fly-half will be sorely missed as his replacement, Ryan Lamb failed to answer his doubters with a shakey display kicking for the sticks. His range also appears to below par for the Premiership.
However, the side were not lacking in experience despite the club captain Flood missing from action with Louis Deacon captaining Leicester on his 250th appearance for the club.
Worryingly Leicester did not dictate the pace of the game and rather hit back on the counter attack.
Positives from the match were strong performances from Dan Bowden at inside centre and Niall Morris at full back however Tigers will need to make major improvements if they are to come away from The Rec, where they face Bath on Saturday, with a victory.
In other news
Leicester Tigers have made a late signing to bolster the club’s midfield options following injuries.
Tigers have signed 21-year-old centre Terrence Hepetema from the New South Wales Waratahs as injury dispensation for utility back Matt Smith who has been ruled out with a thumb injury.
Hepetema, who was born in England, qualifies to play for Australia and New Zealand through his parents.
For your chance to see the Leicester’s emerging talent get along to Welford Road tonight (Monday) for the opening of the Premiership ‘A’ League at 7.30pm.
Tigers Development XV will face Northampton. Season ticket holders can gain free admission to all ‘A’ League fixtures on production of their season ticket card and other supporters can get in for £5 for adults, £1 for juniors.