Evans gives Eddie an openside reminder
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.
Top prospect: Will Evans runs in to score Leicester’s second try
Danger out wide: Alex Lewington scores for Irish