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Saturday, 5 January, 2002, 18:02 GMT
Leicester struggle past Calvisano
Leicester winger Ollie Smith scores against Calvariso
Ollie Smith goes over for the Tigers
Leicester 29-7 Calvisano

A below par performance from Leicester proved just enough to see the Heineken Cup holders qualify for the last eight of the competition.

With the suspended Austin Healey missing, Tigers boss Dean Richards was forced to bring on the big guns in the second half as Calvisano rallied.

Leicester were 17-0 ahead after just 19 minutes but then ran out of steam in the muddy conditions at Welford Road.

  Scores and scorers
Leicester 29
Tries: Geordan Murphy (2), Steve Booth, Ollie Smith & Martin Corry
Cons: Andy Goode & Murphy

Calvisano 7
Try: Laurent Bordes
Con: Fabio Zitelli

Full-back Murphy opened the scoring on seven minutes after Martin Johnson and Rod Kafer had worked the ball out wide.

Six minutes later, Ollie Smith sent left winger Steve Booth over from a scrum, and Smith then grabbed the third after good work from Murphy.

Fly-half Andy Goode was struggling with his kicking but finally converted at the third attempt, and all seemed to be going well for the English side.

But they failed to score again before the break and saw two tries disallowed at the start of the second half.

Leon Lloyd ran into a team-mate before crossing the line, and Steve Booth was adjudged offside from Goode's kick to the corner.

When Calvisano fly-half Laurent Bordes exploited a gap in the Tigers defence for a try midway through the second half, a shock seemed possible.

Leicester flanker Neil Back
Neil Back was sent to the sin bin
Fabio Zitelli added the conversion to cut the deficit to 10 points and Richards was forced to introduce the international stars he had been hoping to rest.

England internationals Dorian West, Graham Rowntree, Ben Kay and Neil Back came off the bench, and Leicester quickly regained control with a Geordan Murphy try.

But the match ended on a sour note when, after 70 minutes, Back was sent to the sin bin along with Calvisano captain Chris Mayerhofler following an outbreak of fighting.

Richards was particularly annoyed by the indifferent refereeing decisions.

"I thought they played the referee better than we did," he said. "We didn't pick up on the interpretations as quickly as the other side."

Martin Corry still managed to go over in the third minute of injury time for the Tigers' fifth try of the match.

The European champions take on Llanelli at Stradey Park next Saturday aiming to secure home advantage for their quarter-final.

Leicester: Murphy, Booth, Lloyd, Kafer, Smith, Goode, J. Hamilton, Freshwater, Cockerill, Garforth, M. Johnson, Deacon, Gustard, Kronfeld, Corry.
Replacements: West, Rowntree, Kay, Moody, Ellis, Gelderbloom, Back.

Calvisano: Ravazzolo, Bignotti, Arboit, Zanoletti, Zitelli, Bordes, Dragotto, Bocca, Moretti, Castrogiovanni, Whitley, Lanzi, Scotuzzi, Mayerhofler, De Rossi.
Replacements: Davo, Mazino, Mastrodomenico, Letinic, Griffen, Scanziani, Gabba.

Referee: Gerard Borreani (France).

BBC rugby union correspondent Ian Robertson
"Leicester were too powerful for Calvisano"
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