Planet Rugby

Tigers smash toothless Sharks

27th December 2009 16:15

Share:

Tigers v Sharks stock

Jordan Crane breaks away for the bonus point try

Leicester Tigers scored a handy Christmas bonus point Guinness Premiership victory on Sunday with a 32-6 win over Sale Sharks.

Sale made 11 changes to the side that started last week's Heineken Cup game against Harlequins but they made the home side graft for their victory.

Leicester did not claim the bonus point until the final play of the game when number eight Jordan Crane drove over after a succession of scrums close to Sale's line.

That was the only score of the final quarter, even though Leicester scored their third try through Lewis Moody after 59 minutes.

Sale - who included rookie centre Jonny Kennedy, the son of club owner Brian - defended tenaciously but could not convert their own attacking opportunities into a try and had to rely on two Charlie Hodgson penalties for their points.

Leicester led from the eighth minute when England international Toby Flood kicked a penalty after Sale went in at the side of a ruck.

The opening score might have been expected to settle the hosts, instead Johne Murphy put his team-mates under pressure by making a terrible hash of tidying up a loose ball and carelessly conceded a five metres scrum.

Leicester repelled that raid but a weak clearance kick from Flood allowed Sale to attack again but Hodgson squandered a chance to level the scores when he pushed a kickable penalty attempt wide.

It proved a costly lapse as Murphy made up for his earlier error by getting on the end of a fluent handling move and going over for the first try which Flood, whose conversion struck an upright, narrowly failed to improve.

With flanker James Gaskell outstanding in the loose and lineout, Sale competed for longer than expected but it required some desperate defensive work to keep them in the game.

Another well-worked move appeared to have created an overlap for Craig Newby but Sale scrambled back and the former All Blacks flanker was penalised for not releasing.

Newby compounded his error when referee JP Doyle caught him handling in a ruck which allowed Hodgson to open Sale's account with a long range penalty which was swiftly cancelled out by Flood's second.

Sale silenced most of a 24,000 sell-out crowd when former England winger Ben Cohen touched down after clever interplay with Oriol Ripol but the try was disallowed after touch judge Don Helme spotted a knock-on earlier in the move.

Flood put a long distance penalty attempt wide with the final kick of the first half and driving rain during the break made conditions difficult for the second period.

But a greasy surface and slippery ball did not prevent lock Ben Kay rumbling over for Leicester's second try, which Flood converted.

However, Sale would not lie down. Hodgson found gaps in Leicester's defence with a clever run from his own 22 deep into Leicester territory and Fijian full-back Marika Vakacegu also ghosted through.

But the visitors failed to finish off those attacks and Leicester made them pay when England flanker Moody, their captain for the day, was driven over from a lineout and Flood again converted.

Sale looked like denying Leicester the bonus point but their scrum came under increasing pressure and when replacement prop Rob O'Donnell was sin-binned in the last minute they were ill-equipped to deny Crane.

The biggest cheers of the afternoon were reserved for Harry Ellis and Sam Vesty, two England backs returning from long-term injuries, when they came on as second half replacements for Leicester.

The scorers:

For Leicester:
Tries:Murphy, Kay, Moody, CraneCons: Flood 3
Pens: Flood 2

For Sale:
Pens: Hodgson 2

Leicester 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Dan Hipkiss, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Lewis Moody (c), 6 Craig Newby, 5 Ben Kay, 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Mefin Davies, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Robbie Harris, 19 Calum Green, 20 Ben Woods, 21 Harry Ellis, 22 Sam Vesty, 23 Alesana Tuilagi.

Sale: 15 Marika Vakacegu, 14 Oriol Ripol, 13 Jonny Kennedy, 12 David Bishop, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Kristian Ormsby, 7 Luke Abraham, 6 James Gaskell, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Chris Jones, 3 Martin Halsall, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Gavin Kerr.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Rob O'Donnell, 18 Jack Forster, 19 Dean Schofield, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Dave Docherty

Referee: JP Doyle

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
International Match
Saturday , November 1
Barbarians vs Australia14:30
USA vs New ZealandUSA vs New Zealand Preview
More International Match fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 1
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Bath vs London Welsh15:00
London Irish vs Leicester15:00
Northampton vs Newcastle16:00
Sunday , November 2
Saracens vs Harlequins13:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs EdinburghLeinster vs Edinburgh Preview
Glasgow vs Benetton TrevisoGlasgow vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Ospreys vs ConnachtOspreys vs Connacht Preview
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs Munster17:15
Scarlets vs Zebre18:00
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gons19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 1
Lyon vs Toulouse13:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
La Rochelle vs Montpellier18:30
Brive vs Castres18:30
Bayonne vs Clermont Auvergne20:45
Sunday , November 2
Toulon vs Grenoble13:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Castres 16 - 21 LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Report
Clermont Auvergne 35 - 3 Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Report
Benetton Treviso 10 - 26 Racing Metro 92
Wasps 16 - 23 HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Report
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615