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- Aviva Premiership
- 28th Dec 2013
- KO 15:00
- Ground: Welford Road
- Att: 24,000
Aviva Premiership: Leicester withstand Sale fightback to record 30-23 win
- Saturday's Aviva Prem preview
- Young happy with Wasps
- McCall 'satisfied' with romp
- O'Shea: race will be tight
- Davies: Pretty stressful
- Mallinder tribute to North
- Cockerill: 'Sale cheated'
- Wasps sting Falcons
- Saints comeback sinks Bath
- Gloucester hold off Irish
- Sarries cruise to Warriors win
- Harlequins see off Chiefs
Leicester withstood a fierce second-half fightback from Sale to secure a hard-fought 30-23 Aviva Premiership victory over the Sharks at Welford Road.
The Tigers looked on course for a resounding home win as they went in 20-6 to the good at the interval after two early tries, while young Welsh fly-half Owen Williams - who eventually finished with 15 points - produced a faultless kicking display.
However, Sale hit back after the break with two tries of their own and a late penalty by replacement Joe Ford earned them a losing bonus-point.
Williams, who signed from the Scarlets last summer, started in place of the injured Toby Flood and demonstrated he could be the one to replace the France-bound fly-half long-term by making a sparkling start to his ninth appearance for the Tigers.
The 21-year-old was at the heart of all the good work that earned them a 10-0 lead after 12 minutes, and was heavily involved in a brilliant fourth minute try.
His chip over halfway was caught by Dan Bowden and, after Thomas Waldrom had bulldozed his way into the 22, Williams popped up to provide the scoring pass for lock Ed Slater.
Williams converted and then kicked a penalty before being on the receiving end of a scuffle with Sale centre Sammy Tuitupou, who was sin-binned by referee Ashley Rowden after he had consulted the TMO.
The TMO was involved again two minutes later, this time awarding a try to Leicester winger Adam Thompstone who scored from a long miss-pass by Bowden.
Williams had the crowd roaring after a superb conversion from the left touchline made it 17-0, which became 17-3 when Sale fly-half Nick Macleod slotted an easy penalty.
Thompstone should have had a second after being put away by Williams but spilled the ball in the tackle near the line before Williams made it 20-3 in the 35th minute with an easy penalty.
Sale finally managed to exert some pressure with a few minutes of the half left. They refused three kickable penalties in favour of going for a try but failed to dent the Tigers defence and had to settle for a penalty by Macleod from the left touchline deep into overtime.
Williams stretched Leicester's lead four minutes after the interval with a penalty from in front of the posts and, after full-back Rob Miller had missed a long-range penalty for Sale, Cueto scored an impressive try after scrum-half Dwayne Peel had sparked the attack with a clever switch of direction.
Macleod kicked the conversion from the right touchline to give hope to Sale, who withstood some fierce pressure from the Tigers just before the hour mark.
And they got their reward for that stout defence when winger Charlie Ingall finished off a great move started by flanker James Gaskell, who split the Tigers defence wide open with a blistering break.
Macleod again kicked the conversion from the right touchline to put Sale within three points of their hosts.
But the forwards put the Tigers back in control when they earned a penalty try from a sixth successive scrum on the Sale line. Williams converted but Ford kicked a long-range penalty for Sale three minutes later to earn some reward for their efforts.
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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