Croft injury is a blow for club and country

Leicester Tigers 47 Viadana 8

This was not the best of afternoons for Richard Cockerill, the Leicester head coach. Nor was it a good one for Martin Johnson, the England manager. Twenty-six minutes into this formality of a bonus-point victory in Leicester's penultimate Heineken Cup Pool Three fixture, Tom Croft was helped from the field by two medics.

"He's done the same knee that he did five weeks ago," Cockerill said. "Same injury. That took five weeks. This will be similar."

Which means that Cockerill and the Tigers can forget about their Lions blindside flanker for their potentially decisive match against the Ospreys in Swansea next Saturday – and Johnson and England can do likewise for the first half of the Six Nations' Championship at least.

The painfully ironic twist for poor Croft was that he was making his first start since recovering from the medial ligament damage to the left knee that he suffered against Leeds at Welford Road on 28 November. "It's just purely bad luck to injure the same knee in the same spot," Cockerill said. "It's a shame for Crofty. He'd certainly be in the 23 for England."

It was not all bad news for Johnson. The tighthead prop Julian White returned midway through the second half for the first time since suffering the torn hamstring that did for his autumn international prospects. And Toby Flood, two months into his comeback, was in the finest of fettle, showing precision of Wilkinsonesque vintage in kicking five first-half conversions, the majority from tight angles. The Leicester fly-half also scored one of the tries as Cockerill's side summarily dismissed their Italian visitors.

Viadana hardly had the most auspicious of starts, Pierre Hola, their Tongan fly-half, hoofing the ball directly into touch from the kick-off, and they managed to hold out for all of five-and-a-half minutes before the England centre Dan Hipkiss bolted through a barn-door-sized gap for the first of his two tries. To their credit, Viadana then managed to stem the tide until the 21st minute. But at that point the dam burst.

By the 34th minute the Tigers had three more tries and the bonus point in the bag, the flanker Ben Woods having applied a scoring touch to a tidy little grubber kick by his back row comrade Jordan Crane, Flood having sniped his way over and the full-back, Scott Hamilton, having hared half the length of the field to score in the right corner.

Flood further distinguished himself with a telescopic pass out of the tackle for Hamilton to score Leicester's fifth try just before the interval.

Flood's conversion made it 35-3, but it was to be his last scoring contribution of the match and Leicester's last for some time. The former Newcastle player made way for Aaron Mauger 12 minutes into the second half and it was not until the 56th minute that the scoreboard started ticking again.

It was Viadana who got it moving, their scrum-half Pablo Canavosio racing up the left touchline to score after Hamilton and the wing Lote Tuqiri collided while going for a high ball.

It took the Tigers until the 71st minute to get their first points of the second half, Sam Vesty, making his first start of the season, slipping an inside pass for Hipkiss to score and then kicking the conversion. There was also a try for Mauger, making it seven in all. Plus the major blow on the injury front, of course.

Leicester Tigers S Hamilton (J Murphy, 59); A Tuilagi, D Hipkiss, S Vesty, L Tuqiri; T Flood (A Mauger, 51), B Youngs (J Grindal, 57); M Ayerza (B Stankovich, 68), G Chuter, D Cole (J White, 57), L Deacon (capt), G Parling (L Moody, 59), T Croft (C Newby, 26), J Crane, B Woods.

Viadana G Law; M Pratichetti, S Cox, L Johansson, M Sepe (S Pace, 43); P Hola, P Canavosio (M Wilson, 63); P Sciamanna (M Cagna, 62), L Ferraro (capt; R Santamaria, 66), J Garcia (L Milani, 72), C Del Fava (G Krause, 54), S Hohneck, A Persico, J Erasmus, A Benatti.

Referee: J Jones (Wales).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride