Planet Rugby

Tigers rampant in Italian feast

18th October 2008 15:21

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Leicester gave their hopes of Pool glory a significant boost as they ran out easy 60-16 bonus-point winners at Communale on Saturday - something which Perpignan couldn't even manage on home soil.

Having bravely frustrated the might of the French heavyweights by limiting them to just a four-point win last week, the Italians may have been forgiven for believing that an upset was on the cards.

But in their luminous yellow jerseys, there was nothing bright about the eventual result this time around as the Tigers completed the job at hand by crossing for nine tries in an eventual cruise.

Certainly the home side began the game more sprightly with slick handling utilising the pace of impressive full-back Brendan Williams wide out testing their opponents - the former Waratahs' second effort earning his side a penalty that off-form Andrea Marcato pushed to the right.

However, it was the man returning to his former club; lock Marco Wentzel, who came closest to opening the scoring on twelve minutes with attempting tackler scrum-half Simon Picone subsequently leaving the game clutching his left shoulder in an early blow.

That loss was swiftly compounded soon after as a midfield hole on halfway allowed wing Johne Murphy to break towards the opposition 22 with pivot Toby Flood supporting to open matters.

Upon weathering that early Italian barrage, Leicester's power soon began to tell as the game moved into its second quarter. A series of dominant close-quarter attacks seemingly squeezed the life out of Franco Smith's plucky men as penalty offences began to grow.

Those infringements didn't go unnoticed by referee Romain Poite, who played fair advantage at scrum time as number eight Jordan Crane dotted down to extend the lead to twelve.

The French official's patience was beginning to wear thin though as offences continued to rack up with Treviso looking to slow down the breakdown in what looked like an increasingly desperate manner. But he kept his cards pocketed while Leicester edged ever closer to their ultimate objective pre-interval.

This time centre Aaron Mauger sendt a long ball out to partner Dan Hipkiss, who characteristically stood tall before handing on to Flood for the visitors' third in the corner.

The second period began in similar style to the first as the buzzing Williams attempted to cut the deficit further after Marcato's penalty shot. But despite identifying chinks in the English armoury, Treviso were temporarily forced to settle for another three points with the scores now 9-17.

Yet the hosts were spectacularly lifted with only ten minutes gone as captain Benjamin De Jager rounded off a superb breakout to score with the gap now just one - all smiles on Italian faces with half-an-hour still to go.

However, those grins were switched to the Tigers faithful four minutes later as Mauger's intelligent show and surge in midfield and a fired pass to bonus-try and brace-scorer Murphy regained the eight-point advantage.

And that proved to open the proverbial floodgates as Murphy's namesake Geordan added a fifth to become Leicester's record Heineken Cup finisher as Heyeneke Meyer rang the changes.

More power then brought a penalty try from close-range and a second Crane score as Treviso's temper subsequently told with De Jager landing a pointless head-butt on former team-mate Wentzel which saw him receive yellow.

But the game concluded with full-back Murphy capitalising on a defeated defence to feed his now hat-trick scoring namesake wing as Leicester celebrated a clinical performance to sit top of the pile.

The scorers:

For Treviso:

Tries: De Jager

Con: Marcato

Pen: Marcato 3

For Leicester:

Tries: Flood 2, Crane 2, J Murphy 3, G Murphy, Penalty

Con: Flood 3, Hougaard 3

Pen: Flood

Yellow card: Dion Kingi (Treviso) - hands in the ruck on 61 minutes, De Jager (Treviso) - head-butt on 72 minutes

Treviso: 15 Brendan Williams, 14 Andrew Vilk, 13 Benjamin De Jager, 12 Fraser Waters, 11 Marius Goosen, 10 Andrea Marcato, 9 Simon Picone, 8 Dion Kingi, 7 Hottie Louw, 6 Silvio Orlando, 5 Cornelius Van Zyl, 4 Antonio Pavanello, 3 Salvatore Costanzo, 2 Franco Sbaraglini, 1 Augusto Allori.

Replacements: 16 Diego Vidal, 17 Enrico Ceccato, 18 Roderick Labuschagne, 19 Enrico Pavanello, 20 Mark Gillbride, 21 Emiliano Mulieri, 22 Tobias Botes.

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Dan Hipkiss, 12 Aaron Mauger, 11 Matt Smith, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Harry Ellis, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Tom Croft, 6 Martin Corry (c), 5 Ben Kay, 4 Marco Wentzel, 3 Julian White, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Dan Cole, 18 Brett Deacon, 19 Richard Blaze, 20 Julien Dupuy, 21 Derick Hougaard, 22 Seru Rabeni.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

Touch judges: Bernard Dal Maso (France), JP Vermande (France)

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