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Pau 24-17 Leicester: Tigers lose but seal European Challenge Cup home quarter-final

Tom Hardwick’s last-gasp penalty proved crucial for Leicester Tigers in their defeat by Pau at Stade du Hameau
European Challenge Cup Pool 5
Pau (24) 24
Tries: Pinto 2, Leffler Cons: Hastoy 3 Pen: Hastoy
Leicester (7) 17
Tries: Reid, White Cons: Hardwick 2 Pen: Hardwick

Leicester lost for the first time in six European Challenge Cup pool games as they went down to defeat in Pau.

But they still had cause to celebrate when Tom Hardwick’s last-minute penalty earned Tigers the losing bonus point that guaranteed a home quarter-final.

Although Tigers had already won Pool 5, only the best four pool winners are at home in the last eight.

But Geordan Murphy’s side rallied well from being two tries down to the French inside the first six minutes.

Tigers trailed 24-7 at the break at Stade du Hameau after two tries from home winger Vincent Pinto and one from prop Teddy Leffler.

All Tigers had to offer in reply was a converted score from centre Noel Reid, but it was a different story after the break as Tigers shut out the French.

Scrum-half Ben White came off the bench to score on 62 minutes, Hardwick converting. And he then produced an even more crucial kick following a French infringement 40 metres out to reduce the final arrears to seven points.

The game also produced a bizarre second-half incident when Pau played on with 15 men for over two minutes despite having prop Geoffrey Moise yellow-carded – a moment that saw Tigers boss Murphy race from his seat down to the touchline to point it out.

Tigers coach Geordan Murphy on the Pau yellow card incident

Pau: Smith; Pinto, Fumat, Votu, Septar; Hastoy, Daubagna (capt); Moise, Barka, Leffler, Pesenti, Marchois, Tagitagivalu, Erbani, Habel-Kuffner.

Replacements: Lespiaucq-Brettes, Odishvili, Poulain, Ramsay, Whitelock, Marques, Taylor, Malie,

Sin-Bin: Moise (63).

Leicester: Worth; Thompstone, Tuilagi (capt), Reid, Hughes; Hardwick, Simmons; Gigena, Polota-Nau, Heyes, Batley, Spencer, Wells, Boladau, Kalafamoni.

Replacements: Kerr, Bateman, Cole, Lewis, Taufua, White, Costelow, Holmes.

Sin-Bin: Worth (35).

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales).

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