LONDON : Leicester went second in the Premiership despite being without several England internationals after a 54-21 victory over strugglers Sale at Welford Road on Monday.
The Tigers may have been missing England half-backs Ben Youngs and Toby Flood, as well as forwards Tom Croft and Jordan Crane, but it made little difference as they overwhelmed Sale with a burst of 21 points in the opening 13 minutes of the match.
Leicester ran in eight tries in all, Manu Tuilagi and Scott Hamilton scoring two apiece.
It was the start new Sale coach Pete Anglesea, the north-west club's former captain, would have dreaded in his first match in charge following the departure of Mike Brewer, sacked shortly before Christmas.
Defeat left Sale two places off the bottom of the table and the lone relegation spot currently occupied by Leeds who are 11 points adrift of Anglesea's side.
Not that the coach was taking much consolation in Sale's league position.
“My job starts here,” Anglesea said. “This was a benchmark for me to see the state of our position.
“We have got to get some confidence in our team. Welford Road is a very hard place to find confidence and it was very frustrating watching the boys out there.
“Obviously in the first 20 minutes they seemed to be affected by the off-field matters and heads went down.”
Leicester coach Richard Cockerill was not completely happy with the English champions' performance after the Tigers conceded three tries.
“We are delighted with the five-point win, the boys took their scoring opportunities, but conceding three tries was not great,” he said.
In the day's other Premiership match Harlequins defeated London Irish 28-18 as the Exiles suffered an eighth straight defeat in all competitions.
Quins fly-half Nick Evans kicked 23 points courtesy of seven penalties and a conversion while Exiles counterpart Chris Malone scored all his side's points.
But in the end it was George Lowe's try that proved decisive for Quins.
London Irish remained fourth in the table even though they last won a match on October 31, with Harlequins in seventh place.
Newcastle's match against Leeds was postponed because of a frozen pitch.
– AFP /ls
Channel News Asia