Planet Rugby

Tigers open 2012 with a win

01st January 2012 17:56

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geordan murphy

Geordan Murphy crashes over for Tigers' opening score

Leicester Tigers moved into the Aviva Premiership play-off places with a 28-23 triumph over a stern Sale Sharks side.

Leicester quickly established a 17-0 advantage through a penalty try and a Geordan Murphy touchdown. But Sale showed excellent spirit and hit back with a fine score from Fraser McKenzie.

However, a clinical try from Alesana Tuilagi eventually settled the contest, despite Rob Miller's touchdown bringing the visitors into the contest.

In the end, a late drop-goal from the Sharks' Nick Macleod gave them a deserved bonus-point. Sale's ambition was admirable but early on they were undone by the more clinical and ferociously powerful Tigers outfit.

And it was initially from a turnover in midfield that gave Leicester the platform to open the scoring, when, after numerous scrum collapses referee Andrew Small awarded a penalty try.

The visitors continued to play but they kept on coughing up possession which was then wonderfully manipulated by Toby Flood.

After a Sharks' line-out was stolen, the Tigers fly-half eventually picked up the ball, drew two defenders, sent Billy Twelvetrees away before he off-loaded to Murphy for a superb score.

Flood added a penalty as the hosts led 17-0 but Sale hit back.

Good work from substitute flanker Onosa'i Auva'a, who came on for the influential Dave Seymour, and Kearnan Myall sent McKenzie over. Macleod then narrowed the gap from the kicking tee before he converted another just after the break.

However, Flood restored their seven-point advantage before a wonderfully executed score from Leicester seemed to secure the victory.

But Sale refused to lie down and scored a superb try themselves when Andy Powell off-loaded to Tom Brady who sent Miller away.

Flood's penalty effectively settled the game but Macleod kicked a last minute 35-metre drop-goal to gain a point.

The scorers:

For Leicester:
Tries: Murphy, Tuilagi, Penalty
Cons: Flood 2
Pens: Flood 3

For Sale:
Tries: McKenzie, Miller
Cons: Macleod 2
Pens: Macleod 2
Drop: Macleod

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy (capt), 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Martin Castrogiovanni.
Replacements:16 George Chuter, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Logoviii Mulipola, 19 Ben Woods, 20 Tom Croft, 21 Micky Young, 22 Jeremy Staunton, 23 Scott Hamilton.

Sale: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou (capt), 11 Joaquin Tuculet, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Andy Powell, 7 David Seymour, 6 James Gaskell, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Vadim Cobilas, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Cillian Willis, 22 Andrew Higgins, 23 Will Addison.

Referee: Andrew Small

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