May double lifts Tigers as Murphy looks to future
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