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Tigers end home campaign with bonus win

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Leicester Tigers finished their home campaign in this season's Aviva Premiership with a 41-18 bonus-point victory over Sale Sharks.

Freddie Burns, on his last appearance for Tigers at Welford Road, got the ball rolling with a clever run to score the first try before Graham Kitchener on his 100th start for the club, scored the second.
Tigers then scored two tries in quick succession, through Owen Williams and Jack Roberts, on their last Tigers game at Welford Road, brought up the crucial try-bonus point in the second half.
The result moved Tigers nine points ahead of fifth-placed Bath Rugby, who take on Gloucester Rugby at The Rec on Sunday.
Kitchener was joined by Adam Thompstone in making their 100th starting appearances in a Tigers shirt. Kitchener partnered Dom Barrow in the second row, while club captain Tom Youngs and back-rower Luke Hamilton returned in the only changes to the pack.
Thompstone was included in a backline that also showed two changes. Owen Williams started at centre in place of Maxime Mermoz and Mathew Tait came in at full-back for Telusa Veainu.
Laurence Pearce, the former Tigers No8, started for Sale on his return to Welford Road since his move to the Sharks last summer.
The game began in fractious fashion with handbags at the first ruck before Josh Charnley took out Thompstone in mid-air in the third minute. Thompstone dusted himself down and Charnley was shown a yellow card by referee Craig Maxwell-Keys.
Tigers won a penalty at the game’s first scrum and Burns, on his last start for Tigers at Welford Road, landed his kick from in front of the posts to give the hosts an early 3-0 lead.
Roared on by a huge crowd, Tigers put together a lovely passing move, that went through Genge and Tom Youngs to allow Barrow to crash to within 10m. However, O’Connor spilled possession and Sale counterattacked through inger Denny Solomona. His kick into Tigers territory had Genge and Burns working hard in defence but the ball beat all three players into touch.
Charnley returned to the field with Sale attacking at a lineout 8m out. The visitors set up the drive and their captain Rob Webber controlled possession to score at the right-hand corner. AJ MacGinty landed the touchline conversion to give Sale a 7-3 lead after 16 minutes.
Tigers were then pinged at a lineout for pulling down George Nott and MacGinty landed his kick to move the Sharks 10-3 ahead.
Tigers hit back immediately with a try through Burns. He began the attack by intercepting possession from behind the Sale defensive line. Mike Williams made further inroads before Burns wrong-footed Sam James and Nott to create the gap to score from 8m. Burns converted to bring Tigers level after 25 minutes.
Tigers were relentless in attack as the clock ticked into the last 10 minutes of the half. Mike Williams, Kitchener and Genge all made good yards before Solomona deliberately knocked-on Owen Williams’s try-scoring pass for O’Connor.
Referee Maxwell-Keys played the advantage and Tigers made it count when Kitchener forced his way over close to the posts. Burns converted to put Tigers 17-10 ahead.
A barge by Mike Phillips on Genge gave Burns the chance to extend the lead with a penalty with the last kick of the half, and the Tigers fly-half sent it over to put Leicester 20-10 ahead at the break.

Sale began the second-half brightly and worked space on the right where Pearce took the tackle from last-man Tait and passed inside for Solomona. O’Connor had tracked the run and got his fingertips to the ball before Solomona knocked on as he tried to scoop up the ball with the line in sight.
Tigers’ own errors, such as a knock-on by Pietersen in space in midfield, prevented them building any momentum at the start of the second-half.
Instead, it was Sale who threatened again through Haley’s run and kick through that was taken into touch by Burns 5m from the Leicester line. Tigers repelled Sale at the lineout before Pearce was held up Barrow over the Leicester line.
With Hamilton at the fore, Tigers drove Sale back towards the 22 at the next defensive set but the No8 went off his feet in stealing possession. MacGinty landed the penalty to cut Leicester’s lead to 20-13.
Brilliant work by Cole stole possession on the Sale 10m line and Tigers set about their opponents. Pietersen took them to within 5m of the line before Roberts was hauled down just short. However, another handling error brought the move to an end in the shadow of the posts.
With Kieran Longbottom already off through injury, Sale’s replacement tighthead Diogo Ferreira was also replaced, this time by James Flynn, which meant the game went to uncontested scrums.
An inch-perfect penalty by Burns took Tigers from their own half up to the Sale 5m line as Ferreira returned to the field.
Tigers had Sale under huge pressure with their drive, which was stopped illegally. Tigers hammered away without breaking through before Burns’s kick through caused confusion in the Sale defence, MacGinty was unable to gather and Owen Williams had a simple finish.
Burns converted to give Tigers a 27-13 lead and 17 minutes to find the bonus-point try.

