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Tigers and Sharks eek out a lowly draw Tigers and Sharks eek out a lowly draw

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Tigers and Sharks eek out a lowly draw

The home side took the lead with a penalty from new US Eagles fly-half Mike Hercus in the 11th minute, before Leicester's Andy Goode replied with one of his own half-way through the first half.

But the final hour remained scoreless as neither side were able to make the breakthrough in atrocious conditions.

No one said life after Dean Richards would be easy, but star-studded Leicester made hard work of getting their mitts on the sodden ball, and the onlooking England and Lions coach Clive Woodward would have learned very little.

The fact that three players found there way to the sin-bin for fighting – Dean Schofield, Matt Cairns and Martin Corry – reflects just how frustrating the players found the conditions.

Nevertheless, Sale will have extracted themselves from the quagmire with a few plus points – the draw ends their three-match losing run and the debut of Hercus went off without a hitch; the American looks like a safe alternative to the injured Charlie Hodgson.

Stand-in captain Jason Robinson also had a good game at fullback, making light of the treacherous conditions under foot, and the hugely impressive Chris Jones won an inordinate amount of line-out ball.

But the Sharks had trouble capitalising on their possession due to a gritty Tigers defence – with Neil Back relishing the amount of scrappy ball available for the taking.

But the Tigers' new assistant coach will not like to be reminded of his knock-on when he Freddie Tuilagi was outside him and well-placed for a decent run – not quite the way the England flanker intended to celebrate his 100th Premiership appearance.

After penalties had been exchanged, Hercus missed a chance to restore his side's lead when he was narrowly wide with a second, long-range penalty.

Leicester Springbok star Jaco Van der Westhuyzen also attempted an ambitious long-range place-kick early in the second half but it barely reached the home 10-metre line and he was wide with a second effort.

Hercus attempted to break the deadlock with a 40-metre drop goal late in the game, but a draw was probably a fair result.

The scorers:

For Sale Sharks:Pen: Hercus

For Leicester Tigers:Pen: Goode

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