Leicester Tigers 32 London Irish 20 match report: Tigers look ahead to Quins

Leicester face a semi-final against the team who have won their last two visits to Welford Road

welford road

The form line pointing towards a ninth successive Premiership final appearance for Leicester Tigers later this month has just one obvious blip in it: their semi-final opponents at Welford Road next Saturday afternoon, Harlequins, have been winners here in the league both last season and this, not to mention the Twickenham trophy decider also won by Quins in between. "If we'd been drawn against Northampton we might have been complacent, given our good record against them," Richard Cockerill, the Leicester director of rugby, said. "It's Quins and we'll have to be dead, dead right."

By scoring five tries to three against London Irish, and keeping all six of their British & Irish Lions named last Tuesday fit and well, Leicester finished the regular season in better fettle than when they lost 22-9 to Harlequins here last September. "We were missing a lot of players then," Cockerill recalled. "These are one-off games now, it's showtime. Being at home is massive. Historically, if you're at home you tend to win."

London Irish kept going, but finished ninth in the table, two down from a year ago and face a familiar bout of rebuilding. "Leicester have an embarrassment of riches and a squad 50-deep," said Brian Smith, Cockerill's counterpart. "We made them work but they'll be happy."

The six Leicester Lions – Dan Cole, Tom Youngs, Geoff Parling, Tom Croft, Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi – all played and match the club's number named in the series-winning squad in 1997. Leicester had eight Lions in 2005, but that was in an original squad of 44 compared with this year's 37. It is a notable contrast to Bath, Harlequins and Wasps, for instance, each of whom are without a Lion in the initial selection this year for the first time since 1983.

More prosaically neither Cockerill nor Smith was impressed with the 24-year-old referee Luke Pearce's performance; there was also an incident of Irish's scrum-half Darren Allinson appearing to kick Geordan Murphy in the back of the head when the Leicester captain was on the ground that all the officials either missed or left for the citing system.

Jamie Gibson, the flanker soon to join Leicester, snuffed out a few Ben Youngs box kicks – one would have brought an Irish try if Gibson had passed to Bryn Evans. After a penalty apiece by Ian Humphreys and Toby Flood, Leicester's Tom Croft and Ben Youngs scored tries.

The bonus point duly followed in the third quarter with tries by Mat Tait and Niki Goneva either side of a driving forwards' effort for Irish's England prop Alex Corbisiero in his last game before joining Northampton. The score for Tait, who was on at centre for Anthony Allen (withdrawn after a bang), highlighted how Tuilagi lights up with the ball-playing Murphy and Tait around him. A lesson for the Lions there? Goneva was on the end of a batted-on pass by Flood, who then jinked off a scrum for Leicester's fifth try and a 32-10 lead on 66 minutes.

With both benches emptying, and Tigers sated, Irish had a couple of skilful tries of their own. Shane Geraghty's well placed kick was seized on by Topsy Ojo in the corner and Marland Yarde, the highly thought-of 21-year-old, stood Tait up and went over so well the home crowd applauded. Their mood was good and the message clear: bring on the champions.

 



Leicester G Murphy (capt); N Morris, M Tuilagi, A Allen (M Tait, 40), V Goneva; T Flood (G Ford, 68), B Youngs (S Harrison, 62); L Mulipola (F Balmain, 66), T Youngs (R Hawkins, 66), M Castrogiovanni (D Cole, 55), G Kitchener, G Parling, T Croft (S Mafi, 60), J Crane, J Salvi (T Waldrom 68).

London Irish T Homer; T Ojo, J Joseph, G Armitage, M Yarde; I Humphreys (S Geraghty, 68), D Allinson (J Moates, 66); A Corbisiero (J Yanuyanutawa, 68), S Lawson (D Paice, 49), H Aulika (L Halavatu, 62), G Skivington (capt), B Evans (K Low 68), M Garvey (D Danaher, 62), O Treviranus (J Sinclair, 68), J Gibson.

Referee L Pearce (Devon).

Leicester Tigers

Tries: Croft, Youngs, Tait, Goneva, Flood

Cons: Flood 2

Pen: Flood

London Irish

Tries: Corbisiero, Ojo, Yarde

Con: Humphreys

Pen: Humphreys

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week