May dou­ble lifts Tigers as Mur­phy looks to fu­ture

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby Union - By Gary Baker at Welford Road

Jonny May scored two siz­zling tries against his old club-mates as Le­ices­ter found the form of old to seal a bonus­point vic­tory against Glouces­ter.

It is a se­ri­ously good turn­around from the depths of prob­lems in the early part of this sea­son which cost them eight straight de­feats in all com­pe­ti­tions.

May, who left Glouces­ter for Le­ices­ter last year, went over for the first of his side’s four touch­downs in the open­ing half and ran in an­other when scrum-half Ben Youngs fed a de­light­ful in­side pass to put the Tigers on the front foot.

What has hap­pened dur­ing the weeks since former Ir­ish ace Ge­or­dan Mur­phy was given the head coach job re­main un­cer­tain but he is more clear about who may be join­ing his back­room staff in the near fu­ture. Mur­phy is look­ing at former Tigers coach Phil Blake, who left Wasps last sea­son, as a lieu­tenant.

He said: “We are look­ing and we are not go­ing to not add strength to our group. There is a lot about Phil Blake be­ing at the game to­day and watch­ing it and we will make an an­nounce­ment on that in the next week. He is an ex­pe­ri­enced coach and hope­fully he will help us out.”

As much as the Tigers would like to keep their league form go­ing, they have Euro­pean Cham­pi­ons Cup dates against Scar­lets next weekend fol­lowed by a home game with Ul­ster.

Mur­phy said: “We have not changed a huge amount. We haven’t sort of taken them to the pub or gone paint­balling. We have just been work­ing re­ally hard and I’ve seen some pos­i­tive pic­tures.

“Even at Bath last week, we con­ceded three tries but there were some re­ally pos­i­tive things and we didn’t get the rub of the green.”

Le­ices­ter were 13 points up be­fore Glouces­ter got go­ing. Ford booted two penal­ties ei­ther side of May’s open­ing try, which saw full-back Jonah Holmes float a pass out wide.

Glouces­ter replied with two penal­ties from Welford Road old boy Billy Twel­ve­trees but they were al­ways chas­ing a game they looked un­likely to win af­ter Holmes was put over for a try with a beau­ti­ful pass by cen­tre Matt Toomua.

Ford was im­pe­ri­ous with his kick­ing boots and con­verted all four tries, with May get­ting his sec­ond when scrum-half Ben Youngs looked in­side for his winger and found him with 22 me­tres to go and in open space.

Glouces­ter flanker Gareth Evans stole the ball off Ford and romped in for a Twel­ve­trees con­verted touch­down. But that was as far as they got other than an­other penalty from Twel­ve­trees. Ford rounded off a su­perb all­round per­for­mance with a neat try.

Glouces­ter, who have been hit by in­juries of late, were third be­fore the kick-off but this loss is their sec­ond in suc­ces­sive weeks.

Head coach Jo­han Ack­er­mann tried to put a brave face on it but ad­mit­ted: “We are dis­ap­pointed. We started badly by giving away points which put us on the back foot but af­ter that, as the sec­ond half pro­gressed, we cre­ated op­por­tu­ni­ties but lost the ball or threw a bad pass.

“The phys­i­cal­ity was there, the ef­fort was there but not the ex­e­cu­tion.”

On a brighter note, Ack­er­mann said he ex­pects tal­is­man fly-half Danny Cipri­ani to be back on the field soon.

It may not be next weekend, af­ter Cipri­ani suf­fered a mus­cle tear to his chest, but Ack­er­mann said: “Danny has got this X fac­tor but, at this mo­ment, it is a fine line. He is in his fi­nal week of re­hab and, if he ticks all the boxes, he will be close for the Mun­ster game.”

Siz­zling: Jonny May scored twice to see Tigers home

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