Vainikolo dives in and the Shed erupts with joy

Gloucester 19 Leicester Tigers 12

Gloucester pulled off a dramatic victory over the champions with Lesley Vainikolo's late try. A compelling match looked to be heading for a draw when Nicky Robinson missed a fourth penalty, after the Leicester centre Matt Smith was sent to the sin-bin.

However, Gloucester had a final roll of the dice and though the hooker Olivier Azam looked to have blown an overlap, the flanker Akapusi Qera got the ball out to Vainikolo for the giant wing to barge over in the corner. Robinson converted and Gloucester maintained their unbeaten home league record that now stretches back for more than a year. They are now third in the Aviva Premiership table.

Gloucester's coach, Bryan Redpath, said: "We always knew this game was going to be tight and it certainly proved so. We showed Leicester respect but hopefully we have also gained some respect. I'm proud of the lads who battled hard and proved they would not freeze in the tight matches. We had to come back and finish off that game.

"Lesley brought a physical edge to our play, that's why we have someone like him and the reason we brought him on when we did. I'm delighted for him. We will enjoy this win. I'm chuffed to bits. But we can't get too carried away, we have some key games in the league before Christmas and we have to be smart in the way we approach them."

Both teams were without England internationals a a week before the first Autumn Test but Leicester who were affected far more – their attacking thrust looked blunt without Ben Youngs and Toby Flood. They took a losing bonus point but that was scant consolation to their director of rugby, Richard Cockerill, who was clearly unhappy with the referee, Wayne Barnes.

He said: "There were some bizarre decisions for both sides, especially at the scrums where the boys were left wondering what they had done. But we also have to look at ourselves because we are a better team than that. Perhaps we got what we deserved after being so flippant with the ball, especially in our own half. I'm frustrated and disappointed at some of the decisions we took on the field. We had opportunities to win. But we kept coughing up the ball, giving them more and more opportunities and eventually they took one."

It was a former Gloucesterplayer, the Leicester centre Anthony Allen, who came closest to breaking a way through in the first half, only to knock on as Jonny May came up with a timely tackle.

Gloucester edged the first half 9-6 and while it may have been nip-and-tuck stuff, with few openings, that only heightened the entertainment that was served up.

Gloucester lost the back-rower Brett Deacon to a leg injury after only 16 minutes and Robinson suffered a dose of the collywobbles in front of goal, being way off with successive penalties. James Simpson-Daniel failed to gather Henry Trinder's delightful kick with the Leicester line open.

Robinson responded in determined fashion, dusting himself down after earning a penalty with a brave tackle on Alesana Tuilagi and kicking Gloucester ahead from close to the halfway line.

Gloucester were giving Leicester a dose of their own medicine in the close exchanges, particularly in the scrum, and their sheer tenacity was rattling the champions.

The Tigers pack fluffed a line-out just five yards from the Gloucester line; the flanker Craig Newby gave away a needless penalty after charging down Robinson's clearance in the shadow of his posts; and the No 8 Thomas Waldrom had a rush of blood to the head, running a penalty head-long into a posse of Cherry and White jerseys when a successful kick at goal would have levelled the scores.

The Tigers No 10, Billy Twelvetrees, made sure he got his hands to the ball at the next penalty, to level matters 12-12, but the introduction of Vainikolo proved decisive.

Gloucester O Morgan; C Sharples, H Trinder, J May (L Vainikolo, 59), J Simpson-Daniel; N Robinson, R Lawson (J Pasqualin, 68); N Wood (A Dickinson, 55), S Lawson (O Azam, 55), P Doran-Jones, J Hamilton, A Brown, B Deacon (P Buxton, 16), L Narraway (capt), A Hazell (A Qera, 63).

Leicester Tigers G Murphy (capt); S Hamilton, M Smith, A Allen, A Tuilagi; B Twelvetrees, J Grindal; M Ayerza, G Chuter, M Castrogiovanni (J White, 59-68), E Slater, G Skivington, C Newby (J Crane, 67), T Waldrom, B Woods.

Referee W Barnes (London).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable