Leicester Tigers came from behind to defeat Exeter Chiefs 24-20 at Sandy Park, England scrum-half Ben Youngs scoring the winner.
The Chiefs dominated for large parts, but the Tigers kept their cool to record their second victory of the season.
Exeter dominated early on, and capitalised on the sin binning of Vereniki Goneva to take the lead.
Dave Ewers’ stretched out to score despite the attention of several Tigers’ defenders.
The lead was no less then they deserved, but the home side allowed Leicester to get back into the game.
As the game approached the half hour, Freddie Burns continued his good start to life at the Tigers with a brilliant grubber in behind defence. His kick was superbly touched down by Anthony Allen just before the ball went dead.
The Chiefs didn’t let that affect them though. After another spell of dominance on the Leicester line, Haydn Thomas evaded the Leicester defence and finished brilliantly to put his side back in front.
Burns hit two penalties late in the first half, with his side going in 17-13 down at the break.
In a physical, tight affair it was difficult to predict who would come out on top, especially after Burns narrowed the host’s lead to just a solitary point with an early penalty.
Ben Youngs, who had been busy all day long, but the Tigers in the lead for the first time in the game as the clock ticked towards the hour mark. The fly half scrambled over, but a missed conversion meant Exeter were only behind by four.
The ever-dependable Gareth Steenson was on hand to keep fans on the edge of their seats, his penalty meaning Leicester held the most slender of advantages going into the final minutes.
Ewers’ yellow card made things a lot harder, and the away side capitalised on their man advantage.
Replacement Owen Williams kicked the three points which saw off the brave Chiefs, and Leicester secured a vital win which keeps their early season play-off hopes on track.
Tries: Ewers, Thomas
Cons: Steenson 2
Pens: Steenson 2
Yellow Card: Ewers
Tries: Allen, B.Youngs
Pens: Burns 3, Williams
Yellow Card: Goneva
Exeter: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Ben White, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Jack Yeandle (capt), 1 Carl Rimmer.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Moray Low, 19 Damian Welch, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Jack Arnott.
Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs (c), 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Graham Kitchener, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Logovi’i Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Riccardo Brugnara, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Sebastian De Chaves, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 David Mele, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Matt Smith.
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton, Gordon Goodliffe
TMO: Rowan Kitt
* Planet Rugby