At­tack-minded Le­ices­ter give in­terim coach Mur­phy ideal start

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby Union - By Char­lie Mor­gan at Welford Road

If Ge­or­dan Mur­phy’s first game in charge of Le­ices­ter Tigers is any­thing to go by, his ten­ure as in­terim head coach will bring as much en­ter­tain­ment as his play­ing days did.

Mur­phy went up against long-time men­tor Dean Richards – their pho­tos are ad­ja­cent to one an­other on Welford Road’s Wall of Le­gends – and vowed to en­cour­age at­tack­ing verve in the match pro­gramme.

Tigers cer­tainly de­liv­ered that on an

af­ter­noon that fea­tured 10 tries shared evenly be­tween en­ter­pris­ing teams.

Newcastle, with five ex-Tigers in their start­ing line-up, at times threat­ened to re­peat their fa­mous vic­tory on this ground four months ago – de­spite a hor­ri­ble start.

Ul­ti­mately, Ge­orge Ford’s 29-point haul proved piv­otal.

Four days af­ter part­ing with Matt O’Con­nor and a week af­ter an in­sipid loss to Ex­eter, Le­ices­ter scored within sec­onds of the kick-off. Ford’s flat pass sent lock Will Spencer charg­ing through. Although Ford was clat­tered by Vereniki Goneva, Le­ices­ter re­cy­cled. Fol­low­ing a for­tu­nate ric­o­chet off Dan Cole, Ford wrig­gled over.

His con­ver­sion bounced off the left up­right, but he then made amends with a penalty.

Toby Flood en­dured a few tor­rid mo­ments on his re­turn to the East Mid-

lands. Bren­don O’Con­nor, ex­cel­lent un­til limp­ing off close to half-time, plucked an in­ter­cep­tion from the Newcastle play­maker and sent Jonny May clear. In­deed, Le­ices­ter’s for­wards and backs dove­tailed flu­ently. On the back of some fierce car­ry­ing from Spencer and Mike Wil­liams, O’Con­nor ar­rived on the shoul­der of Kyle East­mond and off­loaded to Thomp­stone who stepped in­side for Tigers’ third try.

Nei­ther Mur­phy nor Richards was pleased with the de­fen­sive dis­plays. Even so, Newcastle’s di­rec­tor of rugby en­dorsed his op­po­site num­ber to lead Le­ices­ter per­ma­nently. “Ge­ordie’s a great choice,” Richards said. “He’s got flair, he’s got am­bi­tion, he un­der­stands the game in­cred­i­bly well and is well re­spected.”

Whether or not Mur­phy is made full­time head coach, no one can doubt his ded­i­ca­tion. “I heard very early in week

that 64 had ap­plied for the job by the first day,” added Mur­phy, pos­si­bly with tongue in cheek. “That’s not ac­tu­ally a con­cern of mine. I care about the club.”

Scores 5-0 Ford try, 8-0 Ford penalty, 13-0 May try, 15-0 Ford con­ver­sion, 20-0 Thomp­stone try, 22-0 Ford con­ver­sion, 22-5 Taku­lua try, 22-7 Flood con­ver­sion, 25-7 Ford penalty, 30-7 Tuilagi try, 32-7 Ford con­ver­sion, 32-12 Goneva try, 32-14 Flood con­ver­sion, 35-14 Ford penalty, 35-19 Goneva try, 40-19 May try, 40-24 Wil­son try, 40-26 Flood con­ver­sion, 43-26 Ford penalty, 43-31 Mavinga try, 43-33 Flood con­ver­sion, 46-33 Ford penalty, 49-33 Ford penalty. Yel­low card Veainu 63. Le­ices­ter Tigers T Veainu (Olowofela 73); A Thomp­stone, M Tuilagi, K East­mond (Hard­wick 32), J May; G Ford, B Youngs (Har­ri­son 71); G Bate­man (Ma’afu 64), T Youngs (Stevens 62), D Cole (Feao 64), M Wil­liams, W Spencer (Wells 66), D Den­ton, B O’Con­nor (Thomp­son, 38), S Kala­ma­foni Re­place­ments: J Stevens, Cam­pese Ma’afu, D Feao, H Wells, G Thomp­son, S Har­ri­son, T Hard­wick, J Olowofela Newcastle Fal­cons S Ham­mer­s­ley; V Goneva, C Har­ris, J Matavesi, S Sinoti (Tait 48); T Flood (Hodg­son 67), S Taku­lua; S Mavinga (Brock­le­bank 66), G McGuigan (So­cino 66, back on 75), L Mulipola (Payne 67), C Green (Cavu­bati 66), W Witty, M Wil­son, W Welch, C Chick (Gra­ham 48) Re­place­ments: S So­cino, A Brock­le­bank, J Payne, T Cavu­bati, G Gra­ham, S Stu­art, J Hodg­son, A Tait. Ref­eree Matthew Car­ley.

Eye of the Tiger: Le­ices­ter’s Manu Tuilagi takes his try

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.