Leicester Tiger Blaine Scully scores a first-half try against Newcastle Falcons
21 September 2013, 04:46 pm ::
By David Jordan
Leicester Tigers 31 Newcastle Falcons 6
Leicester extended their impressive home record to just one loss in their last 18 games as scores from Jordan Crane, Graham Kitchener, Blaine Scully, Dan Bowden and Thomas Waldrom downed Newcastle Falcons.
Leicester bounced back from their loss against Bath last week as former Falcon Toby Flood expertly pulled the strings behind the scrum as the visitors fell apart in the final hour of the game.
Three tries inside the first 40 minutes effectively killed the game before the break as Leicester started like an express train against Dean Richards' newly-promoted Newcastle.
It took just six minutes for the hugely physical Crane to bustle his way over the Newcastle try-line, with the returning Flood missing his kick at goal.
And it got worse six minutes later as second-row Kitchener, himself returning from injury, this time touched down for Leicester, with Flood able to chalk up the extras for the Tigers.
After an opening day loss against Bath, Newcastle claimed the unlikely away-day scalp of Sale last time out and as the half wore on the Falcons started to settle.
Rory Clegg scored a penalty on 26 minutes to make the score 12-3 and then added a drop goal five minutes later after a sustained period of Newcastle pressure.
The depths of the two squads seemed evident pre-game as Leicester Tigers gave England trio Flood, Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi their first games of the new season.
And the gap in class materialised before the break as after a period of Newcastle pressure, a fantastic flowing move involving Tuilagi saw Scully score Tigers' third try of the game - though again Flood missed the conversion as the home side went in 17-6 ahead at the break.
It took just 12 minutes of the second-half for Leicester Tigers to earn a precious bonus point - centre Dan Bowden finishing a flowing move that again involved the impressive Kitchener.
Worse for Newcastle was a yellow card for prop Kieran Brookes, referee David Rose spotting an infringement in the build-up to the Leicester score, with Flood kicking the extras.
Although the manner of their win was comprehensive - director of rugby Richard Cockerill will be disappointed Leicester failed to build on their early dominance and run Newcastle ragged in the final quarter.
The departure of Tigers' playmaker Flood after an hour for Owen Williams did little to ease disruption in the Leicester back-line as Newcastle grimly dug in but were forced to make an avalanche of tackles.
Williams turned down a shot at goal on 65 minutes and kicked for touch instead, giving Leicester a fantastic attacking platform and the home side took full advantage.
After a second lineout, bustling number eight Thomas Waldrom was able to burrow over after a period of sustained Leicester pressure, with Williams adding the extras to make the score 31-6 with ten minutes to play.
Richards will be pleased with the response from his Falcons' pack in the closing stages, a series of pick and drives in the Leicester 22 saw Newcastle get within a metre of the Tigers' line but unfortunately an error in midfield saw the visitors lose possession.
In the thick of the ensuing Leicester break, wing Adam Thompstone was harshly adjudged to have intentionally knocked the ball forward and was sin-binned, meaning the Tigers finished with 14 men.
Bowden escaped a late sin bin for deliberately knocking the ball behind following a Newcastle kick through but Leicester managed to hold firm in the closing stage despite continued pressure.