Manu Tuilagi, pictured here playing for England in 2013, made his 100th appearance for Leicester during the game against London Irish
London (AFP) - Leicester ended a run of six successive defeats in all competitions with a laboured 19-15 victory at home against Premiership bottom side London Irish on Saturday.
Matt Toomua, Jonny May and Manu Tuilagi, on his 100th Leicester appearance, scored the tries that earned the Tigers their first Premiership win since November 19. Joe Cokanasiga and Alex Lewington replied for a resolute Irish side.
Leicester chairman Peter Tom had written in his programme notes that “this is not where we want or need to be” after a dreadful run which has included four defeats in the Premiership – three at the one-time fortress of Welford Road.
Leicester, underpowered up front and lacking creativity in the backs, looked like a side devoid of confidence and struggled to impose themselves on an Irish side in bottom place with just one win.
“Those four points are important but the performance wasn’t there… it wasn’t to our standards,” said Leicester head coach Matt O’Connor.
“We didn’t execute in the big moments tonight… we didn’t manage the midfield and probably asked too much of our forwards, which took some venom out of them.”
Joe Marler’s sending-off proved pivotal as Faf de Klerk’s late penalty helped Sale Sharks secure a 30-29 victory over 14-man Harlequins at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Sale were much the better team in the opening 25 minutes, touching down twice via Byron McGuigan and Rohan Janse van Rensburg, while AJ MacGinty added seven points from the tee.
That gave the Sharks a 17-5 lead – Alofa Alofa responding for Quins – but the visitors came back into the contest late in the first period and were ahead through tries from Charlie Walker and Ross Chisholm.
Marler was then red-carded in the second half but Quins showed excellent game-management to score their fourth try via Jamie Roberts.
The game was not over, however, and Janse van Rensburg crossed the whitewash to set up an exciting finale. The Sharks then went ahead through De Klerk and held on to take a valuable victory.
Northampton ended a run of seven successive Premiership defeats as they stunned Gloucester at Franklin’s Gardens.
Referee Ian Tempest awarded Saints an 79th-minute penalty try when Gloucester collapsed a maul, which was enough to secure a 22-19 victory.
Saints had claimed just one win from their previous 13 games in all competitions, but they stuck to their task and denied Gloucester a chance of going second in the table.