Chuter leads rout for rampant Tigers

Leicester 75 Rotherham 13
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It might be queried of the Premiership grandees why they feel the need to have something "on'' as many end of season matches as possible, but the argument was reinforced by this rout of already relegated Rotherham. Leicester's greater desire to finish the season by qualifying for the Heineken Cup was translated into the club's record score and winning margin in a league match.

Leicester's reshuffle of their coaching cabinet will take effect in the summer, with the caretaker head coach John Wells given the job full time and two ex-Tigers, Pat Howard and Richard Cockerill, returning as backs and assistant forwards coach respectively. Both of the new-old men were still in France attending to business with their present employers and will have their first recce with the squad this coming Wednesday. They consequently missed Leicester in command after tries by hooker George Chuter and fly-half Andy Goode in the first five minutes. Any room for improvement was as cramped as the gaps in the visitors' defence were wide open.

European expansion is the order of the day in rugby too, and if Wasps win the Heineken Cup fifth place in the Premiership may be enough for qualification for next year. After a dreadful mid-season, Leicester might make it but they will probably need to settle for winning the wild card, which they happen to be holders of. This was their seventh unbeaten Premiership match in a row since the departure of Dean Richards at the beginning of February, and by scoring eight tries and 54 points before the interval they posted two more records for the division.

Rotherham signed eight players in pre-season, including four from Wales, and as results went from bad to worse they picked up six South Africans, a Samoan and an Argentinian. All right for a United Nations peace-keeping force, but a non-starter in the Premiership. After this 21st defeat out of 21 the joke remained: What's the difference between Rotherham and a triangle? Rotherham only have two points.

Their new coach, Ross Reynolds denied any knowledge of a potential take-over by a South African based consortium. Reynolds added: "The difference between Division One and the Premiership is 20-30 points. This was obviously a break from that.''

Chuter claimed his hat-trick try in first-half injury time, with Goode having dotted down twice and other tries going to Neil Back - defensive coach in the new regime - Jaco van der Westhuyzen and Geordan Murphy.

Leicester flung about long passes and Rotherham had two players sent to the sin bin, although Leicester's Austin Healey escaped a worse fate when he took retribution after an apparent trip on Murphy. The scores slowed as the Tigers re-jigged their backs. A rejig in the longer term may happen as Wales fly-half Stephen Jones decides today on moving from Llanelli.

But Murphy continued to cash in and, Leicester passed their previous best mark of 72 points, achieved against West Hartlepool in 1999, with 20 minutes left. Martin Corry, Daryl Gibson and John Holtby each crossed, with Goode's 10 conversions giving him 30 points in all and top spot in the Premiership scoring chart.

Jason Keyter's late try for Rotherham drew a round of sympathetic applause. Goodness, how magnanimous the Tigers supporters are when they're winning - again.

Leicester: A Goode; A Healey, L Lloyd (O Smith, 16), D Gibson, G Murphy; J van der Westhuyzen (F Tuilagi, 40), H Ellis (J Holtby, 40); D Morris (M Holford, 63), G Chuter (J Richards, 63), J White, M Johnson (capt; B Kay, 40), L Deacon, M Corry, W Johnson, N Back (A Balding, 67).

Rotherham: B Stortoni; J Keyter, J Pritchard, M Umaga, G Pieters; P Jones (J Benson, 63), G Easterby (capt; C Harrison, 49); J Rawson (S Bunting 52-69, 78), A Long (C Johnson, 76), C Noon, G Kenworthy, L Gross (B Volschenck 63), D Tiuiavi'i, B MacLeod-Henderson, N Spence (G Lewis, 43-48, 67).

Referee: S Davey (Sussex).

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