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LV= Cup round-up: Leicester Tigers bite back after the break

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Leicester Tigers maintained their early momentum in the LV= Cup with victory over Sale Sharks and man-of-the-match Ed Milne admitted it was a near-perfect first start for the club.

The No.8 shone as Leicester flew back from a 13-3 deficit at the break, scoring 26 unanswered second-half points.

Miles Benjamin dotted down twice, while Matt Smith and Harry Thacker also crossed to earn Leicester maximum points, taking them to nine from their first two outings in the competition.

“It was absolutely fantastic to get my first start for Leicester Tigers,” beamed Milne. “The crowd were amazing and these are a great set of boys to play alongside.

“We had a stern half-time team talk from Richard Cockerill and Richard Blaze and they told us to pick up the tempo and focus on our attention to detail.

“We came out in the second half all guns blazing and we played some brilliant rugby.”

Gloucester Rugby put last weekend’s narrow defeat at Sandy Park to one side and edged their way past London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium.

With the scores level at half-time, Aled Thomas doubled his points tally for the afternoon with three second-half penalties as the Cherry & Whites shut out their hosts after the break.

But while it was fly-half Thomas who got all the points, coach Nick Walshe insisted 20-year-old hooker Luke Cole was his man of the match.

“I thought Luke Cole on debut was fantastic, but it was a real good team effort,” he said. “The boys only trained together on Thursday and Friday, but their attitude was outstanding.

“We attacked well first-half and caused them a few problems but we lacked a little bit of territory, then second-half we played more territory but we couldn't quite get over the line and kept losing the ball inside their 22.”

Fly-half Alex Lozowski led the way for Wasps as they bounced back from last weekend’s defeat to Sale Sharks with a convincing victory over London Irish.

Lozowski kicked 23 points, while tries from Simon McIntyre, Josh Bassett, Guy Thompson and Elliot Daly ensured they overturned a narrow half-time deficit to pick up maximum points and stay hot on the tail of Pool 3 leaders Leicester.

In Saturday’s only game, reigning champions Exeter Chiefs made it two wins from two in the competition with an 18-6 triumph over Bath Rugby.

Carl Rimmer and Moray Low each crossed the whitewash at Sandy Park while Bath, who put London Welsh to the sword last weekend, could only manage two Gavin Henson penalties.

Ben Spencer scored all of Saracens’ points – seven penalties in total – to ensure they returned from their trip to face the Ospreys with four points and skills coach Joe Shaw believes the 22-year-old is showing great signs of progression.

“I need to give a special mention to Ben Spencer as his kicking was red hot and I think the way he and Nils Mordt controlled the game in these conditions was superb,” said Shaw.

“He's serving his apprenticeship at the moment but he's knocking on the door all the time. This game was another step in the right direction for him.”

Elsewhere on Friday night Howard Packman and England duo Lee Dickson and Calum Clark each scored in Northampton Saints’ 24-7 win at the Scarlets.

A James Chisholm double led Harlequins to a 31-21 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons and Newcastle Falcons were beaten by a single point at home to Cardiff Blues.

SUNDAY
 
Leicester Tigers 29 Sale Sharks 13
 
Leicester Tigers
Tries: Thacker, Smith, Benjamin 2
Conversions: Burns 3
Penalties: Burns
 
Sale Sharks
Tries: Paterson
Conversion: Macleod
Penalties: Macleod 2
 
Referee: Darren Gamage
Attendance: 17,739
 
London Welsh 9 Gloucester Rugby 18
 
London Welsh
Penalties: Robinson 3
 
Gloucester
Penalties: A Thomas 6
 
Referee: Rhys Thomas
Attendance: 2,906
 
Wasps 43 London Irish 22
 
Wasps
Tries: McIntyre, Bassett, Thompson, Daly
Conversions: Lozowski 4
Penalties: Lozowski 5
 
London Irish
Tries: Halavatau
Conversions: Dorrian
Penalties: Dorrian 5
 
Referee: Craig Evans
 
SATURDAY
 
Exeter Chiefs 18 Bath Rugby 6
 
Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Rimmer, Low
Conversion: Steenson
Penalties: Steenson 2
 
Bath Rugby
Penalties: Henson 2
 
Referee: Craig Evans
Attendance: 11,785
 
FRIDAY
 
Newcastle Falcons 21 Cardiff Blues 22
 
Newcastle Falcons
Tries: Powell, Tipuna, Vickers
Conversions: Socino 3
 
Cardiff Blues
Tries: Davies, Jenkins, Watts-Jones
Conversions: Humberstone 2
Penalties: Humberstone
 
Referee: John Meridith
Attendance: 3,536
 
Harlequins 31 Newport Gwent Dragons 21
 
Harlequins
Tries: Lindsay-Hague, Chisholm 2
Conversions: Swiel 2
Penalties: Swiel 4
 
Dragons
Tries: Evans, Thomas
Conversions: D Jones
Penalties: D Jones 3
 
Referee: Greg MacDonald
Attendance: 7,623
 
Ospreys 9 Saracens 21
 
Ospreys
Penalties: Davies 3
 
Saracens
Penalties: Spencer 7
 
Referee: Matthew Carley
Attendance: 4,270
 
Scarlets 7 Northampton Saints 24
 
Scarlets
Tries: Evans
Conversions: Shingler
 
Northampton Saints
Tries: Packman, Dickson, Clark
Conversions: Hooley 3
Penalties: Hooley
 
Referee: Tom Foley
Attendance: 5,564
 
For your definitive guide to the LV= Cup click here

Be part of the rugby family at the LV= Cup Final at Franklin's Gardens, Northampton on Sunday 22 March. Visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk for tickets
 

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