Tigers grateful for Ford's focus amid yellow peril

Leicester Tigers 17 Gloucester 12

welford road

Will 2013 be the year of living dangerously for Leicester? It will be if referees, as Richard Cockerill emphasised immediately after this hard-fought win, fail to reward the expertise of his scrum.

Nearly every scrum awarded to Leicester ended in a home penalty and ultimately ensured the win and a move to second place in the Aviva Premiership. But Cockerill, Leicester's director of rugby, was incensed that in a game of four yellow cards (two of them to the Leicester half-backs, the smallest men on the field), Gloucester lost only one front-row forward, Shaun Knight, to the sin bin.

"We need to educate [referees] and, if they don't get it right, then they don't get the games," Cockerill, an England hooker during his playing days and still drilling set-piece values into today's players, said. "I'll show that game to Ed [Morrison, the RFU's manager of elite referees]. It's my belief the referee didn't understand what he was looking at.

"He needs to look at that game, see his faults and improve – like any player. If you get beaten you don't moan, but I want the rugby to decide, not the bloke in the middle making poor decisions."

Gloucester, who had beaten Leicester at Kingsholm in October, arrived at Welford Road believing their pack to be one of the most improved areas of their game. That mindset would have been like a red rag to the Leicester bull, and over the first quarter they dominated territory and possession yet could not translate that into points.

George Ford, a late promotion to fly-half after illness removed Toby Flood from contention, kicked his first penalty but missed two more. Freddie Burns, his opposite number, was far more assured in all he did, kicking two first-half goals, and a third early in the second half suggested this could be Gloucester's first win at Welford Road in five years.

At that stage, Ben Youngs was in the sin-bin after diving into a ruck, and on his return the England fly-half passed Ford heading in the opposite direction. It had not been a happy period for Ford, whose pass to Manu Tuilagi cannoned off the centre's head and allowed Burns to kick downfield into Leicester's 22, where Ford conceded the penalty for slowing down the ruck and earned his yellow card.

But it was while they were down to 14 men that Leicester effectively won the game. At last their pick-and-go game overcame the wet conditions, creating a try for Anthony Allen in the corner against his former club. Geordan Murphy, a part-time kicker at best, could not convert in Ford's absence, but the veteran full-back did kick the penalty which gave his side the lead after Will James became the second Gloucester forward to receive a yellow card.

Ford, back from exile, showed that he lacks nothing in composure by adding two more penalties. Yet Burns added his fourth goal and Gloucester showed how much they have improved by creating a nail-biting finish. "We'll take the point, realise that we weren't at our best but we were always competitive," Nigel Davies, their director of rugby, said.

More than that, they could have won the game in the final minute had Dan Robson been able to finish off Shane Monahan's midfield break. The replacement scrum-half was halted on the line, Charlie Sharples could not take an awkward pass in the right-hand corner and even then, Gloucester forced, irony of ironies, a scrum penalty which gave them a last tilt at the try which would have drawn the match. Leicester's relief when they forced a turnover was palpable.

Leicester G Murphy; N Morris, M Tuilagi, A Allen, A Thompstone; G Ford (sin bin 45-55), B Youngs (sin bin 35-45); M Ayerza (L Mulipola, 59), T Youngs (G Chuter, 75), D Cole (M Castrogiovanni, 59), L Deacon (captain), G Parling, B Deacon (S Mafi, 49), J Crane, J Salvi.

Gloucester M Thomas; C Sharples, M Tindall (T Molenaar, 68), B Twelvetrees, S Monahan; F Burns, J Cowan (D Robson, 68); N Wood (D Murphy, 55), H Edmonds (D Dawidiuk, 64), S Knight (sin bin 24-35; D Chistolini, 55)), W James sin bin 54-64; T Savage, 64), J Hamilton (captain), S Kalamafoni, B Morgan, A Qera (Chistolini 25-35; M Cox, 68).

Referee A Small (London)

Leicester Tigers

Try: Allen

Pens: Ford 3, Murphy

Gloucester

Pens: Burns 4

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory