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Page last updated at 18:58 GMT, Saturday, 7 May 2011 19:58 UK

Leicester 32-23 London Irish

Leicester (8) 32
Tries: Smith, Agulla, Allen, Croft, A. Tuilagi Cons: Flood 2 Pens: Flood London Irish (13) 23
Tries: Ojo 2 Cons: Homer 2 Pens: Homer 3

Alesana Tuilagi
Alesana Tuilagi completes the scoring in a superb Leicester fightback

Leicester secured top spot in the Premiership after a thrilling comeback against London Irish at Welford Road.

The win earns them a home semi-final play-off against local rivals Northampton next weekend.

They had gifted London Irish winger Topsy Ojo two intercept tries and missed countless chances of their own as the Exiles led at the interval.

But trailing 23-13 with just 10 minutes to go the Tigers scored three tries to record a stunning victory.

Ojo swooped on a dropped pass eight minutes after the interval and raced away to score under the posts.

Tom Homer's conversion made it 20-8 and when the full-back added a penalty after the Tigers were caught offside it looked all over.

But 10 minutes of sublime attacking rugby followed, completed by Alesana Tuilagi, the Premiership's top try scorer, who outstripped the cover defence on the left to score his 12th try of the campaign, with Toby Flood converting.

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill told BBC Radio Leicester:
"We made it really hard work for ourselves, but the boys dug themselves out of a hole and in the end it was a good win.

"The biggest concern is that we got ourselves into the hole in the first place. We're a better side than that.

"There are some positive things but we need to make sure we do things a bit better, because against Saints next week if you give them a 15-point lead you're unlikely to get it back.

"We're a dangerous side, we're good enough to beat any side when we get things right, but we just need to make sure that at the vital times we make the right decision and be a little bit more pragmatic, rather than trying to score from everywhere all of the time."

London Irish head coach Toby Booth told BBC Radio Leicester:
"I'm absolutely gutted and the players are too. We threw everything at it, we defended magnificently and put ourselves in a position to win it, but we couldn't close it out because ultimately we didn't have any energy left in the tank.

"They probably had a little bit more energy and quality - that made an impact as the game was turning and we didn't look after it well enough.

"The effort was absolutely tremendous. If we could maintain that effort for 40 weeks of the year we'd be in the top four every time. That's the challenge we face.

"Small squads, small resources make that ever so difficult and that's what we've got to overcome."

Leicester: Hamilton, Smith, M. Tuilagi, Allen, A. Tuilagi, Flood, Youngs, Ayerza, Chuter, Castrogiovanni, Slater, Skivington, Croft, Newby, Waldrom.

Replacements: Agulla for Smith (60), Grindal for Youngs (77), Hawkins for Chuter (60), Cole for Castrogiovanni (53), Mafi for Slater (53), Woods for Newby (71).

Not Used: Stankovich, Staunton.

London Irish: Homer, Ojo, Joseph, Mapusua, Thompstone, Bowden, Hodgson, Dermody, Paice, Rautenbach, Kennedy, Casey, Gibson,
S Armitage, Thorpe.

Replacements: Malone for Mapusua (77), Allinson for Hodgson (79), Lahiff for Dermody (60), Buckland for Paice (65), Corbisiero for Rautenbach (45), G Johnson for Casey (60), Hala'ufia for Thorpe (53).

Not Used: Seveali'i.

Att: 24,000

Ref: Greg Garner

Print Sponsor

Aviva Premiership Rugby Table
Saturday, 15 April 2017 16:57 UK
  Team P PD PTS
1 Wasps 19 175 74
2 Exeter 20 177 74
3 Saracens 19 234 68
4 Leicester 20 94 57
5 Bath 20 25 53
6 Harlequins 20 -11 47
7 Northampton 19 10 47
8 Gloucester 20 34 46
9 Newcastle 20 -165 40
10 Sale 20 -104 36
11 Worcester 20 -189 31
12 Bristol 19 -280 19

see also
Armitage banned for three weeks
03 May 11 |  London Irish
Newcastle 13-24 Leicester
22 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union
London Irish 20-26 Northampton
23 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union
Leicester 41-41 Gloucester
16 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union
Sale 20-34 London Irish
16 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union

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