Leicester Tigers' Niall Morris gutted about the try that got away
Winger Niall Morris admitted he was "gutted" after coming within a whisker of Leicester Tigers' second Aviva Premiership hat-trick of the season.
Morris opened the scoring in the first-half and earned the bonus-point win in the final minute of the 31-9 victory at London Irish. but, in between, he was about to touch down for what would have been a third try after a delicate chip-and-chase on 73 minutes when he was hauled down by flanker Jamie Gibson, as he was about to score.
The Exiles' back-rower was shown a yellow card and Tigers were awarded a penalty try.
Adam Thompstone had already scored a treble for the club against Exeter at Welford Road in September and Morris was close to joining him.
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"I was just about to dive on the ball when I got tackled," said the 24-year-old. "That left me a little bit gutted because it could have been a hat-trick.
"Manu (Tuilagi) turned it over at the ruck and the Irish guys seemed to just stop playing. I picked it up, started running and chipped it. It bounced nicely and I was going to touch it down until I got taken out."
Morris said his disappointment was short-lived, however, as Tigers picked up a dramatic late four-try bonus point thanks to his stunning 80th-minute score. Toby Flood made a line break and off-loaded to Morris, who turned on the afterburners and ran in from 35 metres.
It capped wonderful individual performances from both Flood and Morris. Both men were also the creators and finishers of the visitors' spectacular opening try on 11 minutes.
"Me and Floody were standing next to each other and, as he walked up to take a penalty kick, I told him to have a look out wide first because it might be on for the cross-field kick," said Morris.
"All of their guys started walking back to the opposite corner and so Floody kicked it over. It bounced kindly for me and was a nice start to the game.
"It was absolutely massive to get the five points away from home. We are delighted with the result. Every point will count at the end of the season."
Morris arrived at Welford Road, from Leinster, in the summer of 2011.
"I think I have improved a lot since I came here because I have got some game time," he said.
"The more of that you get, the better you play and you learn quickly and react better to things that happen in the game.
"I am happy with the way I played. Hopefully, I can stay in the team now and play well. I've thrown myself into it and have really enjoyed myself."