Leicester Tigers guaranteed European Champions Cup rugby for next season with a 35-13 bonus-point victory over Sale Sharks in the final round of the Aviva Premiership.
After the disappointment of missing out on the Aviva Premiership semi-finals last weekend, Tigers needed to take a single match point from Saturday afternoon’s trip to the AJ Bell Stadium.
The point was secured in the second half when Jonah Holmes crossed for Tigers’ bonus-point fourth try and his second of the afternoon. It added to George Ford’s first try of the season and Mike Williams’s first for the club.
Moments later the full five points were secured when the final whistle sounded on the game and the season.
Aviva Premiership semi-finalists Exeter Chiefs, Saracens, Wasps and Newcastle Falcons had already qualified after each guaranteed a top-four finish before Round 22.
Tigers will be joined in the Champions Cup next season by Bath Rugby, who beat London Irish 63-19 to leapfrog Gloucester Rugby and Sale to claim sixth place in the table.
Gloucester had the chance to qualify through their league position, but were beaten 62-12 by Saracens at Allianz Park. The result left Gloucester in seventh in the table.
It all means that the Aviva Premiership will have a seventh team in next season’s Champions Cup, as Gloucester will qualify via the European Challenge Cup.
Their opponents in next weekend’s final in Bilbao, Cardiff Blues, have already qualified through their position in the Pro 14, meaning that Gloucester will take the place allocated to the Challenge Cup, either as winners or as runners-up.