Match verdict: Leicester Tigers' sensational win sends out message to rivals
On an evening to rival many glorious days that the club has enjoyed at the top level, Leicester Tigers produced some sensational rugby to leave Welford Road's very foundations rocking.
Beware the injured Tiger. In the context of a week when some pundits had suggested they may be a spent force in European rugby after a defeat in Toulouse, their 39-22 win against old adversaries Ospreys was the perfect tonic.
The manner of the victory was simply stunning.
Tied at 19-19 with 15 minutes to go and inspired by an England half-back duo of Toby Flood and Ben Youngs, that had also been under pressure, Tigers produced a wild finish full of intensity.
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Flood intercepted a Dan Biggar pass and ran it in from the halfway line to put distance between the sides, while man-of-the-match Youngs dived over in the corner and, with the last action of the game, Manu Tuilagi secured a bonus-point fourth try.
It was memorable stuff. For Tigers to produce their best 15 minutes of rugby when they needed it most, showed tremendous belief and conviction.
The size of their achievement was made even greater by the fact that last season's RaboDirect Pro 12 champions arrived on the back of a four-game unbeaten run and with a great deal of belief. That was only added to when they shot out to a rapid 10-0 lead, former British & Irish Lion Ryan Jones popping over from close range.
Biggar's touchline conversion stunned the home crowd and the Welsh side stayed on top in the first 10 minutes.
Full-back Richard Fussell made a wonderfully fleet-footed break in the Tigers 22 and then Biggar made it 10-0 after Leicester were penalised for collapsing a scrum.
Boosted by their start, the Ospreys oozed confidence and threatened again with a line-out on Tigers' 22, but Graham Kitchener made a crucial steal which enabled the home side to clear their lines.
It also seemed to kick them into gear and, on their first visit to the Ospreys' 22, Anthony Allen made a half break only for Logovi'i Mulipola to knock on two metres short of the line.
The crowd really found their voice when Tigers got on the board through Flood, and then levelled the scores with an electric try.
Vereniki Goneva made an initial break after running a lovely line and the Fijian was again involved when the ball got recycled, passing to Allen who fed Tuilagi for the score.
Flood's extras from an acute angle made it 10-10, and things got better for Richard Cockerill's side when the Welsh region's loose-head prop Ryan Bevington was sin-binned just before the interval for repeated offences at the set-piece.
Biggar kicked the Ospreys back in front two minutes into the second period but it only momentarily stifled Leicester's momentum.
Flood levelled it up at 13-13 and Tigers took the lead for the first time on 48 minutes with another Flood kick.
The England man was hitting the ball sweetly by now and when he converted from 52 metres to make it 19-13, there seemed only one winner.
But two kicks from the impressive Biggar levelled it up once more on 61 minutes and Tigers' future in this season's competition lay in the balance.
Flood landed a penalty from seven metres inside his own half before the game's key moment arrived on 71 minutes, when he picked off Biggar's pass on halfway and out-sprinted his opposite number to swallow-dive over the line.
The conversion made it 29-19 but, almost immediately, the Ospreys closed the gap to seven points. In a remarkable finish though, Youngs sprinted home from 20 metres out and Tuilagi scored the all-important fourth try with 45 seconds left.
The Ospreys looked spent at the final whistle. I doubt any other team in England could have produced a finish like it.