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Leicester return to their best with comfortable win over Worcester

By PA
Steve Borthwick /PA

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Gallagher Premiership leaders Leicester Tigers eased back to winning ways with a 36-16 victory over second-bottom Worcester Warriors at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

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The Tigers had lost their previous two league fixtures, after opening the season with 11 straight wins, but the result was never in doubt here, as captain Hanro Liebenberg scored one of their five tries.

Steve Borthwick’s side remain seven points clear of second-placed Saracens, as they proved too strong for Worcester despite having five players missing on international duty with England.

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Not surprisingly, Leicester controlled the early proceedings and they had their opening try after nine minutes when Hosea Saumaki slipped through a couple of loose tackles to score down the left wing.

Freddie Burns’ conversion travelled wide and the fly-half was then prevented from crossing the whitewash by an excellent covering tackle from Worcester captain Ted Hill.

The Warriors then pulled back three points with a Billy Searle penalty from in front of the posts, but Burns quickly cancelled this out with a kick of his own.

Some wonderful defence to stop Harry Potter from scoring down the right ultimately meant nothing, as the Tigers went through the phases before quick hands from Guy Porter sent Burns away to dot down under the posts.

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The hosts’ driving maul then led to a third score, although it took two attempts as Christian Judge was sin-binned for entering the first one at the side.

The second maul was also illegally halted, leading to referee Luke Pearce running under the posts to award the penalty try before also reducing Worcester to 13 men by showing Niall Annett a yellow card.

Despite being two men light, the Warriors had the last points of the first half through Searle, who then kicked his third penalty seven minutes after the restart, following a high tackle on Francois Venter.

Any hope of an unlikely Worcester comeback was snuffed out, however, as Liebenberg plunged over from less than a metre out to secure the try bonus point for Leicester after 51 minutes, with Burns converting.

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The Warriors were then presented with the first try of the afternoon as Burns’ long, looping pass was picked off by Alex Hearle, who had a clear run to the line for a score that was converted by Searle.

But the Tigers had their fifth score with four minutes left when Porter broke away through the centre before timing his pass to send Tommy Reffell on a run-in from 25 metres out.

In a bizarre end to the game, Leicester had both Olly Robinson and Saumaki sent to the sin-bin within seconds of each other, but Worcester could not force a consolation despite the belated two-man advantage.

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