Tigers thwarted by famous rearguard
Gloucester's win meant so much to the club and its players that their post-game lap of honour around a rocking Kingsholm was akin to something reserved for a cup final success.
In their players' faces was a mixture of delight and sheer relief. The 15,000 supporters shared the same emotions as they pumped their fists and cheered.
Not only were those emotions sparked by the end of four consecutive defeats by Leicester, the manner of the victory was one which they must have thought would never arrive after a final 20 minutes spent almost entirely in their own half.
Gloucester's was a memorable rearguard effort.
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Tigers, however, saved their best rugby for the game's final quarter – much like last week's glorious Heineken Cup win over the Ospreys. That has to change.
Having gone 27-14 behind to a try scored by Akapusi Qera, but made by a wonderful break from James Simpson-Daniel, Leicester completely dominated the closing stages and, at one stage, had a two-man advantage for nine minutes.
A penalty try arrived during that spell but the fact that no further points were added were thanks to a mixture of heroic Gloucester defending, untimely errors by Tigers and some questionable calls by the officials.
Leicester were fuming with referee JP Doyle by the end of the game and both Richard Cockerill and Geordan Murphy did well to hide their anger in the post-match press conference, wary not to come across as sore losers in what was a cracking game of rugby.
Gloucester were finally, and long overdue, reduced to 14 men on 58 minutes when serial offender Jimmy Cowan was sent to the sin-bin for an 'in-at-the-side' offence, which had spread like an epidemic in the Gloucester defence during the second half.
A minute later, full-back Rob Cook joined him for deliberately slapping the ball away as Toby Flood's cross-field kick was heading into the hands of Vereniki Goneva for a try.
The first play after that saw Doyle go under the posts for a penalty try and Tigers' dominant scrum forced their opposing numbers to pop up once more.
At 27-21 with 19 minutes left, there seemed only one winner – and that was the team behind.
But the Cherry& Whites expertly killed time in a manner that the Leicester of old would have been proud of.
Murphy was then tackled as Leicester looked to score out wide and Cowan and Cook returned to the fray to level the numbers. As they did, on 70 minutes, during a crucial moment.
Leicester's marauding pack caused the home side's front eight to retreat once more and then disintegrate on two occasions. Both times, the referee decided to re-set the scrums instead of award the visitors a kickable penalty.
With 10 minutes left, they could have closed the gap to 27-24 and then, who knows?
Instead, Gloucester pulled a great surge out of nowhere, pushed Leicester back and cleared their lines.
Again, Tigers drove into the home side's 22 but, with the line getting ever closer, Sam Harrison had the ball kicked out of his hands at the back of a ruck, both referee and touch judge missed it, and the danger was cleared once more.
Earlier, Tigers had made their now customary slow start going behind to Charlie Sharples' first-minute try.
When Freddie Burns converted a lovely chip and collect on 19 minutes and converted his try, Gloucester led by 17-8 at the rate of almost a point a minute.
Tigers did well to take the sting out of the home side's gusto and a penalty dragged the lead back to just six points for a 17-11 half-time scoreline.
Burns and the impressive Toby Flood exchanged kicks in the second period before Simpson-Daniel's opportunistic, yet world-class, jinking run past several would-be Tigers tacklers created an easy finish for Qera.
At 27-14, Leicester seemed out of it.
But their sheer tenacity, belief and incredible forwards' power completely turned the game around so that the visitors left the field in near disbelief that they had not won .