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Leicester Tigers 20 London Irish 11

23 Nov 2013
Leicester Tigers 20 London Irish 11

Toby Flood passed 1000 Aviva Premiership points as Leicester Tigers avoided their worst league run for a decade by beating London Irish at Welford Road.

The hosts were awarded two penalty tries, in a clash largely dominated by poor scrummaging, while Fergus Mulchrone scored a late consolation try for Irish.

James O’Connor struck two first-half penalties but Flood’s ten points from the tee condemned the Exiles to their fifth consecutive defeat in all competitions.

Flood missed the opportunity to put Leicester ahead inside three minutes, sending a 40-metre penalty left of the posts, but the hosts continued their early dominance.

Tigers won a string of penalties inside the Irish half and after ten minutes one infringement too many at scrum time saw referee Martin Fox award a penalty try, which Flood converted.

Irish began to put some encouraging phases together, as Tomás O’Leary drove the visitors ever closer to the line, but they settled for a penalty and O’Connor kicked them onto the board after 22 minutes.

The Australian full-back was soon involved again, as the Exiles continued to probe forward, and a collapsed scrum handed him another kickable penalty on the half-hour mark, which he sent over the posts to double his tally.

However, the visitors undid a lot of their good work three minutes later by handing Flood a simple chance to restore a four-point lead from the tee.

The penalty see-saw continued but O’Connor missed his first of the afternoon three minutes before the break and, despite sustained Exiles pressure in the dying seconds, Tigers held on to take a 10-6 lead into half-time.

Jamie Gibson, who joined Leicester from London Irish this summer, began the second half as he ended the first by dominating the lineout but the visitors continued to frustrate the Tigers’ pack on the ground.

Flood brought up the milestone eight minutes after the break, striking his second penalty of the afternoon between the posts to give the hosts some breathing space.

O’Connor had a clearance kick charged down after 55 minutes and Niall Morris collected the ball to touch down but the decision was sent to the Television Match Official, who ruled that the winger had failed to touch down.

London Irish were reduced to 14 men when, after a string of collapsed scrums, former Wales prop John Yapp was sent to the sin bin on the hour mark.

And a second penalty try followed for the Tigers, after more than five minutes of unsuccessful scrums left Mr Fox no choice – Flood once again converted.

With O’Connor and Yarde, who picked up another injury, replaced in the second half the Irish back line lost some of its bite but a yellow card for Tigers lock Graham Kitchener five minutes from time offered some hope.

And they did produce a fine try late on, when Topsy Ojo avoided a series of Tigers tackles before offloading to Mulchrone to score in the corner, but Myles Dorrian’s conversion missed before Shane Geraghty’s last-gasp drop goal missed the target, meaning they left Welford Road without even a losing bonus point.

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