Match reaction: Leicester Tigers 24-13 Newcastle Falcons

Saturday 4 February 2012 – 3.00pm

Welford Road, Leicester

LV= Cup Pool 3 #4

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Living in London for so long must be making me soft. Time was I’d be out in all weathers in t-shirt and shorts (trousers if I was going to a nightclub mind).

Yet today, despite it being a tropical -1°C as the snow came down on Welford Road, I shivered along with all of the Leicester fans in my hat and gloves and thermal sweater.

Bitter is what it was. Just to make it worse, the Pukka Pies chippy near the station was closed! Going to have to find me a new eatery in Leicester.

So maybe I could be a bit annoyed after the Falcons lost 24-13 to the Tiggers. Not really.

For a start there’s always someone worse off that yourself – the lass sitting opposite me thought this train stopped at Luton but it’s actually non-stop to London St Pancreas.

We were unlikely to get through to the LV= Cup semi-finals anyway, and I have seen far worse defeats at this ground over the years. On my first visit we lost 83-10!!

The biggest concern for me was that bar the good five-minute spell in the second half that yielded Jimmy Gopperth’s try, we rarely looked like scoring.

Our best chance in the first half was probably from a hack into the home 22, but the only players in position to chase were Jon Golding and Richard Mayhew.

Some of the kicking from hand was a bit wasteful too. There was some chasing but not enough.

But our defence was very strong against a fast, fluid and poweful Tigers attack, led by the outstanding Steve Mafi. The home team’s possession warranted more tries and it is to the Falcons’ credit that they only conceded two.

The scrum was disruptive to Leicester, though never really dominant, and the recent improvement in the lineout continued.

I just think we need a bit more imagination in attack, but that will hopefully come from the new regime. This was only Gary Gold’s second game in charge remember.

Gold himself told us not to expect miracles so today probably serves as a reality check after the ecstacy of the past week.

Survival is achievable, but it will be very difficult, that has not changed.

But if losing today could guarantee winning the Premiership match at Leicester in three weeks’ time (obviously it won’t) then I’m sure we’d all accept that.

Finally, Welford Road is never the loudest stadium in my experience but today it was shockingly quiet. I’ve never known so little cheering when a home team comes out.

At half-time I noticed my phone wasn’t on silent – good thing nobody rang or I might have had it confiscated!

(Follow The South Stand Choir on Twitter: @SouthStandChoir)

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