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Hard work gets points on the board

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Leicester Tigers reached the halfway point of the league season with a bonus-point win over Sale Sharks which kept them in the upper reaches of the Aviva Premiership table.

Tigers, champions in the last two seasons, returned to second place in the table with a 54-21 victory over Sharks on Bank Holiday Monday in front of a capacity 24,000 crowd at Welford Road.

Three Aviva Premiership fixtures were claimed by the weather and, although Leicestershire has escaped the worst of the snow and ice so far, there was still a lot of work to do to safeguard the game, as there was for the Heineken Cup match against Perpignan a week earlier.

Director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “The groundstaff have been fantastic. It is good for us to get the games on, it means we will have some rest somewhere down the line when we won’t have any midweek games.

“We’ve played when others have not. We’ve got the points on the board and they’ll have to go and win theirs.

“It was great to get the full house against Sale too and now we just want to keep going and keep picking up points as often as we can.”

The Welford Road pitch had been protected by the canopy supplied by Sports Stadia Services, while snow and ice from the pitch and stadium were removed with the help of main sponsor Caterpillar, Breedon Aggregates and Leicester City Council.

Ben Youngs, Dan Cole and George Chuter missed the win over Sale as part of the England EPS agreement, and Cockerill confirmed international colleagues Toby Flood and Jordan Crane are approaching fitness again after injury.

Tigers go to Exeter Chiefs on Sunday, January 2 (4.15pm) and then host Aviva Premiership leaders Northampton Saints on Saturday, January 8 (5pm). A limited number of tickets are still available for the East Midlands derby. Contact the Tigers ticket office now to guarantee your place. Phone 0844 856 1880, call in at Welford Road or book online.