Premiership: Leicester Tigers beat Newcastle Falcons 49-33 to give Geordan Murphy opening win
|Leicester (40) 49|
|Tries: Ford, May 2, Thompstone, Tuilagi Cons: Ford 3 Pens: Ford 6|
|Newcastle (19) 33|
|Tries: Takulua, Goneva 2, Wilson, Mavinga Cons: Flood 4|
Leicester began the new era under interim head coach Geordan Murphy with a high-scoring 46-33 victory against a dogged Newcastle Falcons.
Club legend Murphy, who replaced Matt O'Connor in midweek, seemed to have a galvanising effect on the Tigers, who scored five tries in a superb first 40.
England wing Jonny May ran in two tries, with one for George Ford.
They failed to match the same standard as Newcastle fought back after the break, but the lead held up.
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There was an optimistic mood around Welford Road following the appointment of Murphy, whose reputation was earned across 16 seasons as a player, scoring 691 points, including 93 tries.
That change in outlook was reflected on the field as Tigers put their opening weekend mauling by Exeter behind them with a scintillating first-half display against the Falcons.
Newcastle, coached by ex-Tigers boss Dean Richards and including several players who have worn Leicester colours, were to eventually put their indent on the game but not before they faced an onslaught.
Adam Thompstone added to May and Ford's efforts, while Manu Tuilagi crossed for a score which sparked wild celebrations.
Falcons had sensed the possibility of a losing bonus point to go with their point for scoring four tries, particularly when Mark Wilson and Sami Mavinga added to opening-half scores from Sonatane Takulua and ex-Leicester wing Vereniki Goneva.
However, Ford knocked over a couple of penalties late on to steer the scoreline away from Newcastle and ensure a winning start for the new man at the Tigers helm.
Leicester interim head coach Geordan Murphy:
"It was a win so I'm pleased with that. We were sloppy at times, but we had a really good start and that put us in control. Overall, I'm pleased but we have plenty to work on.
"The senior players had big games, but we weren't the finished article today.
"It's been a tough week, and it's bound to be after losing the head coach with an interim coming in tweaking a few things, but the players stood up and led really well.
"The support they've given me in a tough week has been world class."
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards:
"If you give them 40 points in the first half, it's always going to be a mountain to climb in the second-half.
"Defensively we were woeful in the first half with huge errors from key individuals which cost us.
"We went out in the second half and won 12-9, but it should have been more and we're disappointed.
"Some key individuals made key mistakes at key times and that ultimately cost us. The first 30 minutes today wasn't acceptable and the players know that."
Leicester: Veainu; Thompstone, Tuilagi, Eastmond, May; Ford, B Youngs; Bateman, T Youngs (capt), Cole, Williams, Spencer, Denton, O'Connor, Kalamafoni.
Replacements: Stevens, Ma'afu, Feao, Wells, Thompson, Harrison, Hardwick, Olowofela.
Newcastle: Hammersley; Goneva, Harris, Matavesi, Radwan; Flood, Takulua; Mavinga, McGuigan, Mulipola, Green, Witty, Wilson, Welch (capt), Chick.
Replacements: Socino, Brocklebank, Payne, Cavubati, Graham, Stuart, Hodgson, Tait.
Referee: Matthew Carley.