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Premiership: Leicester Tigers seal sixth spot with 38-31 win in nine-try fest with Wasps

The nine-try final day extravaganza at the Ricoh Arena was highlighted by a rare try for Leicester and England prop Dan Cole
The nine-try final-day extravaganza was highlighted by a rare score for Leicester and England prop Dan Cole
Wasps (21) 31
Tries: Vailanu 2, Umaga, Rowlands Cons: Umaga 4 Pens: Umaga
Leicester Tigers (24) 38
Tries: Henderson, Scott, Cole, Montoya, Lavanini Cons: McPhillips 5 Pens: McPhillips

Leicester Tigers finished the 2020-21 Premiership season in style as they beat local rivals Wasps in a nine-try final-day classic at the Ricoh Arena.

Johnny McPhillips’ penalty separated the sides at the break after converted tries by Cameron Henderson, Matt Scott and Dan Cole were matched by Sione Vailanu (2) and Jacob Umaga for Wasps.

But Tigers won with second-half tries from Julian Montoya and Tomas Lavanini.

Wales lock Will Rowlands went over in between for Wasps, who fell short.

That try on his farewell appearance – coupled with Umaga’s fourth conversion and a late penalty – earned Wasps a losing bonus point.

Last term’s Premiership runners-up end the season in eighth, dropping a place on the last day thanks to Bath’s win over Northampton, when they would have finished sixth if they had won.

Tigers’ third away league win of the season, only their second at the Ricoh and their first here in six years, was enough to secure sixth place in the final table, a big improvement under Steve Borthwick after finishing 11th for the past two rough years.

On a ground where they lost by a club record 54-7 margin on their most recent visit just nine months ago, the highlights were England prop Cole’s first try in five and a half years and one for Clermont-bound lock Lavanini, who came off the bench to say ‘au revoir’.

Ellis Genge captained the Tigers in place of the suspended Tom Youngs, Argentine hooker Montoya also crossed on his first Leicester start since February, while the departing McPhillips bowed out with five conversions and a penalty.

For full-back Zack Henry, his final appearance was marked by a 61st-minute yellow card.

Wasps head coach Lee Blackett:

“This match summed up our season. We lost three players to head injuries, ended with three hookers on the field, saw Alfie Barbeary pull out after taking a knock in training on Friday and made crucial mistakes when in possession.

“We were just a couple of percentage points away from being a side contesting for the title rather than one of the final places in the Champions Cup.

“In terms of effort and commitment, it has been 10 out of 10 for the squad and staff. The players have given their all but, at the end, they did not have much left in the tank emotionally.

“I am pleased we qualified for Europe, but it will be hard watching the play-off games having been in the final last year.”

Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick:

“I am not someone who looks at the table. It is all about working hard and improving every week.

“I will be spending the next few weeks reviewing every match this season and making sure we are ready for the next one.

“Ellis Genge is someone players follow. He has been terrific.

“When he speaks, he grabs the group and on the field he leads by example.”

Wasps: Miller; Watson, Fekitoa, Le Bourgeois, Bassett; Umaga, Robson; McIntyre, Taylor, Brookes, Rowlands, Gaskell, Willis, Shields (capt), Vailanu.

Replacements: Cruse, Harris, Toomaga-Allen, Cardall, Oghre, Vellacott, Gopperth, De Jongh.

Leicester: Henry; Steward, Scott, Kelly, Nadolo; McPhillips, Van Poortvliet; Genge (capt), Montoya, Cole, Wells, Henderson, Martin, Liebenberg, Wiese.

Replacements: Clare, Whitcombe, Heyes, Lavanini, Chessum, B Youngs, Moroni, Murimurivalu.

Sin bin: Henry (61)

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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