Thomas Waldrom touched down twice as Leicester continued their free-scoring ways of last season with a bonus-point 38-13 win over Aviva Premiership new boys London Welsh on Sunday.
Both of the England No.8’s tries came in the opening quarter as the Tigers threatened to run riot at the Kassam Stadium but London Welsh proved they will be no pushovers this season with a spirited display.
Tom Arscott and Hudson Tonga’uiha got themselves on the scoresheet for the Exiles but scores soon after the interval from Geoff Parling and Julian Salvi effectively sealed Leicester’s win.
Coming into the clash Richard Cockerill’s troops, the top try scorers in the Aviva Premiership last year, had lost their opening fixtures in the last three consecutive seasons.
But they looked in control for the majority of this clash with Lyn Jones’ hastily assembled Welsh squad, Toby Flood slotting over a penalty in the ninth minute to open the scoring.
Five minutes later and the Tigers were purring as Tom Youngs and Anthony Allen combined in midfield to put Waldrom over in the corner, Flood adding a tricky conversion for 10-0.
The next ten minutes were all Leicester as they began to really flex their muscles, a driving maul from halfway took them into the Exiles’ 22 and a few passages of play later Waldrom was over in the corner again, this time from another driving maul from a close-range lineout.
But just when it looked like a rout might be on the cards the new boys shook off their nervous start and started to put the Tigers on the back foot.
And after their first concerted spell of pressure full back Arscott showed great awareness to dab down in the corner, despite the attentions of Salvi, for Welsh’s first-ever Premiership try in the 28th minute, Ross failing to add the conversion.
Welsh were well and truly in the game now but as the first half drew to a close it appeared that they would have to settle for a 17-5 deficit at the break.
But as time expired centre Tonga’uiha burst clear from the base of a ruck to dive over virtually untouched in the corner as the Kassam Stadium really started to rock.
Ross continued to misfire from the kicking tee as the conversion attempt drifted wide but the momentum appeared to be with the Premiership new boys.
After the interval it took less than a minute for the Tigers to re-assert themselves as Allen’s instantaneous offload set man-of-the-match Parling clear and he slid over, Flood again adding the extras to stretch the lead back out to 24-10.
A Ross penalty reduced Welsh’s arrears but when Salvi burrowed over close to the posts and Flood made no mistake with the conversion the score was 31-13.
Late on as Welsh tired Fijian winger Vereniki Goneva raced down the touch line for his first score in Leicester colours but despite heavy pressure Welsh refused to buckle to send their supporters home with something to cheer about.