Rugby Union: Richards will uphold the Leicester traditions

Bristol 24 Leicester 27
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The Independent Online
IN THE midst of management arrivals there are departures. Alan Davies had ceded control of Allied Dunbar Premiership strugglers Bristol to his deputies Dave Egerton and Darryl Jones by the time Leicester's new team manager Dean Richards had arrived at the Memorial Ground.

And there was enough in the match to provide former England No 8 Richards with the requisite managerial cliches, opening his first post-match press conference thus: "That was certainly a game of two halves."

After the roars of laughter had subsided, he expanded on his theme: "In each half the side facing the wind played better than when it was behind them."

The joking was then gently shouldered aside as Richards, explained, that under the new coaching regime the Tigers would remain committed to a 15- man game. "There will be no shift in our approach to the game. We are conscious that we have all-round strength in the side and we really do want to play a fast game."

They certainly looked to be striving for that for the first 50 minutes against Bristol. In the first half in particular there was some superlative handling skill on show among forwards and backs.

Tries by Leon Lloyd, acting captain Neil Back (Martin Johnson was resting) and centre Laurie Potter had provided the Tigers with a well-stuffed cushion of 17 points. And so they sat back, and allowed Bristol to take the initiative.

The home side had already scored one try, through scrum-half Gareth Baber's solo effort in the first half and the admirable Bristol pack, who competed all afternoon, put the nervy Leicester defence under pressure, culminating in No 8 Steve Pearce charging over from 10 metres.

Paul Burke, who had already converted Baber's try and landed a penalty, did the honours again and Bristol pressed even harder. A second Joel Stransky penalty seemed to have settled things, but Bristol did not know when they were beaten. .

Unfortunately by the time they breached the Tigers defences again through Adam Larkin's try it was too late either for victory, or to save Davies' job. Richards has been warned.

Bristol: Tries Baber, Pearce, Larkin; Conversions Burke 3; Penalty Burke.

Leicester: Tries Lloyd, Back, Potter; Conversions Stransky 3; Penalties Stransky 2.

Bristol: J Lewsey; K Chesney, A Larkin (S Martin, 80), K Maggs, D Yapp; P Burke (capt), G Baber; M Morgan, F Landreau, K Fullman, C Eagle, T Devergie, D Corkery, S Pearce, J Brownrigg.

Leicester: G Murphy; A Healey, W Greenwood, S Potter, L Lloyd; J Stransky, J Hamilton; G Rowntree, R Cockerill, D Garforth, M Corry, F van Heerden, L Moody, E Miller (P Gustard, 47), N Back (capt).

Referee: N Cousins (Dulwich)

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