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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.
Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com