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Premiership: Newcastle 13-19 Leicester - Tigers edge past winless Falcons

Jack van Poortvliet is congratulated by fellow Leicester half-back Handre Pollard after scoring the opening try at Newcastle
Jack van Poortvliet (right) scored the opening try for Leicester [Getty Images]

Gallagher Premiership

Newcastle(10) 13

Try: Redshaw Con: Connon Pens: Connon 2

Leicester (12) 19

Tries: Van Poortvliet, Montoya, Hassell-Collins Cons: Pollard 2

Leicester Tigers maintained their hopes of making the top four with a narrow win at bottom club Newcastle Falcons who have now lost all 14 of their Premiership games this season.

But Tigers had to survive having three men sin-binned and 17 minutes of added time in an extraordinary finale.

Steve Diamond's Falcons desperately pushed for victory but were frustrated.

England duo Jack van Poortvliet and Ollie Hassell-Collins were among the three Leicester try scorers.

Julian Montoya got Tigers' other try, with Handre Pollard landing two out of three kicks, while Ben Redshaw went over for Falcons.

As well as his conversion for that try, Brett Connon kicked two penalties on a night when the hosts led three times.

But it was the remarkable end to the game that stole the show at Kingston Park, bringing a reminder of the famous 100-minute match, the France-Wales Six Nations decider in Paris in 2017.

Ben Redshaw scored Newcastle's one first-half try
Winger Ben Redshaw scored Newcastle's only try [Getty Images]

Referee Karl Dickson dished out three yellow cards, keeping alive Newcastle hopes by awarding penalty after penalty.

Hooker Charlie Clare, England full-back Freddie Steward and prop James Whitcombe were all duly sin-binned as the Tigers' second-half penalty count soared towards the 20-mark.

The visitors were almost down to 12 men but the extra period lasted so long that two of the sin-binned players, Clare and Steward, came back on.

Leicester climb a couple of places to fifth in the table, a point behind fourth-placed Exeter Chiefs.

Van Poortvliet scores on his return

Although the finale was quite something, the game had also got off to a lively start as Connon nailed a 45-metre penalty, only for Van Poortvliet to mark his first start in the Premiership this season with a driving run through the middle for the first try of the game, converted by Pollard.

Redshaw put the Falcons back in front on 17 minutes with an excellent run, from which Connon added the extras, only for Montoya to touch down for a converted try after a maul.

It took until the 63rd minute for the scoreboard to alter again, when Connon put the Falcons back in front for a third time with the second of two long-range penalty chances.

But the lead did not last long as Hassell-Collins finished off a fine move in the left corner, to which South Africa's World Cup winning stand-off Pollard added the extras.

But, despite the late drama, Newcastle could find no further way through.

Newcastle Falcons consultant director of rugby Steve Diamond:

"We did a lot of things right. We were like a kid in a sweetshop in the last 10 minutes. We just didn't know what 'play' to play to score a try.

"They're a very workmanlike, streetwise team who know how to slow the game down in those periods when they were down to less than 15, and we didn't have the ability to score.

"We can pat ourselves on the back as much as we want but in reality, we came for a win and we didn't get it."

Leicester Tigers director of rugby Dan McKellar:

"I don't think you'll see another game like that in any hurry where it's 97 minutes deep - crazy.

"I knew our season was on the line but they kept showing up for each other. I'm incredibly proud of the courage they've shown, but we've got to be better in a lot of areas, there's no doubt.

"You've also got to give credit to the opposition as well. They've made some changes up here. I wouldn't be looking forward to being a team that still has to visit Kingston Park."

Newcastle: Obatoyinbo; Radwan, Penny, Hutchison, Redshaw; Connon, Stuart; Brantingham, Blamire, Palframan, Cardall, de Chaves, Van Der Walt, Chick, Cross.

Replacements: Byrne, McCallum, Bello, Hawkins, Kelly, Douglas, Jennings, Spencer.

Leicester: Steward; Bassett, Scott, Kata, Hassell-Collins; Pollard, van Poortvliet; Cronin, Montoya, Hurd, Wells, Hatherell, Liebenberg, Cracknell, Wiese.

Replacements: Clare, Whitcombe, Richardson, Carnduff, Ilione, Whiteley, Shillcock, Cokanasiga.

Sin-bin: Clare (80), Steward (84), Whitcombe (90).

Referee: Karl Dickson.

Attendance: 7,112