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Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Sunday, 27 December 2009

Leicester 32-6 Sale

Leicester (11) 32
Tries: Murphy, Kay, Moody, Crane Pens: Flood 2 Cons: Flood 3
Sale (3) 6
Pens: Hodgson 2

Johne Murphy
Murphy dives in to score Leicester's first try

Leicester ran in four tries to beat a depleted Sale and extend their unbeaten home run at Welford Road to 24 games.

The Tigers dominated in difficult conditions but only secured a narrow half-time lead when Johne Murphy surged over after good work from Jordan Crane.

Crane set up Ben Kay to score a second try after the break.

Lewis Moody went over from a driving maul and deep into stoppage time Crane secured the bonus point with the fourth try following a series of scrums.

Sale made 11 changes to the side that started last week's Heineken Cup win over Harlequins but made the Tigers graft for victory.

The visitors, who included rookie centre Jonny Kennedy, the son of club owner Brian, defended tenaciously but could not convert their own attacking opportunities and had to rely on two Charlie Hodgson penalties for their points.

Leicester, with head coach Richard Cockerill back on the sidelines for the first time following the end of a month-long ban, led from the eighth minute when Toby Flood kicked a penalty after Sale went in at the side of a ruck.

Murphy's try and another Flood penalty gave the Tigers an 11-3 half-time lead, but it could have been much closer had Ben Cohen not seen a try disallowed for a knock-on earlier in the move.

Leicester pulled away in the second half but only secured their bonus point when replacement prop Rob O'Donnell was sin-binned in the last minute and Crane powered over.

The biggest cheers from the 24,000 sell-out crowd were reserved for Harry Ellis and Sam Vesty, two England backs returning from long-term injuries, when they came on as second-half replacements for Leicester.

Leicester head coach Richard Cockerill:

"I thought we played all the rugby.

"We defended well, we would have liked to have been a bit better at times and played in the right areas especially when we came out in the second half in the wind and the rain.

"But I felt we created enough opportunities to score four tries. The fourth try was a long time coming at the end in the circumstances so there were a lot of positives from the game."

Sale director of rugby Kingsley Jones:

"If we had come away with a point I would have been very happy. But I'm very disappointed at the moment.

"We gave away a try from a lost line-out, another soft try from a drive and then the try at the end was a bit unnecessary to be honest.

"But Leicester are a very good side, they ground it out, did nothing flash and they do what they do well.

"The positives for us is that we played some good rugby, we were good in the tackle area and turned Leicester over a lot, but the simple fact is that our line-out let us down and we have got to get it right."

Leicester: Hamilton, J. Murphy, Hipkiss, Allen, Tuqiri, Flood, B Youngs; Ayerza, Davies, Cole, Parling, Kay, Newby, Moody, Crane.

Replacements: Tuilagi for J Murphy (64), Vesty for Hipkiss (63), Ellis for B Youngs (60), Stankovich for Ayerza (47), Chuter for Davies (64), Woods for Moody (64).

Sin-bin: Woods (66).

Sale: Vakacegu, Ripol, Kennedy, Bishop, Cohen, Hodgson, Wigglesworth; Kerr, M Jones, Halsall, C Jones, Cox, Gaskell, Abraham, Ormsby.

Replacements: Doherty for Kennedy (71), MacLeod for Bishop (37), O'Donnell for Kerr (49), Schwalger for M Jones (49), Forster for Halsall (65), Schofield for C Jones (49).

Sin-bin: O'Donnell (80).

Att: 24,000.

Ref: John Paul Doyle (RFU).

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see also
Guscott's predictions
27 Dec 09 |  English
Cockerill banned for four weeks
25 Nov 09 |  Leicester
Wasps 24-22 Leicester
06 Dec 09 |  English
Saracens 15-13 Sale
05 Dec 09 |  English
Rugby union commentaries
09 Sep 10 |  Rugby Union

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