Leicester secured a home tie against Bristol in the Guinness Premiership play-offs with a victory over Wasps at Welford Road on Saturday.
The Tigers grabbed four tries and fly-half Andy Goode marked his 100th Leicester appearance in the Premiership for with a 18-point haul to follow his 27 points against Llanelli in last week’s Heineken Cup semi-final. Two tries in the last 10 minutes came too late for Wasps.
Leicester went into their fourth game in 14 days knowing one point would be enough to secure a play-off place and victory would clinch a home semi-final.
A Tigers win would also end Wasps’ chances of a top-four finish and deal a psychological blow in the countdown to the Heineken Cup final between the sides on May 20.
Wasps needed a win and other results to go their way to claim a play-off place and keep alive their hopes of a fourth championship in five years.
But the odds seemed stacked against them: Wasps had never won in 16 previous visits to Welford Road and had only won twice away from home this season.
Lawrence Dallaglio was rested, with James Haskell taking his place at number eight and Joe Worsley captaining the side.
Leicester head coach Pat Howard included 12 of the players that started last week’s Heineken Cup semi-final win over Llanelli Scarlets.
Marcus Ayerza was back in the front row after having his suspension for striking Remy Martin of Stade Francais reduced to 18 days on appeal.
Leicester went into 6-0 lead inside the opening seven minutes with a pair of penalties from Andy Goode.
Mark van Gisbergen halved the advantage after 12 minutes having missed another penalty less than 60 seconds earlier and Leicester suffered another blow after 15 minutes when Lewis Moody was sin-binned for putting his hands in at the ruck.
That allowed Van Gisbergen to tie the scores with his second penalty.
Wasps scrum-half Eoin Reddan was yellow carded after 19 minutes following an infringement at a scrum and Goode kicked Leicester back in front at 9-6.
The lead did not last long, however, as Josh Lewsey peeled off a ruck on the blind side and passed inside for Hazell to charge over.
Van Gisbergen’s conversion went wide, but his penalty after 27 minutes made it 14-9 to Wasps.
Goode replied with a penalty four minutes later to bring the gap back to two points.
And Leicester survived a scare when Van Gisbergen failed to hang on to Tom Voyce’s pass when he had the line at his mercy.
Wasps were punished just before the break when Alesana Tuilagi crossed in the corner.
Goode’s conversion put the home side 19-14 up at the break.
Leicester piled on the pressure on the resumption and Peter Bracken’s yellow card after 45 minutes allowed them to twist the knife with two converted tries that settled the destination of the points.
The Tigers forced a penalty try that Goode converted to stretch the lead to 12 points and he added the extras again after Dan Hipkiss scored a third try on 50 minutes.
Hipkiss gathered Ben Kay’s pass to dart over between the posts and Goode converted to make it 43-14.
Leicester broke through for a fourth try after 68 minutes with Lewis Moody dropping and Sam Vesty’s conversion made it 40-14.
Ayoola Erinle restored some pride for Wasps with a 71st-minute try against a side he will join at the end of this season, and Dave Walder converted.
Mark McMillan bagged his first try for Wasps after 74 minutes, but it was merely a consolation.