This is why Welford Road is a World Cup venue - Tigers win thrilling international
Leicester Tigers put on a wonderful spectacle at Welford Road as the visiting Maori All Blacks were beaten 32-24 on a thrilling night.
The world-famous haka started a memorable evening at a ground snubbed by organisers of the 2015 World Cup.
Despite hosting South Africa in 2009 and Australia the following year, Welford Road was recently overlooked in place of a host of football grounds as plans for the 2015 competition were released.
With a boisterous crowd of more than 17,000 on hand to witness another victory over international competition, Tigers chief executive Simon Cohen said it was "a great night for the club".
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"It is nice to prove to those people who do not come to Welford Road regularly, that it is a venue capable of hosting a great international rugby occasion," he said. "The games against international opposition are always fantastic occasions for the club and its supporters and each one of them writes another chapter in a great rugby history.
"It also proves there is a big appetite for top-class rugby within the region and the revenue from this evening will be of significant assistance to the club both on and off the pitch."
With a huge crowd cheering them on, Tigers flew to a 26-7 lead with tries from Adam Thompstone and Niall Morris.
The Kiwis fought back in style, but George Ford pulled the strings in midfield and added 22 points with the boot to see Leicester home.
Director of rugby Richard Cockerill hailed the club and his team's performance.
"It was about putting on a show and showing everyone what this club is about," he said.
"The support of the crowd was very vocal and that was important to the players.
"The guys just wanted to go out there and play and show them that Leicester is a club full of very good players.
"We spoke about the Maori culture before the game and we respected that. But our culture is about turning up, rolling our sleeves up and getting on with it. Our attitude was fantastic and we defended well and showed some great skills in attack, too."