Corry carries on regardless as Tigers expose Saints' flaws

Leicester 32 Northampton 0
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The Independent Online

Leicester could have played ball had Corry showered and changed at the conclusion of a one-sided first half, but that is not the way they do things at Welford Road. Whether the RFU take a dim view of Corry taking nine-and-a-half weeks' rest, not 11, since he appeared for the Lions in New Zealand, will be known tomorrow.

Tigers' Australian head coach, Pat Howard, scoffed at the suggestion that Corry's substitution so early in the second half - when a 40-minute run-out would have fallen within the prescribed programme - was a snook cocked at the Union, insisting that it was a precautionary reaction to "a small bang" on the shoulder. "Rubbing salt into the wound hadn't even occurred to me," said Howard.

For their part Northampton had Carlos Spencer among five New Zealanders in their ranks but enjoyed none of the mastery shown by his compatriots against the Lions. The artful Spencer opened his Premiership career with a couple of hoofed garryowens but Leicester's pack were in command soon after Corry clip-clopped down the Crumbie Terrace as club captain in succession to that other chap called Martin.

If Andy Goode had shown any of the kicking form which made him the Premiership's top scorer last season, this would have been a major rout. Instead, with Goode missing four penalties in the opening quarter, Leicester took a familiar route to their first try after 13 minutes. Leo Cullen, one of three debutants in the pack, caught a line-out in the middle and the other lock, James Hamilton, claimed the score after a drive.

When Cullen was tipped out of a 27th minute line-out by Tom Smith it cost the latter a trip to the sin bin, and Northampton two tries in the prop's 10-minute absence. Leicester went long to Corry after 32 minutes and another fine drive ended with a comfortable finish by the prop Mike Holford.

Five minutes later the first Northampton threequarter move of any note ended in disaster. Ben Cohen got caught out of position on the right when No 8 Daniel Browne's long pass went to ground. Alesana Tuilagi - the middle of the five Samoan brothers to have turned out for Tigers in recent years - had a clear 70-metre run-in.

The bonus-point try was not long in arriving after the resumption. Tuilagi burst free on halfway and sent Dan Hipkiss in with Bruce Reihana and John Rudd unable to make any ground. Goode's conversion was the fly-half's second success in nine kicks, including an attempted drop.

All Leicester's celebrated summer retirees were in attendance - Neil Back in his new role as Tigers' defensive supremo, John Wells as a coaching observer from the RFU Academy and Martin Johnson as simple spectator. None had any cause to fret that their legacy is in unsafe hands. Goode kicked a penalty for 27-0, then two of the new generation, Hamilton and the flying wing Tom Varndell, combined for the fifth try in added time; Hamilton with a popular take of a Northampton drop-out and Varndell with a lovely chip and chase to the left corner. This was a derby won by a distance.

Leicester Tigers: S Vesty; A Tuilagi, D Hipkiss (L Lloyd, 48-58), D Gibson (Lloyd, 58), T Varndell; A Goode (R Broadfoot, 67), H Ellis (A Healey, 67); M Holford (J White, 59), G Chuter (E Taukafa, 70), A Moreno (Holford, 78), J Hamilton, L Cullen (B Kay, 54), W Johnson, M Corry (capt; L Abraham, 48), S Jennings.

Northampton Saints: B Reihana (capt); J Rudd (S Lamont, 71), J Clarke, S Mallon, B Cohen; C Spencer, M Robinson; T Smith (C Budgen, 59), D Hartley (D Richmond, 78), B Sturgess, M Lord, Damien Browne, A Rae (Budgen, 28-38; S Boome, 40), Daniel Browne, D Fox (B Lewitt, 61).

Referee: R Maybank (Kent).