The former London Irish wing darted over with the clock already in the red just as it seemed as though the Tigers would have to settle for a four-point victory. Thompstone’s heroics sent the Welford Road crowd wild after Heineken Man of the Match Thomas Waldrom, Lions Test star Tom Youngs and American wing Blaine Scully had touched down to put the game beyond Benetton.The result sees the 2001 and 2002 European Champions lead Pool 5 with six points, although the winners of Montpellier versus Ulster will overtake them at the top tomorrow afternoon.
A slow start saw the game remain scoreless for the first 16 minutes, although Treviso would have got things moving had Mat Berquist succeeded with a fourth minute penalty attempt from five metres inside his own half. Leicester enjoyed plenty of possession and came close to the first try with 13 minutes gone when Scully gathered a kick downfield but he was dragged into touch by Christian Loamanu just as he attempted to touch down.
The Tigers did go ahead courtesy of Toby Flood’s first penalty on 17 minutes and the England fly-half added a second eight minutes later to make it 6-0. Treviso scrum-half Tobias Botes had become the first visiting player to see yellow moments earlier after Waldrom and Graham Kitchener had taken Leicester to within five metres but Flood’s three pointer proved to be their only points in the Italian international’s absence.
The driving rain continued to make life difficult for both teams in the East Midlands but Leicester finally crossed for their first try with two minutes of the first half remaining. Flood opted to kick a close-range penalty to touch and the Tigers skipper was immediately rewarded by his pack as they drove the lineout onwards and Waldrom dived over to make it 11-0. The conversion from Flood handed Leicester a 13-0 lead at the break but Botes finally got Treviso off the mark with a penalty seven minutes after the interval.
It was almost all Tigers from there on in, though, with Treviso’s indiscipline costing them dear. A brace of further yellow cards in the space of two minutes to captain Antonio Pavanello and wing Loamanu for offside and a high tackle respectively gave Leicester a two-man advantage and they capitalised almost straight away. Hooker Youngs drove over from another close-range lineout after 56 minutes and Flood converted to leave Treviso with a mountain to climb at 20-3 down.
Uncharacteristic handling errors prevented Leicester from initially adding to their tally but Scully made the most of the extra space out wide to dive over following Jordan Crane’s pass with 15 minutes left to play. Again, Flood converted, this time from the touchline, and Leicester were 27-3 clear and in sight of a try-scoring bonus point. That bonus point seemed destined to go begging until Thompstone took Ed Slater’s well-timed pass out wide on the left, before handing off Luke McLean on his way to what could be a crucial score come the closing stages of the pool next January.