Benjamin brace in Tigers win
Miles Benjamin scored twice in two minutes as Leicester claimed a spirited 41-32 win over Montpellier in Sunday's Heineken Cup clash at Welford Road.
The 25-year-old repaid Leicester's faith following more than a year out through a serious neck injury with two first-half scores after Vereniki Goneva had given the Tigers the lead in the fifth minute.
Flanker Jamie Gibson sealed the bonus point for Leicester with his second-half score as Toby Flood kicked 18 points for the Tigers.
Montpellier had looked out of the match at 24-3 down, but they rallied through tries by Mamuka Gorgodze, Timoci Nagusa and two for Pierre Berard as they claimed a try bonus point of their own.
Leicester claimed the perfect start when Goneva crossed upon his Tigers return in the fourth minute.
The Fiji international cut a hard angle to race through the Montpellier defence and touch down after a poor pass from scrum-half Ben Youngs was picked up by Dan Bowden and slipped to the pacey outside centre.
Captain and fly-half Flood had no problem in adding the extras before he extended Leicester's lead moments later from the penalty tee as they claimed a 10-0 lead.
The visitors were soon on the board, though, through the boot of Jonathan Pelissie, but some weak defence and a strong, direct run from Benjamin saw the Tigers wing cross, Flood again adding the extras.
Leicester were running rampant down the left wing, and Benjamin added his second after Scott Hamilton and Goneva combined to release the England Saxons winger, who had only returned from a year-long absence due to a neck injury in October.
Flood again did not miss as the English side moved 24-3 ahead with just over 15 minutes on the clock.
Pelissie cut the gap from the tee after Leicester infringed as they attempted to hold up a drive.
Leicester were then left stunned when Montpellier prop Gorgodze found himself in acres of space to run 50 metres from a turnover won in the Leicester 22, with Bowden unable to stop the marauding man-mountain.
Pelissie added the conversion to reduce the deficit to 11 points with 10 minutes of the first half remaining.
Flood then tried to pour water on the resurgent French attack with a penalty from just over the halfway line but it crept wide, with Leicester then having a try chalked off after Goneva threw a terrible pass to hooker Tom Youngs, who was clean through.
Montpellier made sure their efforts counted at the other end, though, when centre Rene Ranger's break was worked across field to right wing Nagusa, who crossed on the cusp of half-time. Pelissie was unable to add the conversion but Leicester's lead had been slashed to 24-18.
The Montpellier scrum-half was off target again early in the second half with the next score coming in the 57th minute through the boot of Flood.
Leicester then claimed the bonus point-winning try just after the hour mark through flanker Gibson, with Flood missing the conversion.
The Tigers did add another three points from the boot of Flood, but Montpellier refused to lie down, and closed the gap to 35-25 through substitute Berard's converted try.
The visitors then silenced Welford Road before having what would have been their fourth try chalked off, with Flood adding insult to injury with another accurate penalty kick.
However, Berard crossed again at the death with his score converted by Francois Trinh-duc, but a last-gasp drop goal by Ryan Lamb killed off the game and made sure of the win for the home side.
- 365-home scheme branded 'crazy' by Uttoxeter residents
- Thomas Alleyne's told it must do better by Ofsted
- St Modwen takes next step for 700 homes plan in Uttoxeter
- 'Double whammy' fears over Stone Road change
- Scarlet fever continues to spread across East Staffordshire
- Manager Dave Shaw commits future to Rocester