Evans gives Ed­die an open­side re­minder

The Rugby Paper - - Aviva Premiership - ■ By NEALE HAR­VEY

ENG­LAND open­side prospect Will Evans of­fered a timely re­minder of his lav­ish po­ten­tial with a star­ring role for Le­ices­ter as they over­came the ad­ver­sity of los­ing two key play­ers be­fore kick-off to earn a fourth con­sec­u­tive Premier­ship win.

With Telusa Veainu and Ben Youngs with­draw­ing through ill­ness, Tigers then lost Sione Kala­ma­foni and Sam Har­ri­son to head knocks be­fore half-time, but still saw off the brave Ir­ish with tries from Nick Malouf, Evans and the ir­re­press­ible Jonny May.

Evans en­dured a frus­trat­ing sum­mer af­ter a bout of glan­du­lar fever de­nied him a place in the Eng­land U20s Ju­nior World Cup squad, but he roared back into the shop win­dow in su­perb style yes­ter­day.

Evans said: “I’d like to think I’ve put my name out there with as many in­volve­ments as pos­si­ble.”

Livewire scrum-half Har­ri­son fash­ioned the open­ing Tigers try, jink­ing past Franco van der Merwe be­fore be­ing held short by Josh McNally. Tigers quickly re­cy­cled and Matt Toomua’s loop­ing pass found Malouf for an ex­cel­lent score.

Ge­orge Ford added a penalty af­ter Blair Cowan strayed off­side and the fly­half was soon in­volved again, send­ing Mat Tait through a gap. Ir­ish scram­bled but van der Merwe’s high tackle on Ge­orge McGuigan gave Ford an­other three-pointer.

Le­ices­ter, with Ford and Toomua con­trol­ling affairs and May roam­ing dan­ger­ously, came again and Tait put Gareth Owen into space. He found Evans and a sec­ond try beck­oned, only for Kala­ma­foni to shell Toomua’s pass.

Ford’s cross­kick found May on the charge but again Tigers failed to take ad­van­tage when Evans knocked-on. How­ever, Dan Cole over­pow­ered Ben Franks at scrum-time and Ford smashed over the penalty for a 14-0 lead.

Ex­iles re­sponded and Tigers prop Greg Bate­men did well to pre­vent David Paice from stretch­ing over. Ir­ish came again, though, and af­ter Owen had been sin-binned for reck­lessly dump­ing Greig Tonks, Bell slot­ted the points.

Short-handed Le­ices­ter had by then lost Kala­ma­foni and Har­ri­son, but they re­sisted heavy Ir­ish pres­sure to lead 14-3 at the in­ter­val.

Ir­ish ex­pected to come out fir­ing. In­stead it was Le­ices­ter who took the wind out of the home side’s sails when Ben White lo­cated Evans on an an­gled run and he burst past the stat­uesque Franks and Tikoiro­tuma for an em­phatic fin­ish.

Bell re­duced the ar­rears af­ter a tackle off the ball and Ir­ish pro­ceeded to put to­gether their best pas­sage of play, mov­ing through 30 phases with McNally and Petrus du Plessis to the fore be­fore Tikoiro­tuma put Blair Cowan in.

May then pro­duced one of his trade­mark mag­i­cal runs, leav­ing four Ir­ish de­fend­ers for dead be­fore rac­ing 50 me­tres. Paice con­ceded a penalty that Ford kicked to the cor­ner and, af­ter Valentino Ma­pa­palangi had col­lected the li­ne­out, Ford found Toomua whose de­li­cious pass lo­cated May for a splen­didly taken third try.

Ir­ish re­fused to die as James Mar­shall’s break, along with good work from Ol­lie Hoskins and Scott Steele, set up a try for Paice, be­fore Ex­iles grabbed a well de­served bonus when Alex Lew­ing­ton fin­ished a mul­ti­phase at­tack.

PIC­TURES: Getty Im­ages

Top prospect: Will Evans runs in to score Le­ices­ter’s sec­ond try

Dan­ger out wide: Alex Lew­ing­ton scores for Ir­ish

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