Cruise for under-strength Tigers

By Tony Curtis  

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Leicester Tigers 40-21 Worcester Warriors, Guinness Premiership, Welford Road 

Leicester made light of the absence of a host of key players as they ran in six tries to comfortably beat Worcester at Welford Road.

With six players away on England duty, the Tigers were short on experience in the pack, but it counted for little as they racked up an unassailable lead by half time.

Worcester battled hard after the break, outscoring their hosts in the second period, but the damage was already done and Leicester easily held on for a bonus-point victory.

The Tigers went into the game unbeaten in 28 home Premiership fixtures, a sequence they always looked likely to extend.

They were the first to threaten through winger Tom Varndell, who was brought down by Aisea Havili just short of the 22-metre line after being sent clear down the left by some slick handling.

Shane Drahm was off target with a drop goal attempt and a long range penalty for the visitors before Leicester made an 11th minute breakthrough.

Just moments after Varndell had failed to force his way over in the corner, Jordan Crane drove over the line from close range for his first try since his summer move from Leeds.

Paul Burke's conversion hit the woodwork but he made amends six minutes later with a penalty that put Leicester 8-0 ahead.

A second penalty from the Tigers' fly-half put them further clear in the 25th minute, before Drahm's wayward kicking continued with another failed penalty.

Brent Deacon touched down in the corner for a 31st minute try for Leicester and although Burke once again struck a post, Varndell wasted little time in scoring a third try of the afternoon, racing through unopposed after good work from Dan Hipkiss.

This time Burke was able to add the extras to give the home side a 23-0 interval lead.

Leicester secured their bonus point five minutes after the restart when Martin Castrogiovanni claimed his first try for the club and Paul Burke's conversion made it 30-0.

Worcester registered their first point in the 50th minute through a Chris Horseman try with Shane Drahm adding the conversion.

The visitors were given further hope three minutes later when Gavin Hickie was yellow carded for killing the ball and they took advantage with Simon Whatling crossing for a try in the 63rd minute to trim the deficit to 30-14.

Dan Hipkiss put the game beyond the visitors with Leicester's fifth try in the 73 minute.

Lee Best grabbed a third try for Worcester three minutes later and Drahm converted but Jennings had the final word for Leicester in the last minute.

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