Premiership: Newcastle Falcons 13-30 Leicester Tigers
|Newcastle (10) 13|
|Try: Goneva Cons: Flood Pens: Flood 2|
|Leicester (14) 30|
|Tries: Veainu, B Youngs, May Cons: G Ford 3 Pens: G Ford 3|
Leicester Tigers climbed to third in the Premiership with a hard-fought away victory over Newcastle Falcons.
Telusa Veainu and Ben Youngs scored tries inside the first 20 minutes as the Tigers established a 14-3 lead.
Vereniki Goneva crossed for the Falcons just before the break and a Toby Flood penalty early in the second half reduced the deficit to a single point.
But three George Ford penalties and a try by Jonny May helped Leicester pull away for fifth successive win.
The Falcons began the game in fourth place and had the backing of the majority of a capacity 10,100 crowd for skipper Will Welch's 200th game for the club.
Leicester though, pressed hard at the start and Veainu danced over for the opening try after the ball was spread right from a ruck.
When Youngs crossed after a sidestep - both tries converted by Ford - they looked well in control.
But former Tigers player Goneva sparked a Newcastle revival by scoring on the left and although a last-ditch tackle was needed to prevent Brendon O'Connor stretching over for Leicester, Flood's second penalty against his former club put the game in the balance.
It was, however, the final score of the game for the Falcons, but their defence held firm to deny Leicester an extra bonus-point after May's touchdown from Ford's angled kick had sealed the win.
Bath's home defeat by Gloucester meant Leicester moved up four places in the table, while Newcastle slipped three to seventh.
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards:
"George Ford was man of the match. Their forwards controlled the game, controlled the line-outs and he pulled the strings.
"I'm very disappointed. We should have done better. We were very inaccurate and quite ill-disciplined and that's cost us dear.
"It was very disappointing in terms of decision-making and accuracy."
Leicester head coach Matt O'Connor:
"We're in the top four and that's where we want to stay.
"We still have quality players missing, so by the time the Six Nations comes along we will be in much better shape.
"We had our opportunities to score more tries and we probably left a bonus point out there but you can't complain after three (successive) wins on the road and we're in a good place right now."
Newcastle: Tait; Goneva, Harris, Socino, Sinoti; Flood, Takulua; Vickers, Cooper, Welsh, Green, Robinson, Wilson, Welch (capt), Latu.
Replacements: Lawson, Mavinga, Davison, Witty, Hogg, Young, Hodgson, Mermoz.
Leicester: Veainu; Malouf, Smith, Tait, May; G Ford, B Youngs; Genge, T Youngs (capt), Cole, Barrow, Kitchener, Mapapalangi, O'Connor, Kalamafoni.
Replacements: Thacker, Bateman, Cilliers, Wells, Hamilton, Harrison, J Ford, Thompstone.
Referee: Wayne Barnes