A memorable game for Ian Humphreys as he marked his first start for Leicester at Welford Road by notching 16 points in a flawless kicking display.
Tom Varndell’s try double also helped Leicester secure victory over London Irish in the GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP.
Tigers head coach Pat Howard was without 15 players through international call-ups and injuries and gambled on the inexperienced half-back partnership of Humphreys and Johnny Murphy.
Humphreys was handed only his third start for the club at number 10 and his first at home and Murphy got the nod over both Harry Ellis and Scot Bemand at scrum-half.
Irish had suffered heavy defeats on their previous two visits to the east midlands and were behind after two minutes following a breath-taking try on the counter-attack that started just a few metres short of Leicester’s line following a Tigers lineout.
The backs moved the ball to Daryl Gibson and he set off on a blistering break that took him to the halfway line before he passed to Dan Hipkiss.
He burst through the covering defence and off-loaded to Varndell on his outside and he touched down.
Humphreys added the extras and a fifth-minute penalty to make it 10-0.
Shane Geraghty’s penalty two minutes later on his first start for Irish chalked up the first points for the visitors.
The Tigers launched a series of counter-attacks and would have scored another try had Gibson been able to gather a pass from Hipkiss inside the Irish 22 with the line at his mercy.
Geraghty kicked two more penalties in the space of eight minutes to trim the gap to a point at 10-9 and that was the way it stayed until the break.
Leicester went four points clear three minutes after the restart through a Humphreys penalty and he set up his team’s second try less than a minute later.
The fly-half launched an up-and-under that Irish full-back Michael Horak thought was going to run out of play, but Varndell got to the ball to touch down.
Humphreys’ conversion opened up an 11-point lead at 20-9 and Irish reduced the gap to single figures with a 46th-minute penalty from Geraghty.
Humphreys ensured Leicester went into the final quarter with a 23-12 lead with another penalty. Geraghty added two more penalties for the visitors to cut the Tigers’ advantage to five points to give the Exiles hope of a consolation bonus point, but a 79th-minute penalty conversion from Humphreys sealed the win and ensured the Londoners left with nothing.