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Leicester Tigers 29 Sale Sharks 13 Leicester Tigers 29 Sale Sharks 13

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Leicester Tigers 29 Sale Sharks 13

Miles Benjamin claimed two tries as a resurgent second-half performance from Leicester Tigers secured back-to-back victories in the LV= Cup with a bonus-point triumph over Sale Sharks at Welford Road.

After trailing 13-3 at half time, the hosts scored 26 unanswered points with centre Matt Smith and young prospect Harry Thacker also touching down as Freddie Burns added three conversions.

An experienced Sale pack had used their set-piece dominance to establish their lead with lock Michael Paterson scoring and Nick Macleod landing two penalties as the hosts had Smith sent to the bin.

Yet the Sharks has no answer for Leicester’s second-half blitz with full-back Mike Haley also seeing yellow as Steve Diamond's side failed to build on last weekend’s dramatic win against Wasps.

Richard Cockerill’s men have endured a shaky start to their Aviva Premiership Rugby season but his young side showed a ruthless streak in dispatching Sale to follow up their 17-16 triumph over London Irish in round one.

At the first scrum, Sale’s pack produced an impressive drive to secure a penalty, with Macleod – making his first start of the season – producing a nerveless strike to hand his side the lead.

Yet the hosts responded immediately as the Sharks were penalised at the breakdown and Burns levelled the scores at 3-3 with a routine penalty attempt.

The visitors continued to exert their dominance at the scrum to set up an attacking platform and force Leicester to stray offside, with Macleod duly landing his second effort to restore his side’s lead.

With the hosts conceding penalties at regular intervals, referee Darren Gamage soon reached for his pocket, sending Smith to the bin for holding back a Sale attacker at the breakdown.

The visiting pack’s pressure finally told as an impressive catch and drive from a lineout allowed Paterson to remain in control and touch down, with Macleod adding the extras from out wide.

Sale then countered from deep with Phil Mackenzie diving over only for the TMO to judge that the winger had been ahead of the kicker as the Sharks chipped ahead.

On the stroke of half time, Sale were forced to scramble near their own try line but New Zealand flanker Dan Braid marshalled his defenders as the score remained 13-3 at the break.

A resurgent Leicester began the second half in imperious fashion, breaking into the Sale 22 before a neat step by Burns allowed him to offload for hooker Thacker to cross over.

Burns added the simple conversion to reduce the deficit to three points before his side threatened again only for winger Adam Thompstone to knock on with the try line beckoning.

A break from returning England prop Dan Coles then set up his side in attack, with a quick tap-and-go penalty allowing Smith to make amends for his yellow card and dot down – Burns adding the extras.

The fly-half then had the chance to increase Leicester’s advantage but his penalty attempt from 45 metres sailed narrowly wide.

After a lengthy consultation with the TMO, Haley was judged to have taken out opposite number Tommy Bell in the air and was sent to the bin just after the hour.

Cockerill’s side did not take long to exploit their advantage, securing quick ball from a line out to set up Benjamin, who broke several tackles to crash over in the corner.

Burns pushed his conversion across the posts to limit Leicester’s lead to 22-13 but the fly-half was starting to pull the strings, teasing Sale’s defence with an array of kicks.

Benjamin grabbed his second in the 67th minute as Smith drew his man to feed the winger, who ran in unopposed to the corner with Burns adding the two points before the Tigers controlled the latter stages.

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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