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).

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
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

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn