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- Aviva Premiership
- 3rd May 2014
- KO 15:15
- Ground: The AJ Bell Stadium
- Att: 10,092
Aviva Premiership: Leicester Tigers cement play-off with 42-22 win at Sale Sharks
- Saturday's Premiership preview
- Cockerill: Nip and tuck now
- Tindall makes retirement hint
- Cockerill: Unfinished business
Leicester Tigers secured an Aviva Premiership play-off berth with a 42-22 bonus-point victory that ended Sale Sharks' hopes of making the knockout stages.
Toby Flood scored twice while Vereniki Goneva, Niall Morris and David Mele all touched down as the defending champions clinched a top-four finish with a match to spare.
Fly-half Owen Williams converted a penalty try on the hour to take the game away from the Sharks, who produced a spirited comeback in the closing stages.
Three tries in 11 minutes from Michael Paterson, Henry Thomas and Johnny Leota were mere consolation for Sale, who were already guaranteed a place in next season's European Champions Cup.
A maximum points win sees Richard Cockerill's side cement a semi-final place for the 10th successive season after Bath played out a 19-19 stalemate with Northampton Saints at the Recreation Ground on Friday night.
Sale started brightly but they failed to make that early pressure count, and the Tigers quickly started to become the more dominant outfit.
A powerful drive from Logovi'i Mulipoli laid the platform for Williams to chip over the top and into the in-goal area.
England centre Manu Tuilagi looked favourite to score, but Goneva eventually pounced onto the ball just before it rolled into touch.
The home side hit-back immediately after Danny Cipriani slotted over a penalty from range. Williams quickly had the chance to restore the Tigers seven point advantage, but failed to convert his own effort for three points.
The Tigers thought they had crossed again when Anthony Allen touched down following Morris' grubber, but the video referee chalked the score off for an earlier forward pass.
Two minutes before the break, Ben Youngs and Jordan Crane created an overlap out wide for Flood to score in the corner. Williams converted from the touchline to give the visitors a 14-3 lead at half time.
There was no sign of Leicester easing off after the interval, with Morris going over for their third score after being fed in by Williams' offload, with the fly-half then converting to make it 21-3.
Flood then got his second after being set up by Youngs, with Williams converting.
The England international could have even had a hat-trick, but was held up over the line. That did not deter the Tigers attack, though, they went over for a penalty try shortly after, with Williams converting.
The Sharks then staged a fight back, with three tries on the bounce. The first came from Paterson in the left corner after a looping pass from Sam Tuitupou, with Joe Ford adding the extras.
Henry Thomas then crossed on the back of a lineout, before Leota touched down a breakaway score shorty after. Ford added the extras for the latter.
The Tigers ensured they had the last laugh though, taking advantage of Sale being down to 14-men after Tom Arscott was sin-binned, by scoring a try from David Mele in the final play of the game, which Williams converted.Aviva Premiership. Click here to bet.
|Friday 13th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|19:45||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Saturday 14th February|
|16:30||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|13:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|Friday 20th February|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Bath vs Northampton|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|14:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Sale|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 4th January|
|London Welsh 13 - 24 Harlequins|
|Wasps 41 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Bath|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|Exeter 25 - 26 Gloucester|
|Saracens 22 - 6 London Irish|
|Friday 2nd January|
|Northampton 39 - 31 Newcastle|
|Sunday 28th December|
|Gloucester 23 - 30 Wasps|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Harlequins 25 - 30 Northampton|
|Newcastle 23 - 25 Saracens|
|Bath 31 - 14 Exeter|
|Sale Sharks 30 - 32 Leicester|
|Friday 26th December|
|London Irish 24 - 9 London Welsh|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Wasps 48 - 16 London Irish|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale 18 - 11 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com