Leicester Tigers 42 Sale Sharks 22 match report: Former England fly-half Toby Flood comes off the bench to score double and secure Tigers' play-off berth
Flood will leave the Tigers at the end of the season, but replaced an injured Anthony Allen to guide Leicester to a comfortable win over Sale
Saturday 03 May 2014
Two tries from substitute Toby Flood helped Leicester secure their place in the top four of the Aviva Premiership with a 42-22 victory at Sale.
The result ended the Sharks playoff hopes, with successive second half scores from Michael Paterson, Henry Thomas and Johnny Leota proving to be mere consolation.
Sale started brightly but they failed to make that early pressure count, and the Tigers quickly started to become the more dominant outfit.
After Owen Williams missed a penalty from halfway, the visitors' pressure eventually told after 15 minutes.
A powerful drive from Logovi'i Mulipoli laid the platform for Williams to chip over the top and into the in-goal area.
England centre Manu Tuilagi looked favourite to score, but Vereniki Goneva eventually pounced onto the ball just before it rolled into touch. Williams converted to put them 7-0 up.
The home side hit-back immediately after Danny Cipriani slotted over a penalty from range. Williams quickly had the chance to restore the Tigers seven point advantage, but failed to convert his own effort for three points.
The Tigers thought they had crossed again when Anthony Allen touched down following Niall Morris' grubber, but the video referee chalked the score off for an earlier forward pass.
Leicester's pack had the upper hand, winning a penalty at a scrum, but Williams failed once again to convert the penalty attempt into points.
The visitors did manage to get the second try that their first half dominance deserved, though.
Two minutes before the break, Ben Youngs and Jordan Crane created an overlap out wide for Flood to score in the corner. Williams converted from the touchline to give the visitors a 14-3 lead at half time.
There was no sign of Leicester easing off after the interval, with Morris going over for their third score after being fed in by Williams' offload, with the fly-half then converting to make it 21-3.
Flood then got his second after being set up by Youngs, with Williams converting.
The England international could have even had a hat-trick, but was held up over the line. That did not deter the Tigers attack, though, they went over for a penalty try shortly after, with Williams converting.
The Sharks then staged a fight back, with three tries on the bounce. The first came from Paterson in the left corner after a looping pass from Sam Tuitupou, with Joe Ford adding the extras.
Henry Thomas then crossed on the back of a lineout, before Leota touched down a breakaway score shorty after. Ford added the extras for the latter.
The Tigers ensured they had the last laugh though, taking advantage of Sale being down to 14-men after Tom Arscott was sin-binned, by scoring a try from David Mele in the final play of the game, which Williams converted.
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