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Leicester win in unconvincing style


Harry Thacker, pictured, scored twice for Leicester as they defeated London Welsh

Harry Thacker, pictured, scored twice for Leicester as they defeated London Welsh

Harry Thacker, pictured, scored twice for Leicester as they defeated London Welsh

Leicester climbed to fifth place in the Aviva Premiership standings after beating bottom club London Welsh 26-5 at the Kassam Stadium.

The Tigers took an age to quell the spirited Welsh, who kept the visitors to a 5-5 score line after 35 minutes before Leicester's forward power told after the interval.

Harry Thacker scored two tries for the visitors, Graham Kitchener and replacement Robert Barbieri the others with Tommy Bell kicking three conversions. Bell had taken over the kicking from Freddie Burns, who had a poor match, missing all three kicks and taking a number of wrong options before being substituted.

London Welsh, buoyed by an impressive effort from their new recruit, number eight Opeti Fonua, gave a much improved show with their defence considerably toughened after conceding more than 70 points at Wasps. However they did suffer a major blow when Fonua was helped off late in the second half.

Leicester gave Bell a Premiership debut at full-back whilst wing Adam Thompstone was selected for his first Premiership start of the season. The pack was unchanged from last week's home draw with Saracens but Burns returned at fly-half.

Welsh were without forwards Pablo Henn and Chris Hala'ufia who were both injured in last weekend's crushing defeat at Wasps. Ricky Reeves and Fonua were their replacements with veteran Gordon Ross selected at outside half in place of Will Robinson.

Ross began with a careless error, kicking the ball straight into touch to concede a line-out in the home 22. Welsh were then penalised but the Tigers elected an attacking line-out before a knock-on enabled the hosts to clear the danger.

Burns had the game's first chance for points but his long range penalty sailed wide as Leicester made a whole host of mistakes in the first 15 minutes.

Welsh were unable to get out of their half in the opening quarter but another missed penalty from Burns ensured that the match remained scoreless after 20 minutes.

The errors continued in abundance with Burns' charged down kick the latest, which gave Welsh their first chance of points but Tom May's drop goal attempt went wide.

However, Welsh surprisingly took the lead with Seb Jewell being the catalyst for the score. The full back first retrieved his high kick ahead and when the ball was recycled, skilfully placed a cross-field kick directly into the path of Scott, who easily collected for the try.

After the two misses from Burns, Leicester opted for an attacking line-out after being awarded another penalty. This time it paid dividends with Thacker crashing over for the try with Burns again off target with the kick.

Welsh nearly regained the lead when Lachlan McCaffrey charged down a clearance kick and looked set to score, only for Burns to race back and narrowly beat the flanker to the touchdown.

However, back came Leicester to secure another attacking line-out for Thacker to score his second. Bell took over the kicking duties and succeeded from the touchline to give Tigers a 12-5 interval lead.

Leicester dominated the opening period of the second half and deservedly went further ahead when Kitchener brushed aside two tacklers to score for Bell to convert.

With 20 minutes remaining, Burns was replaced by Owen Williams and he was in time to see Barbieri finish off another line-out drive for the bonus point try.

Welsh lost Fonua through injury after he had attempted to force his way over before a thoroughly disappointing game meandered to a tame conclusion.