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Tigers turn on style to tear up Falcons

25 Feb 2012
Tigers turn on style to tear up Falcons

Two tries from Thomas Waldrom helped Leicester Tigers leapfrog Northampton into third place in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table after a comfortable home win over struggling Newcastle.

With Leicester wrapping up the four-try bonus point just two minutes into the second half, the result leaves Newcastle still six points adrift of London Wasps at the other end of the table.

Leicester withstood a barrage of early pressure to take the lead against a Newcastle side playing primarily for field position. Teenage fly-half George Ford – the 19-year-old son of Newcastle defence coach Mike Ford – stepped up to slot a penalty from out on the right after a dominant midfield scrum.

Momentum swung further Leicester's way when visiting centre James Fitzpatrick was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle, and within a minute his side were down by double figures. From a line-out on the left Tigers worked play to the opposite flank, Horacio Agulla breaking free to set up the close-range ruck from which flanker Julian Salvi sniped in for a try.

Ford added the extras, and opposite number Jimmy Gopperth was similarly accurate with a penalty from straight in front to get his side off and running.

The extra man in the backs saw Leicester in for a second try on 22 minutes, this time from centre Billy Twelvetrees as the England Saxons cap rounded off a three-on-two in the right corner.

Another scrummage infringement allowed Ford to slot a second penalty, and more sloppy set-piece work from Newcastle saw a third try for their hosts as an overthrown line-out eventually saw Agulla cross down the left for a 23-3 interval lead.

It took just two minutes of the second half for them to add to that tally and secure the four-try bonus point, turning down a kickable penalty and setting up the catch-and-drive from which Thomas Waldrom rumbled over.

The Falcons finally found their way to the try-line with half an hour remaining through former Tigers academy prop Jonny Golding, who squirmed his way over down the left from close range after a burst from Fitzpatrick. But with Taiasina Tu'ifua sent to the sin bin for pulling a player back off the ball, the visitors' already slim hopes of a comeback were reduced to dust as Leicester cranked up the power for the closing quarter.

From the very next scrum Waldrom dotted down for a pushover try – his second score of the afternoon – with Newcastle emptying their bench in readiness for Friday's home date with Harlequins. With their seven-man pack being shunted from pillar to post a sixth Tigers try seemed an inevitability, and it duly arrived as Leicester sucked numbers to the left.

Ford stepped back into the pocket and floated a perfectly-weighted cross-field kick into the right corner for replacement wing Niall Morris – the Irishman catching the ball in acres of space to score.

Replacement flanker Richard Mayhew ploughed over for a late consolation from a ruck to the left of the posts, Gopperth converting, but it made little difference to the eventual outcome.

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