Tuqiri runs hot as Tigers pack takes Wasps to the cleaners

Leicester 34 London Wasps 8: Leicester go top of Premiership with bonus-point victory in only match to survive freezing weather

The Leicester staff's week-long efforts to keep this game on were richly rewarded by a bonus-point victory in front of a capacity crowd, with Lote Tuqiri contributing his first tries since arriving in November. The former Wallaby has taken a while to settle but he knows an in-form pack when he sees one.

"Our scrum demolished theirs," he said. "It's probably the most dominant pack I've played behind."

Leaving aside what that says about Australian forwards of recent vintage, Leicester could not have been more chuffed with the win which put them top of the Guinness Premiership for the first time this season. The huge new single-tier stand here loomed over Wasps with the baleful look of the house in The Amityville Horror as the dusk fell over a freezing stadium – though not so cold, thankfully, that the fixture went the way of all others in England.

Most discomfited among the visitors were Tim Payne and company in the Wasps scrummage, who suffered a thorough going over, and Danny Cipriani, whose decision to tap and run a kickable penalty when his side were 8-3 ahead after 32 minutes was inexplicable. Cipriani had banged over a great penalty goal from halfway, to add to Mark van Gisbergen's second-minute try, so a 25-metre shot at the posts need not have been daunting. True, Paul Sackey had been waving madly on the far wing for a quick penalty to be taken, but he had given up on the idea and was walking backwards when Cipriani went for broke. The home defence had re-organised, to the extent that they forced a turnover and very nearly scored at the other end. "Ambitious," was the word used by Tony Hanks, Wasps' director of rugby. It sounded like a euphemism for something more bluntly critical to be said behind closed doors.

Payne was sent to the sin-bin four minutes later as Wasps' scrum caved in and in his absence Leicester scored 17 points, with the breakthrough made just before half-time by the wing Johne Murphy from a scrum when sharp passing by Ben Youngs, Jeremy Staunton, Tuqiri and Scott Hamilton – and a decoy run by Toby Flood – outdid the blitz defence. Flood's play in front of the England coaches John Wells, Graham Rowntree and Mike Ford cemented him as a leading candidate to play fly-half against Wales on 6 February. Jonny Wilkinson had recovered from a back complaint to score eight points for Toulon yesterday but Flood is easily the more exciting prospect.

With Wasps still down to 14 men, Leicester pummelled them at the start of the second half. A wave of attack featuring Flood's flat pass ended with Tuqiri darting between David Lemi and Simon Shaw to score, although the grounding looked dodgy. Flood converted and added a penalty for a soft offside after the restart to make it 20-8. Then Payne came close to a red card at another dropped scrum. A penalty try soon followed as Wasps back-pedalled and Flood converted. Poor Payne had the ball knocked from his grasp by his opposite number, Dan Cole, with a try beckoning and Tuqiri scored again in the 63rd minute after Youngs, who advanced his cause as England's No 3 No 9, skipped through heavy traffic.

The sight of Shaw limping off with a hyper-extension of his right knee, days before England's Six Nations squad announcement, summed up Wasps' day.

"I want to be top because I want to be the best team," said Leicester's head coach, Richard Cockerill, "but in the context of the season it means nothing yet."

Leicester Tigers S Hamilton; J Murphy (A Tuilagi, 54), D Hipkiss, J Staunton (S Vesty, 64), L Tuqiri; T Flood, B Youngs (J Grindal, 64); M Ayerza (B Stankovich, 64), M Davies (G Chuter, 59), D Cole (R Harris, 67), L Deacon (capt), G Parling, C Newby (T Croft, 58), J Crane (B Deacon, 64), L Moody.

London Wasps M van Gisbergen (D Walder, 71-73); P Sackey, B Jacobs, D Waldouck, D Lemi (T Varndell, 64); D Cipriani, M Robinson (J Honeyben, 67); T Payne (G Bocca, 72), R Webber (J Ward, 60), B Broster (S Taulafo, 48), S Shaw (M Veale, 54), G Skivington, J Hart (capt), D Ward-Smith, W Matthews (Taulafo, 37-47; D Leo, 53).

Referee: R Poite (France).

News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

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
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003