Flood helps Tigers sink teeth into Exiles

Leicester 35 London Irish 19: England fly-half goes off injured against timid London Irish but keeps Leicester comfortable at the top of table

The loss of England fly-half Toby Flood to a bang on the head early in the second half did not impede Leicester's consolidation of top spot in the Premiership against a London Irish side whose hitherto confident expectations of a play-off place are beginning to unravel. While Flood was said to be fit for international duty against Scotland on Saturday – he had continued his run of very decent club form before his withdrawal – the four-try Tigers trampled all over the team they defeated by a point in last season's Premiership final.

Leicester were very quickly into their rhythm, making up in urgency what their close passing sometimes lacked. The French referee Christophe Berdos spotted a high tackle on Flood, and was dutifully hanging on for the advantage when Martin Castrogiovanni popped out a sharp pass on the short side, Anthony Allen skipped free down the left and Alesana Tuilagi outside him ran in Leicester's opening try near the posts.

Flood converted for 7-0 and added a penalty for Irish hands in the ruck in the ninth minute.

One of the visitors' formidable Islanders, the No 8 Chris Hala'ufia, was expected to provide the crucial "go-forward" but he found himself slammed back by quality Leicester tackling in his first two forays. There was the lavishly bearded Castrogiovanni, plus Lote Tuqiri – playing the last match of this four-month stint at Leicester – and sundry Samoans with their braids and beads; a hairdresser to the Premiership stars would make a fortune.

Irish lost wing John Rudd for blood treatment which ushered on Mike Catt for a few minutes during which the 38-year-old player coach had to mark a scrum opposite Tuilagi; fortunately, perhaps, for Catt's ageing bones, but to the detriment of his team, the Tigers went wide, earned another penalty at the ruck and Flood put them 13-3 up.

The home side's fans were probably still in shock at the news Lewis Moody will be leaving at season's end for Bath; as one door opens, though... and the young lock, Calum Green, set about making a name for himself against the highly rated Bob Casey and Nick Kennedy, by nicking a line-out which, combined with Tuqiri's leggy break, created Tigers' second try for Scott Hamilton; the New Zealander's sidestep foxed Steffon Armitage, Irish's openside.

Flood missed the conversion but Irish soon handed their hosts another seven points. Paul Hodgson, Ryan Lamb and Seilala Mapusua passed ponderously behind a line-out and Mapusua's delivery was picked off and run home from 25 metres by an exultant Castrogiovanni who had done little more than track the ball and keep his eyes open. The extras from Flood made the score 25-3.

Tom Homer missed two penalties for Irish, Flood did likewise, once from 40 metres, just before the Exiles at last made their muscle count. A penalty for a line-out prompted a series of drives featuring Casey, Hala'ufia and George Stowers, and Armitage – whose brother Delon was one of a handful of absent England players including Moody – dived over for a try converted by Homer a minute before half-time.

A defeat of Harlequins eight days ago had broken a winless run for Irish but their confidence looked low; their body language, in some cases, submissive. The small amount of impetus Irish gained from a penalty goal by Lamb was immediately dissipated when they lost Hala'ufia to the sin bin after 51 minutes for a challenge on Castrogiovanni.

Flood had trotted fairly steadily to the bench three minutes into the second half, leaving Jeremy Staunton to direct matters for the remainder. Staunton kicked a penalty after 61 minutes, Lamb replied in kind two minutes later then Tom Croft reappeared after seven weeks out with a knee injury, having missed England's three Six Nations matches when they sorely needed his all-court athleticism.

Croft replaced Green, who earned a Welford Road ovation; not so Lamb who, having assumed the goal-kicking from Homer, continued his successes with penalties in the 64th and 67th minutes. Leicester regrouped, forced into the Irish 22 and Allen pirouetted through some soft tackles to make the bonus-point try for George Chuter, converted by Geordan Murphy. With no cup interest to distract them, the champions are going to take some stopping.

Leicester G Murphy (capt); S Hamilton (M Smith, 75), L Tuqiri, A Allen, A Tuilagi; T Flood (J Staunton, 43), B Youngs (J Grindal, 75); M Ayerza (B Stankovich, 70), M Davies (G Chuter, 66), M Castrogiovanni (J White, 70), C Green (T Croft, 63), G Parling, C Newby, J Crane, B Woods (B Deacon, 10).

London Irish T Homer (J Lennard, 73); J Rudd (M Catt 12-19), E Seveali'i, S Mapusua, P Hewat; R Lamb, P Hodgson; D Murphy (M Lahiff, 73), J Buckland (D Coetzee, 61), F Rautenbach (P Ion, 61), N Kennedy (K Roche, 56), B Casey (capt), G Stowers, C Hala'ufia (J Gibson, 75), S Armitage.

Referee: C Berdos (France).

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?