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George Ford and Ben Youngs catch their coach's eye in Leicester's defeat of Sale

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Steve Borthwick praised George Ford and Ben Youngs following Leicester's win over Sale

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Leicester boss Steve Borthwick praised England international half-backs George Ford and Ben Youngs after the Tigers claimed a sixth successive Gallagher Premiership victory of the season.

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Fly-half Ford, who has been overlooked by England head coach Eddie Jones for the Autumn Nations Series, kicked four penalties and converted Hanro Liebenberg’s try as league leaders Leicester toppled Sale Sharks.

And scrum-half Youngs, who is part of Jones’ squad, set up Liebenberg’s try with some impressive attacking work as Leicester triumphed 19-11 at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

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Michael Cheika on dealing with his critics
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Michael Cheika on dealing with his critics

“Today was different to any game we have played this season – the most similar was probably the Saracens game (Leicester won 13-12),” Borthwick said.

“George Ford did a really good job to get us into a position to win the game.

“And Ben was tremendous. When an opportunity presents itself, there are not too many better around than Ben Youngs, and I think he is getting sharper and sharper.

“He did some real good things, he managed our way through the first half, and he and George Ford were excellent.”

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Kieran Wilkinson kicked two penalties for Sale and hooker Curtis Langdon scored a late try, but it was another outstanding Tigers victory as they continued an impressive resurgence under Borthwick.

The win tees them up nicely for next Saturday’s eagerly-awaited match against Northampton, yet Sale could only reflect on key moments in the contest when their discipline waned and Ford punished them.

Borthwick added; “You saw the standard of Northampton last night (Saints beat Worcester 66-10) with the way they played.

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“Chris Boyd clearly is an outstanding coach with the number of years he has coached and his track record in the southern hemisphere.

“They have got a team packed with pace and athleticism. The way they move the ball, when they choose to play that phase-attack, they look very very dangerous.

“I said to the players in the changing room afterwards that I was really proud of their efforts today. I thanked them all for their efforts – that’s the consistent message I have for them.

“If we had been on the wrong end of the scoreline today, I would still have been proud of their efforts.

“We have got a lot to get better at, but what I’ve got is a bunch of players who really want to work hard and get better.

“My job as a coach is to keep analysing what we need to get better at, because then I can direct their efforts.”

Tom Curtis’ missed last-gasp conversion meant Sale failed to secure a losing bonus point as they slipped to a third defeat of the league campaign.

Sale rugby director Alex Sanderson said: “I thought we deserved a point from the effort and intensity we showed, the territory we got and the opportunities that we had.

“It’s not a fairytale, though, is it, this game?

“We squandered too many opportunities in the first half and couldn’t become dominant in the second half at the set-piece and breakdown.

“Those were the two things that really lost us the game. Two breakdown penalties led to six points for Leicester.

“You’ve got to give credit to Leicester. They squeezed us out at the end, really, but we must also look at ourselves.

“We can get a better result next time by having better execution.”

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George Ford and Ben Youngs catch their coach's eye in Leicester's defeat of Sale

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