To raise awareness for the Rugby World Cup which kicks off in two years time the RFU have been putting up odd sets of posts in parks around Leicester. The idea is to get people to have a kick about in park, get some air in the lungs, have a nice run around. Nothing serious just a bit of fun.
Tigers and Newcastle it seems were recruited as ambassadors for the scheme as they had a nice relaxing game in beautiful weather. Got some air in the lungs, had a nice run around with only occasional interruptions of seriousness.
As you probably know already it was not a happy return for Leicester legends Dean Richards and John Wells. Their Newcastle side was dismissed with ease as Tigers just clicked through the gears to record a 31-6 victory.
There was no messing about from Tigers as they kicked to touch from every penalty awarded. Some people call it arrogant but frankly we don’t want to get into a tit for tat penalty contest, we want a 4 try bonus so might as well go for it from the off.
Tigers won a mid field penalty and Flood went to touch, from the maul Tigers won another penalty and this time Ben Youngs tapped it into the corner. Jordan Crane claimed it at the back of the lineout and tigers went for the heave. The Falcons were flagging already as Waldrom broke towards the Crumbie on the blindside.
He was stopped inches short of the line but the Falcons defence had failed to wrap around the ruck and simple hands but JC in the corner.
A traditional Crumbie groan greeted Flood’s attempt at the conversion.
In the week that Manu Tuilagi gave call me Dave Cameron “bunny ears” he was more like a Rampant Rabbit as he penetrated the Falcons defence time and time again. He created the second and third tries through powerful thrusts into the Geordie midfield. The second try he was unstoppable as he powered from outside the 22 to the 5 yard. When he was stopped short of the line it was a pyrrhic victory as the defence was all at sea and Graham Kitchener had the proverbial open goal.
The third try was just before half time. Once again Newcastle’s midfield indiscipline had given Tigers a lineout in excellent position. Again it was on the Crumbie touchline and again the Tigers drive was strong. Again the Newcastle pack chose to stop the maul by illegal means and Tigers had the advantage. The Newcastle rush defence put Bowden’s second pass under pressure but Manu’s sheer strength and pace saw him brush off the attentions of his defender and feed Californian Blaine Scully for a dream debut try.
Sandwiched between the Tuilagi interjections were Newcastle’s only points. Scully skewed his clearance kick into touch and the Falcons forwards took flight, well sort of, with a maul. I’m not entirely convinced that Ed Slater did come from the side but it really doesn’t matter in the long run.
Rory “don’t call me Nick” Clegg slotted the pen then 5 minutes later knocked over a rare sight a Welford Road, a drop goal. Long gone are the days of Cusworth or Harris or even Goode where Drop Goals were a regular occurrence, Tigers haven’t kicked a drop goal in 19 months since Geordan Murphy’s last gasp winner against Saracens.
The second half’s early exchanges were tentative as Tigers were content to wait for their chance for the bonus point. Dave Rose’s liberal approach to watching the game lead to an open game as lots of knock ons were missed by both sides. Tigers almost profited as Goneva was set to race clear but at the last second Rose’s contacts came into focus and he spotted a knock on. No complaints as there were several in the move but it is annoying when he spots the small one at the end after you’ve got away with a whopper early in the move.
The try was coming though and eventually it came. Flood put Kitchener through a hole on the Newcastle 22 and as the giant strode forwards and about a million years after the pass he was clattered into by Kieran Brookes. Brookes left the club in the summer after falling behind Fraser Balmain and no loved was lost between Brookes and the former Falcon Flood.
Flood, not unsurprisingly given recent events, was not impressed by this blatant thuggery. He rocketed straight back to his feet and after the tub of lard assailant, grabbing his ears and not quite head butting him but heads certainly were in contact.
Meanwhile, Dan Bowden was latching on to Kitchener’s pop pass to scorch under the posts.
After the conversion Brookes was a lucky boy and only shown a yellow card.
With the bonus point secured Tigers used most of their bench, keeping Tom Youngs and Julian Salvi back for another day but giving allowing Tom Bristow to step up to the oche and make his debut for the club.
The final score was reminiscent of the Deano and Wells hey day as the pack completely ignored their talented backs to shove the opposition pack back over the line. It was the man wearing Wells’s old shirt that came up with ball after the push over, Thomas Waldrom the blindside for the day. Young Welsh fly half Owen Williams slotted the conversion to keep up his 100% kicking record the club, all 2 out 2 of them.
Newcastle tested out the Tigers defence late on and Adam Thompstone was yellow carded for the crime of not quite catching a ball. The Law (12.1 (e)) merely says that “A player must not intentionally knock the ball forward with hand or arm”. So according to Mr.Rose, who played second division rugby for Moseley, Thompstone didn’t want to score a try or even attempt to catch the ball. Which is rubbish. I hate this from referees because it is massively disproportionate and is not in the rules. It is just another chance for them to show off their egos and try to spoil the game for the players and fans.
And that’s how the kick about in the park ended really. Got some air in the lungs, scrapped some knees, had a run around. Nothing serious, just an afternoon of fun.