Planet Rugby

Leicester cruise past Treviso

17th January 2009 16:59

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Matt Smith v Treviso

Matt Smith scores Leicester's sixth

Leicester have one foot in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals after a crushing 52-0 win over Treviso, which means that only an extraordinary defeat to the Ospreys in Swansea next week could cost them their place.

It maintained Leicester's record of never having lost to an Italian side in 10 meetings in the competition and followed their 60-16 win in Treviso last October.

Tigers had the game safely wrapped up by half-time after they scored 40 points in a one-sided first period, with former All Blacks Scott Hamilton and Aaron Mauger leading the rout with two tries each.

Leicester lost some of their shape when they made a raft of second-half substitutions but Treviso were not good enough to capitalise.

The Italians travelled with a depleted side with former Wasps centre Fraser Waters among their absentees.

Treviso's ambitions did not extend much beyond damage limitation, but even that proved beyond them as Leicester ran riot.

The hosts' forwards soon established control against an under-powered Treviso pack, meaning England fly-half Toby Flood had a plentiful supply of possession to work with and Leicester's three-quarters ran the Italians ragged.

Hamilton scored two tries in the first 13 minutes and it was almost a hat-trick.

He powered through weak tackling for his first try after four minutes and then collected a scoring pass from Geordan Murphy for his second. Hamilton crossed the line again in between but was adjudged to have put a foot in touch before he grounded the ball.

Leicester's forwards enjoyed the opportunity to demonstrate their superiority in the scrum when they shunted Treviso backwards and a penalty try was awarded when the visitors prevented the ball from being released.

Leicester secured the bonus point after 26 minutes when captain Mauger rounded off a flowing move but there was not let up for Treviso.

Winger Matt Smith muscled over in the corner and Tigers maintained their first-half average of a point a minute when Mauger crossed for his second try and Flood added his fifth conversion from the touchline.

Although Treviso were second best in most facets of the game they won applause from a 16,746 crowd for twice turning down kickable penalties. On the second occasion they opted to take on Leicester's mighty scrum but centre Michael Horak knocked on when the ball was moved wide.

After that brief flurry of activity from Treviso, Leicester got back into their stride. Rookie scrum-half Ben Youngs, son of former England international Nick, carved open the defence with a superb break and Murphy capitalised on the overlap.

Flood added his sixth conversion and was then replaced by Derick Hougaard for the final 30 minutes - during which uncontested scrums were ordered after Treviso ran out of specialist front-row forwards..

Youngs almost scored himself from another searing break, but he lost possession when he was hauled down just short of the line by Mark Gilbride.

Replacement Johne Murphy bought up Leicester's half-century when he rounded off another flowing move.

That proved to be the final score, although man-of-the-match Youngs touched down in the dying minutes only for his try to be disallowed for crossing earlier in the move.

The scorers:

For Leicester:

Tries: Hamilton 2, Penalty try, Mauger 2, Smith, Murphy 2

Cons: Flood 6

Yellow card: Fillipucci (Treviso, 71)

Leicester Tigers: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Seru Rabeni, 12 Aaron Mauger (c), 11 Matt Smith, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Ben Woods, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Ben Kay, 4 Marco Wentzel, 3 Julian White, 2 George Chuter, 1 Martin Castrogiovanni.

Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Martin Corry, 19 Brett Deacon, 20 Julien Dupuy, 21 Derick Hougaard, 22 Johne Murphy.

Treviso: 15 Brendan Williams, 14 Andrew Vilk, 13 Michael Horak, 12 Marco Neethling, 11 Ezio Galon, 10 Marius Goosen, 9 Tobias Botes, 8 Dion Kingi, 7 Hottie Louw, 6 Mark Gilbride, 5 Cornelius Van Zyl, 4 Antonio Pavanello, 3 Pedro di Santo, 2 Diego Vidal, 1 Franco Sbaraglini.

Replacements: 16 Enrico Ceccato, 17 Andrea Ceccato, 18 Marco Filippucci, 19 Michael Barbieri, 20 Silvio Orlando, 21 Andrea Marcato, 22 Alberto Lucchese.

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)

Touch judges: Stéphane Pomarède (France), Gilbert Darrieutort (France)

Television match official: Brian Abrahams (England)

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