Leicester Tigers, who welcome back their World Cup players next week, stayed in touch with the GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP pace-setters with a victory over Worcester.
The defending champions had a win over rock-bottom Worcester that means they have won four of their six games in the absence of England quintet Martin Corry, Ben Kay, Lewis Moody, George Chuter and Dan Hipkiss.
Richard Cockerill took charge of his last league game at Leicester before handing over to Marcelo Loffreda, who led Argentina to third place at the World Cup.
Worcester had won only one of the previous 10 meetings between the sides and were without a win this season going into the game.
The visitors made the worst possible start as Gavin Quinnell fumbled the kick-off.
Leicester piled on the pressure and Paul Burke slotted home a second-minute penalty.
Shane Drahm drew the sides level after 11 minutes before Leicester went ahead midway through the half when Ben Herring plunged over from close range after hanging on to Benjamin Kayser’s throw at the back of the line-out. Burke added the extras to make it 10-3.
Worcester were level after 28 minutes when Dale Rasmussen powered over from close range and Drahm converted.
Burke slotted home another penalty seven minutes later and Leicester went further clear moments after the restart.
Ollie Smith snatched the ball just as Ryan Powell was about to pick up and charged through from 50 metres to touch down. Burke’s conversion made it 20-10.
Drahm and Burke swapped penalties early in the second half and Leicester grabbed the crucial score after 58 minutes when Kayser powered over from close range.
Burke dragged the conversion wide and Worcester then hit back.
Thinus Delport’s charge led to Drew Hickey crossing in the 69th minute.
Loki Crichton converted to reduce the lead to eight points and Worcester could not get any closer.