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Leicester sweep aside Worcester to keep play-off pressure on Newcastle

Tigers are still in the hunt for a top-four finish.

Leicester kept alive their hopes of an Aviva Premiership play-off place with a convincing 34-5 win over Worcester at Sixways.

Tigers’ bonus-point success lifted them to within three points of Newcastle, who occupy fourth position with five league games remaining.

The impressive Telusa Veainu scored two tries for Leicester, with Jonah Holmes, Greg Bateman and Manu Tuilagi each grabbing one and Matt Toomua converting three and kicking a penalty.

Worcester’s best player, flanker Alafoti Faosiliva, scored the home side’s try but it came in an error-ridden team performance.

Fortunately for them, London Irish were also defeated so the gap at the bottom remained at 12 points.

After a stuttering opening, Leicester took a 12th-minute lead with a stunning try. Full-back Veainu broke from inside his own 22 to beat a number of Warriors defenders before sending Sam Harrison deep into the opposition 22.

When the scrum-half was hauled down, the ball was recycled with Veainu again involved before Holmes outflanked the cover defence to score in the corner.

In the opening quarter, Warriors were their own worst enemies with frequent handling errors preventing them from building any momentum. Lock Darren Barry twice knocked on, with Leicester-bound Will Spencer and skipper GJ van Velze both making similar mistakes.

The hosts suffered a blow when influential centre Ryan Mills suffered a leg injury and was replaced by young Will Butler, but they overcame the setback to draw level when Faosiliva finished off a driving line-out.

Leicester also lost players through injuries with former Warrior Mike Williams and Holmes both departing in quick succession with leg problems.

The visitors still regained the lead when prop Bateman brushed aside weak tackles from Van Velze and Josh Adams to score, with Toomua’s conversion giving the visitors a 12-5 half-time lead.

After the restart, two early errors from Jonny Arr gave impetus to the visitors. A poor box kick and a simple knock-on from the scrum-half saw Tigers gain a position in the hosts’ half from where Toomua knocked over a penalty.

Arr was replaced by Luke Baldwin as Warriors sought to reverse the tide, which was now flowing against them.

Baldwin, however, was then carried off injured and wing Dean Hammond replaced him, forcing fly-half Jamie Shillcock to take on scrum-half duties and centre Jackson Willison switching to partner him.

With 11 minutes remaining, Leicester made sure of victory when Toomua’s clever chip was collected by Veainu for their third try, with late scores from Tuilagi and Veainu ramming home the visitors’ superiority.

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