The beautiful mind of Toby Flood picks off Exeter by numbers

Leicester 30 Exeter 8

It may be a mystery to the Exeter forwards who spent Saturday afternoon cracking their heads unsuccessfully against the mobile brick wall that was the Leicester pack, but in the open spaces there was some Nobel Laureate codebreaking going on.

Toby Flood's form had been mixed coming into this rampant 30-8 win on the back of Leicester's dire draw with Saracens and reverse against Harlequins. Asked whether he needed to play his way into the season, the England fly-half and favourite to wear the national No 10 jersey in the autumn internationals evoked the spirit of the mathematical genius John Forbes Nash. "In my position, the more you see and the more you become accustomed to how teams are dealing with you this year allows you to work out how best to approach things," said Flood. "You just become used to seeing those structures and defensive patterns again. It's almost A Beautiful Mind-esque. You see the numbers and the triggers and you then work out from them."

The mental problems suffered by Nash – played by Russell Crowe in the film referenced by Flood – were beyond those wrought at home to Harlequins, but you could see his point. An off-day in September may not be crucial; getting your eye in for the autumn Tests, which will determine England's seeding in December's World Cup draw, and for Leicester's important matches to come, certainly is.

"There was a real buzz around the team," Flood said after helping the wing Adam Thompstone run in a hat-trick on his first start for Leicester after joining from London Irish. One flick of the boot to pass the ball soccer-style to Matt Smith for the second try was footballing genius. "We talked about how we should approach the game. It's more of a mental thing than a physical thing and an attitude thing. It was just about us being spot-on."

There is not room here to go into all Leicester's injury problems. Suffice to say the rarely seen England centre Mathew Tait is slated for an A team appearance against Worcester tonight while other missing internationals Ben Youngs, Steve Mafi, Manu Tuilagi and Louis Deacon may return in the Premiership at Sale on Friday night. Daniel Bowden, the button-bright former London Irish inside centre who could become a key component of Leicester's back line, failed to finish his Tigers debut after damaging his ribs. Julian Salvi, perhaps Leicester's most in-form player with his battering work on the openside flank, went off after a bang on the head. George Chuter, Boris Stankovich and Scott Hamilton were only short-term absentees; Geordan Murphy may need another couple of weeks to fix his knee; Marcos Ayerza will return soon from Argentina duty. Tom Croft, the England flanker with a dodgy neck? Not so sure.

 

 

All in all, the feeling among the doyens of the Leicester committee who were still imbibing the nectar of victory in the Caterpillar Stand a couple of hours after the final whistle was that a team more representative of the Tigers' top-line strength would take the field for the red-letter Heineken Cup opener in Toulouse on Sunday week. Leicester Lite, as Saturday's team might have been called, still had enough nous and force in the tight phases to keep at bay an Exeter team usually proficient in the set-piece. Tom Johnson or Sireli Naqelevuki made their customary straight-line bursts for Exeter, but Leicester's scramble defence yielded only an added-time try to the flanker Ben White.

Leicester: Tries Thompstone 3; conversions Flood 3; penalties Flood 3.

Exeter: Try White; penalty Mieres.

Leicester: Morris; Thompstone, Smith, Bowden (Allen, 49), Goneva; Flood (Ford, 66), Harrison (Phibbs, 66); Mulipola (Balmain, 66), Youngs (Stevens, 71), Cole (Castrogiovanni, 59), Kitchener, Parling, Crane (capt, Slater, 61), Salvi (Deacon, 12-15, 38), Waldrom.

Exeter: Arscott; Whitten, Naqelevuki, Shoemark (Dollman, 65), Jess; Mieres (Steenson, 66), Thomas (Chudley, 50); Sturgess (Moon, 61), Whitehead (Alcott, 66), Rimmer (Brown, 77), Hayes (capt), Hanks (Muldowney, 56), Johnson (White, 61), Scaysbrook, Baxter.

Referee T Wigglesworth (Yorks).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions