Leicester bully woeful Boks
Leicester - Leicester clinched a famous 22-17 win over world champions South Africa at Welford Road on Friday as the mighty Springboks suffered a dismal start to their northern hemisphere tour.
Leicester even overcame the handicap of missing England internationals - Tom Croft, Lewis Moody, Jordan Crane, Dan Hipkiss and Louis Deacon - as well as having eight players on the injury list.
Jongi Nokwe's eighth-minute try put the Springboks in front but the Tigers hit back with a try from Argentina international wing Lucas Amorosino while 17 points from the boot of scrumhalf Ben Youngs proved crucial.
A couple of late penalties from Ruan Pienaar brought the Springboks, who had also defeated the British and Irish Lions 2-1 and took the Tri-Nations this year, to within a score but Leicester held firm.
The English champions opened up a surprise 16-8 lead in the first half on the back of sure kicking from 20-year-old Youngs, and Amorosino's superb try.
Leicester marked the first-ever visit of a South Africa side to their 117-year-old stadium with an official unveiling of a new 14-million-pound, 10 000-seater stand before kick-off, which swells capacity to 24 000.
South Africa named five uncapped players in their XV, as they prepare for Tests against France, Italy and Ireland.
Only Odwa Ndungane remained from the team that beat New Zealand in the final Tri-Nations match in September.
After Youngs missed the chance to put Leicester in front, Pienaar kicked the first points.
Within 10 minutes the Springboks had the first try of their tour.
Fullback Earl Rose floated a perfectly weighted kick which fell into the hands of Nokwe. Pienaar missed the conversion before Youngs kicked a penalty to cut the deficit to five.
South Africa were robbed of their captain midway through the first half, when Chiliboy Ralepelle hobbled off.
Then the match turned after 27 minutes on an uncharacteristic moment of carelessness from the Springboks which allowed the Tigers to pounce.
Teenage centre Manu Tuilagi ran through unchallenged, and off-loaded with Amorosino in support.
Amorosino jinked past two tacklers to go in under the posts. Youngs converted to open up a two-point lead at 10-8.
Youngs then kicked two further penalties while Pienaar added three points for South Africa as Leicester held a 16-11 lead at the break.
That was restored to eight points two minutes after the restart when Youngs profited from South African hands in at the ruck.
In the 55th minute, former Australia wing Lote Tuqiri came on for his first Leicester start.
After Youngs found the posts again from the 10-metre line, Pienaar had to kick from wide out to bring the deficit back to eight.
Leicester dominated possession and twice turned over ball as the Springboks became increasingly ragged.
Pienaar reduced the gap to five from in front of the posts, setting up a five minute period of intense South African pressure.
But the ball spilled loose and Tuqiri's first major contribution was to scramble it to touch and end the game.
Scott Hamilton, Lucas Amorosino, Andy Forsyth, Manu Tuilagi, Johne Murphy, Aaron Mauger (captain), Ben Youngs, Brett Deacon, Ben Pienaar, Geoff Parling, Ben Kay, Calum Green, Martin Castrogiovanni, Mefin Davies, Marcos Ayerza.
Reserves: George Chuter, Dan Cole, Tom Armes, Dan Hemingway, James Grindal, Greig Tonks, Lote Tuqiri
Earl Rose, Odwa Ndungane, Juan de Jongh, Wynand Olivier, Jongi Nokwe, Ruan Pienaar, Heini Adams, Ashley Johnson, Davon Raubenheimer, Dewald Potgieter, Andries Bekker, Danie Rossouw, Jannie du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle (captain), Gurthro Steenkamp. Reserves: Bandise Maku, Heinke van der Merwe, Alistair Hargreaves, Jean Deysel, Francois Hougaard, Meyer Bosman, Riaan Viljoen