Leicester Tigers survive three yellow cards and 15 minutes of extra-time to beat Newcastle

Tigers players celebrate on the final whistle during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Newcastle Falcons and Leicester Tigers at Kingston Park on March 29, 2024 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England
The relief for Leicester at the final whistle was palpable - Getty Images/Stu Forster
  • Newcastle Falcons 13 Leicester Tigers 19

Jack van Poortvliet scored on his return to the starting XV as Leicester Tigers beat Newcastle Falcons after remarkable late drama at Kingston Park.

The scrum-half dotted down after Brett Connon had given the hosts an early lead from the tee before Ben Redshaw and Julian Montoya traded tries for each side.

Another Connon penalty restored the Falcons’ narrow lead, but Ollie Hassell-Collins flew down the left wing to hand the Tigers their fourth win in five Premiership games – but not before they had to see out 15 minutes of added time with players in the sin bin.

The men in black are still winless in the league this season, despite taking the lead twice during the course of the night.

Tom Penny made his 100th appearance for the hosts, who made six changes from their 25-16 defeat at Exeter last week.

Likewise, their opponents came into the game having been on the receiving end of a late try from Gloucester, going down 27-25 at Mattioli Woods Welford Road for their first defeat in four.

A lightning-quick start meant the scoreboard read 7-3 to the Tigers after just five minutes - Connon nailed a 45-metre penalty from just left of centre to open the scoring, only for Van Poortvliet to mark his first start in the Premiership this season with a driving run through the middle of the home defence for the first try of the evening.

Redshaw put the Falcons back in front on 17 minutes with an excellent run, breaking through with 25 metres to the post before Connon added the extras.

The see-saw scoring continued as the men in green and white went over against the run of play - Montoya dotting down after a maul.

Handre Pollard could not convert a tricky kick from out wide however, leaving their lead at a slender two points going into the interval.

The opening to the second period could not have been more different from the first, with both sides struggling to craft clear-cut scoring chances.

It was Connon who had the first major opening with a 40-metre penalty from centre but he kicked wide of the posts.

He made no mistake on 63 minutes with a much simpler task, slotting through from five metres out to give the north-east side the lead once again.

But it did not last long as Hassell-Collins found space on the wing and scored, with Pollard this time finding his range from wide to extend the lead to six points with 14 minutes left to play.

Late yellow cards for the visitors’ Charlie Clare, Freddie Steward, and James Whitcombe left them with 13 men for much of the added time and briefly down to 12, and extended the game long enough for Steward - sin-binned in the 84th minute - to return for the final moments.

The Tyneside club, though, could not find a way back despite a succession of scrum penalties inside the Tigers’ 22.

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