Leicester Tigers’ defence of their LV= Cup crown resumed in emphatic style as they recorded their eighth successive victory in all competitions with a 34-8 bonus-point victory over London Wasps at Welford Road.
The home side were in control throughout and ran in five tries, with Logovi’I Mulipola, Michael Noone, Mathew Tait and two from Vereniki Goneva scoring to record a comprehensive victory against their historical rivals.
Wasps responded with a consolation try from Hugo Southwell late on but spent much of the game on the back foot in the face of heavy pressure as their seven-match unbeaten run came to an end.
Leicester’s victory was tempered somewhat by injuries; with England’s Tom Croft limping off in the opening stages before young lock Tom Price’s debut ended with him being stretchered off just before the break following an awkward fall.
Dan Bowden had the first chance to get points on the board after seven minutes when Wasps were penalised for not releasing, but he knocked his penalty short and wide of the posts from just inside the half.
Leiecester suffered a blow on 15 minutes when Croft – making only his second appearance at Welford Road in ten months since his neck injury last April – picked up a knock and was replaced by Noone.
But they did not dwell on his departure and crossed the whitewash just seven minutes later, prop Mulipola crashing over in the corner after a good spell of Leicester pressure following a good catch-and-drive.
And Bowden made no mistake with the conversion from the touchline to put Tigers 7-0 ahead.
And the home side were spurred on by their try and continued to apply the pressure, turning down three shots at the posts to kick for touch as they took control of the match.
There was a sizeable delay on the half-hour mark after Tigers lock Price went down and needed treatment on the pitch before leaving the field on a stretcher.
When play resumed Bowden found target with the resulting penalty to increase Leicester’s lead to 10-0.
Wasps were giving away far too many penalties on the floor and were eventually punished as Namibian back row Tinus Du Plessis was sin-binned on 33 minutes.
And Leicester wasted no time making the extra man count, working well through the phases before Bowden released Noone to cross in the corner for his first-ever try in Tigers colours.
Once again it was a tricky conversion from the right touchline for Bowden and he just glanced it wide of the posts, meaning Tigers went in at the interval leading 15-0.
Wasps started strongly in the second half and enjoyed their first threatening foray into Leicester’s half, with Tommy Bell slotting a penalty seven minutes after the break to make it 15-3.
But Leicester were still the stronger of the two sides but once again Wasps’ resistance was stubborn, with a Matthew Tait chip ahead just too long for Goneva and smothered by the visiting side.
But Leicester did not relent and were rewarded just after the hour mark after Hamilton broke out wide and released Tait for a well-deserved try, making it 20-3 after Bowden missed the conversion.
And they secured the bonus point just moments later, with crash ball releasing Goneva through a gap to touch down after a spell of heavy pressure – with Bowden converting to make it 27-3.
Wasps came into the game in the closing stages and got themselves a try late on, with Southwell crossing the whitewash with five minutes to play after a superb pass from young fly-half Will Robinson.
But the Tigers responded in kind with a try of their own in the final minute, with Goneva doubling his tally after selling a dummy and breezing clear to score – and Matt Cornwell successfully added the extra points to round off a dominant afternoon at Welford Road.