Leicester Tigers produced a superb second-half comeback to beat Gloucester
Three tries in nine minutes from Steve McColl, Henry Trinder, and Paddy McAllister gave the Cherry and Whites a 27-13 lead at the break
Tuilagi added his second soon after half-time before Peter Betham and Niki Goneva completed a dramatic comeback
A thoroughly entertaining game at Welford Road saw Leicester Tigers secure a 35-30 bonus-point victory over Gloucester to keep their hopes of reaching the Premiership play-offs alive.
The triumph moves Tigers back to fourth in the table and four points above Northampton, who have a chance to edge ahead of Leicester again on Sunday when they travel to Coventry to face Wasps.
Meanwhile, Gloucester is facing the diminishing prospects of a top-six finish and falling short of a European Champions Cup spot,
The Cherry and Whites produced an exhilarating brand of attacking rugby in the first half, scoring three tries in nine minutes through Stephen McColl, Henry Trinder, and Paddy McAllister to stun Richard Cockerill’s side and lead 27-23 at the break.
Leicester responded after the restart with a similarly dazzling display of open rugby in the second half, culminating in a fast flowing and irrepressible move finished by Goneva.
England centre Tuilagi was among Leicester’s chief destroyers, setting the impressive Veainu up for the game’s first try before getting on the end of a fine bit of skill from Betham to cross for his first score.
The powerhouse then displayed trademark power and pace, taking an Owen Williams pass before shrugging off two tackles to spark the second-half revival with his side’s third try and personal second.
He then played a part in sending Betham over to secure the try-scoring bonus point in what was probably his finest display since his comeback from injury in February.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Leicester Tigers: Manu Tuilagi
Leicester Tigers: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ed Slater (c), 7 Lachlan McCaffrey, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Logovi’i Mulipola
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Sebastian de Chaves, 20 Brendon O’Connor, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Mathew Tait
Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Rob Cook, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Steve McColl, 10 James Hook, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Paddy McAllister
Replacements: 16 Luke Cole, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 John Afoa, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Ollie Thorley, 23 Jacob Rowan
Date: Saturday, April 2
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 15:15 BST (14:15 GMT)
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick, Paul Burton
TMO: David Grashof