Twenty-four hours after Leicester unveiled plans for a £25 million refurbishment of Welford Road, less than 50 per cent of the present capacity was taken up. But those there saw Martin Corry leading the Tigers from the front in a far from one-sided match.
Conditions were wickedly tricky and Worcester took some containing up front. Their pack, as the Tigers' coach, Pat Howard, said during the week, is one of the best in the Premiership.
Leicester at home, even if they do not have a full house to impress, are a daunting side. But Worcester got very close on occasion. Their right wing Uche Oduoza twice got on the end of great passes with the line at his mercy but twice he was thwarted, first by a defender, then by a greasy ball.
Leicester were forced to use everything in their armoury to sneak in two tries - the first by the hooker George Chuter from a close-range line-out, the second a chase from a kick ahead by their impressive fly-half Ian Humphreys - then to maintain their lead.
Humphreys, the brother of Ireland's David, was replaced by Andy Goode at half-time, but his first start for the Tigers had been excellent. He kicked two conversions and a couple of penalties as the half wore on and Worcester pressed hard and harder.
They kept forcing errors, which led to penalties, all three of which Shane Drahm turned into points. Something had to give, and the Tigers' defence was eventually stretched to breaking point and the admirable Kai Horstmann put Ben Hinshelwood over on the left. Drahm added the conversion.
Goode quickly made his presence felt after the break, his first shot at goal taking the fly-half up to 900 points for Leicester. It also opened up the floodgates, with the Tigers scoring two tries in a minute.
The first saw Austin Healey being driven over from close range; the second came when the flanker Will Skinner snaffled a loose ball and broke clear. Having drawn the cover he fed Leon Lloyd, who looked to have made it to the line but at the last minute sent Harry Ellis over instead.
There was a brief interruption when Worcester pinned the Tigers in their own half, although they were denied a score. Then the hosts broke out again. Lloyd and Geordan Murphy juggled and jinked before the speedy scoring machine Tom Varndell was sent haring down the left, four minutes after entering the fray.
Leicester: G Murphy; A Tuilagi (T Varndell, 69), D Hipkiss, S Vesty, L Lloyd; I Humphreys (A Goode, 40), A Healey (H Ellis, 64-75); G Rowntree, G Chuter (J Buckland, 63), J White, L Cullen, B Kay (L Deacon, 40), W Skinner (B Deacon, 56), S Jennings, M Corry (capt).
Worcester: J Hylton; M Tucker (J Lennard, 62), B Hinshelwood, T Lombard, U Oduoza; S Drahm, A Gomarsall (M Powell, 69); S Sparks, C Fortey, T Taumoepeau, T Collier, E O'Donoghue (R Blaze, 64), S Vaili (D Hickey, 69), J Tuamoheloa, K Horstmann.
Referee: A Rowden (Berkshire).Reuse content