And it duly arrived three minutes later. Tigers turnover ball in their own 22 and broke upfield through Pietersen. Peter Betham, on as a replacement for Tait, made further ground before Roberts broke Ferreira’s tackle to score under the posts. Burns again converted.
Sale scored a well-crafted consolation try late in the game. Byron McGuigan broke down the Sale right before the ball was moved back inside where Tigers were short-handed and lock Bryn Evans had a simple run to the line.
But Tigers had the last say with a try in the final minute by George McGuigan. The replacement hooker collected a short pass to drive over from a couple of metres. Owen Williams’s conversion set the seal on a 41-18 win.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 20-10 SAL

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 41-18 SAL




Craig Maxwell-keys

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers

Full Time

Sale Sharks
Sale Sharks

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Sale Sharks
Penalties Conceded
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
Tackles Won
109/125 87%
128/153 84%
Scrums Won
2/2 0%
4/5 20%
Lineouts Won
14/14 100%
12/12 100%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers
15Mathew Tait
14Adam Thompstone
13Jack Roberts1T
12Owen Williams1T1C
11JP Pietersen
10Freddie Burns1T4C2P
9Ben Youngs
1Ellis Genge
2Tom Youngs
3Dan Cole
4Dom Barrow
5Graham Kitchener1T
6Mike Williams
7Brendon O'Connor
16George McGuigan1T
17Greg Bateman
18Fraser Balmain
19Michael Fitzgerald
20Harry Thacker
21Sam Harrison
22Matt Smith
23Peter Betham

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

Mike Haley
Denny Solomona
Sam James
Mark Jennings
Josh Charnley
AJ MacGinty
Mike Phillips
Ross Harrison
Kieran Longbottom
Bryn Evans
George Nott
Cameron Neild
Tom Curry
Laurence Pearce


Ben Curry
James Flynn
Diogo Ferreira
Magnus Lund
David Seymour
Peter Stringer
Johnny Leota
Byron McGuigan

Matchday guide: Tigers v Sharks this Saturday

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Leicester Tigers make the season's final appearance on home territory this Saturday in a Aviva Premiership Round 21 fixture against Sale Sharks. Kick-off is at 3pm. Here is our guide to what the day has in store at Welford Road.  

Tigers go into Saturday’s game in fourth place in the league table, four points ahead of Bath in the battle for semi-final places, with wasps, Exeter Chiefs and Saracens already guaranteed places in the last four. Northampton Saints and Harlequins are the only other clubs still with a mathematical chance of reaching the top four with just two fixtures remaining.
Match tickets for Saturday remain on general sale at the Tigers ticket office. The ticket office is open 9am-5pm Monday-Saturday. Book in person at Welford Road or phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2). Or click here to book online any time. There is a print-at-home option for all tickets bought online.
If you are picking up any pre-paid match tickets on your way to the game on Saturday, the Collection Point is based on the plaza outside main reception.
The Junior Tigers Club, with activities for young supporters and an opportunity to run out in front of a big crowd as a matchday mascot or Tiger Cub, is open from 1.00pm and there will be a player appearance in the approach to kick-off.
Turnstiles and all internal bars and food kiosks open at 1.30pm.
The Tigers Club Store in the Holland & Barrett Stand is open from 9am on matchday, with the second store in the Robin Hood Stand open from 11am.
The final home game of the season is also Matt Hampson Foundation Day when Tigers welcome Matt and his guests and celebrate the continuing work of the Foundation in supporting those seriously injured through sport or other activity.
Supporters can enjoy speciality coffee and handmade doughnuts at 96 Coffee By Numbers owned by Tigers players Tom Croft and Ben Youngs in Final Whistle throughout matchday. Doughnut flavours change each week.
Team news from both camps is announced at noon on Friday. Look out for updates on the Tigers club website and social media channels.
The Tigers Foundation will be distributing Tigers flags on Saturday in support of its fundraising activities for Comic Relief and delivery of sporting opportunities in the community. The flags, which come in three designs, are available around the stadium for a minimum donation of £3.
Matchday entertainment includes the return of the Gabhru Panjab De bhangra drummers and dancers who will be around the stadium in the build-up to the kick-off and will join us on the pitch just before the teams run out. 

The 100-page match programme includes news from this week’s Players’ Player Awards Dinner and supporters’ messages to Marcos Ayerza after the announcement of his retirement, plus photos from our Junior Tigers Club takeover Day and all the news from Welford Road. Pick up your copy around the stadium, price £3.
A Fan Radio service is available at Welford Road featuring referee microphone and match commentary from broadcasters. Units cost £15 and will operate for Saturday AND home games next season. Buy your set in the Club Store.
Half-time entertainment includes The Ultimate Big Boot and we will also reveal the name of the latest Lumbers Player of the Month award.
Official matchday bus services run by Centrebus are in operation on routes from Market Bosworth, Market Harborough, Melton Mowbray and Oakham. Please note there is a change to the Oakham service this week with pick-up at Oakham Bus Station and not at Northgate or Barclays due to continued road closures in the town.

There is also a separate supporters’ bus available from Rugby and Lutterworth. For more information on Tigers travel, and this week’s timetable, please click here.
There is a presentation to the Tigers squad at full time before the players embark on their traditional parade lap to acknowledge the supporters. Marcos Ayerza will be there too!
As the parade will be followed by a series of mini rugby fixtures for local club teams, supporters are requested to stay off the pitch this week.
There is live music from Rock Bottom in final whistle after the game, and the ticket office and club store will remain open for an hour after the match.
If you are attending the game, don't forget to click 'Going' on the Tigers Facebook page.
See you on Saturday!
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI22140856744512258486466
Sale Sharks
Sale SharksSAL227114471595-12455706440
Form Guide
Last Match
Beat Newcastle Falcons 47-3
Past Meeting
Lost 17-24
Last Match
Past Meeting
Last Match
Lost to Harlequins 3-36
Past Meeting
Won 24-17

Matchday Live

Leicester Tigers41
Leicester Tigers
Sale Sharks18
Sale Sharks
Full Time