Stransky roars again

Leicester 53 Bristol 19
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The Independent Online
SAY WHAT you will, Leicester are anything but a one-dimensional side. Their pack, bristling with power, provided possession by the armful, and their backs, in particular scrum-half Austin Healey and centre Will Greenwood, turned that into a half-ton of points against a brave but ultimately outclassed Bristol. Leicester dominated in most phases and Bristol were left to feed off scraps.

Still smarting from last week's slip-up at Northampton, which cost them the top spot, Leicester were in no mood for generosity. They wanted to make Joel Stransky's proper debut (he had come on on the wing last week) a winning one, and they succeeded, even letting the former Springbok outside- half get in on the try-scoring. For their part, Bristol have been anything but shipshape this season and are now wallowing in the drop zone.

Tigers' opening try, hot on the heels of John Liley's first penalty goal, gave notice of their intent. Healey broke round a scrum, Liley cut in on a superb angle, drew the cover then passed to Neil Back. If anyone doubted the England flanker's ability, his flash of brilliance should have dispelled those critics. He saw Greenwood out wide on the left and slung a one-handed pass to the centre, who crossed unopposed. It brought the 9,122 crowd to their feet and had Bristol wobbling on theirs.

Tigers' next try came a quarter of an hour later. Healey took a quick penalty and darted 30 yards before handing over to Rory Underwood for the finishing touch. Liley converted.

Leicester began the second half as they had finished the first, with Healey starting and completing a move that went the length of the field. The scrum-half had a helping hand from Back but, deservedly, Healey had the last touch.

He was not finished. The Mark II version - Healey used to play on the wing - then ensured that Greenwood's dazzling 49th-minute break was not wasted. He motored up in support, changed gear and set up Stransky in the corner for the South African's first try for Leicester. Liley converted both tries to finish the game with 23 points.

When he was not posing problems for Bristol in attack, Healey was able to get back and put in serious tackles when the visitors had the effrontery to try to take the game into the Tigers' den. Healey was unable to see it out, though, after suffering a shoulder injury midway through the second half.

The French flanker Said Filali was shoved over for a consolation Bristol try and Tainton's conversion of it took him to 2,048 points in his career - a club record. He would no doubt have preferred a club victory.

Leicester: J Liley; R Underwood, W Greenwood, S Potter, L Lloyd; J Stransky, A Healey (A Kardooni, 63); P Freshwater, R Cockerill, D Garforth (G Rowntree, 21-23), M Johnson, N Fletcher, J Wells, D Richards (capt), N Back (W Johnson, 54).

Bristol: D Bennett (S Martin, 40); D Tiueti, P Hull, M Denney (D Dewdney, 50), J Lewsey; M Tainton, R Jones; A Sharp, M Regan, D Hinkins, S Shaw, C Eagle, M Corry (capt), E Rollitt, S Filali.

Referee: J Pearson (Yarm, Cleveland).