Leicester Tigers guaranteed top spot in the table with a 28-14 victory over Yorkshire Carnegie in the Premiership Rugby Under-18 Academy League on Saturday.
Played just an hour after the final whistle of the Champions Cup tie with Ulster, another generation of Tigers had their opportunity at Welford Road stadium as they looked to add to their record of bonus-point wins in each round of the Academy League programme so far.
Emeka Ilione (2), Matt Potts and Shaun Allsopp provided the tries in a bonus-point victory which now guarantees top spot in the northern conference with one game remaining in the league programme, away to Worcester in early February.
A try from flanker Ilione provided the opening points, breaking the final tackle in front of the posts after some smooth handling along the backline, backed by positive carries in the forwards. Sam Costelow added the conversion to give Tigers a seven-point lead with 13 minutes gone.
Carnegie replied with a close-range score from prop Conner Hancock, diving over after they had kept ball at close quarters through a series of phases on the tryline. Dan Lancaster added the kick to level the scores.
Potts provided the second Tigers try, getting on the end of a move he started himself with an impressive charge up the middle of the field. After carries up towards the line, play moved to the right and Tigers made us of the overlap for Potts to dive in. Costelow struck his conversion well from the touchline to restore the seven-point advantage for the league’s defending champions.
Flanker Samuel Eveleigh looked to add to the score with a charge through the middle of the Carnegie defence but he was brought down just a couple of metres out and spilled ball as he looked for support.
Lancaster had a chance to chip three points off the deficit on the stroke of half-time but put his penalty from 30 metres just wide as Tigers led 14-7.
The lead increased just five minutes into the second half as replacement hooker Shaun Allsopp steered a lineout drive over the line for a third try and Costelow added the conversion.
The bonus-point score came from Ilione after pressure on the Carnegie line and Costelow added another two points.
After Eveleigh received a yellow card for a challenge in the air, Carnegie played the penalty into the corner but then missed their lines at the set-piece and Tigers cleared.
Hancock got his second of the game, finishing off phase-play close to the line again and Lancaster added the extras
Freddie Steward almost added another on an inside ball from Harry Glynn but was brought down as the defence scrambled back.
But Tigers remained in Yorkshire territory and, although prop Alex Maxwell was held up over the line from a lineout drive, play stayed at that end as the home side closed out the victory.