Rugby Union: Hare ruffled by rampant Tigers

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The Independent Online
Nottingham. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Leicester. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

BACK in 1971, when Nottingham were Notts and Dusty Hare had hair, the full-back played in a 10-3 first-round Cup win over Leicester. How times have changed.

Hare, who has returned to Nottingham as director of coaching, won his first England cap as a Notts player before joining the Tigers. He made six appearances in the final at Twickenham and helped them to a hat-trick of titles. But the Beeston burden provided by a new breed of Tigers proved too much for Nottingham yesterday. Three tries to none was the count as Leicester marched into the quarter-finals.

Nottingham had the early territorial advantage, but they had a powerful wind at their backs and Leicester could only make a few yards with their touch-finders. Nottingham, on the other hand, just had to hoist the ball to make the most of the elements.

The Tigers had their problems and it took them six minutes to gain a foothold in enemy territory. Still, having driven upfield there was a thunderous charge from John Wells and Nottingham were relieved to escape; as the tempo picked up their tempers shortened.

Martin Johnson, England's new second-row man, came in for attention at the front of the line-out, and a touch judge brought some trouble in the tight and the loose to the referee's attention. Guy Gregory, after an earlier miss, then put Nottingham ahead when a punch was spotted at a scrum.

The Tigers provided the tailpiece to a fiercely contested half. John Liley landed a splendid penalty across the face of the wind, and then Rory Underwood escaped for a try following a ruck. Finally, Liley added a second penalty, the kick made easier by the 10 yards Nottingham conceded for back-chat.

With a downwind half to come, it looked a formality for the First Division high flyers. Confirmation of their superiority soon came as Nottingham were sucked into a maul and thrown back 25 yards before Neil Back emerged for a try. Nottingham were again under pressure moments later and Tony Underwood rounded off a move on the left. Two tries, then, and the second half just four minutes old. It was the death knell for Nottingham.

Nottingham: S Hodgkinson; R Byrom, R Bygrave, A Furley, M Walker; G Gregory, B Gabriel; M Freer, D West, A Jackson, C Gray (capt), D Hindmarch, G Rees, P Cook, M Pepper.

Leicester: J Liley; R Underwood, I Bates, S Potter, T Underwood; J Harris, A Kardooni; G Rowntree, R Cockerill, D Garforth, M Johnson, M Poole, J Wells (capt), D Richards, N Back.

Referee: G Davies (Liverpool)

Scorers: Gregory (pen, 19 min, 3-0); Liley (pen, 21 min, 3-3); R Underwood (try, 33 min, 3-8); Liley (pen, 38 min, 3-11); Back/Liley (try/conv, 42 min, 3- 18); T Underwood/Liley (try/conv, 44 min, 3-25); Liley (pen, 59 min, 3-28).

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