Aviva Premiership: Leicester Tigers beat London Irish 32-20 at Welford Road
Last Updated: 04/05/13 4:55pm
Leicester Tigers ran in five tries as they beat London Irish 32-20 at Welford Road to secure a home Aviva Premiership semi-final next Saturday.
Tom Croft and Ben Youngs notched first-half tries, while replacement Mathew Tait and Niki Goneva touched down in the second period.
Toby Flood also scored a try and added a penalty and two conversions, as the Tigers won to confirm second spot in the table behind Saracens and stay on course for a record ninth successive Aviva Premiership final.
Alex Corbisiero, Topsy Ojo and Marland Yarde scored tries for the visitors, with Ian Humphreys kicking a penalty and conversion.
Leicester recalled club captain Geordan Murphy and Italy prop Martin Castrogiovanni and picked all their six members of the British and Irish Lions squad, in a match they needed to earn two points from to be certain of a home draw.
There was a 24,000 sell-out crowd at sun-drenched Welford Road and Irish started strongly, Humphreys' third minute penalty reward for a concerted attack.
But Leicester drew level thanks to a Flood penalty three minutes later and then hit the visitors with two tries in the space of three minutes.
Croft finished off a slick handling move in the 14th minute and fellow Lion Youngs then handed off England prop Corbisiero before making a 22-metre dash for the line.
Tait replaced Leicester centre Anthony Allen at half time and within eight minutes he had got himself on the scoresheet.
His try came after an Irish clearance which was taken by winger Niall Morris. The Tigers spread the ball wide, Manu Tuilagi made the all-important break and Tait finished it off, Flood kicking his first conversion to make it 20-3.
The visitors, however, struck back immediately with a short range try from a ruck by Corbisiero which was converted by Humphreys.
But Leicester responded with their fourth try to earn a bonus point, Goneva sprinting over from Flood's one-handed flick-on after great work by lock Graham Kitchener. Flood kicked the conversion to make it 27-10.
Flood then made it 32-10 with a try and conversion before Irish wing Ojo won the race to a chip from replacement Shane Geraghty for the visitors' second try, with fellow winger Yarde scoring a fabulous solo effort with just over a minute left.
Aviva Premiership 2012/13 Round 22
Lyn Jones admits he would like to remain loyal to relegated London Welsh, but the club's board must match his ambitions.
Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea is already looking forward to an "incredibly exciting" play-off semi-final at Leicester.
Leicester boss Richard Cockerill admits his side will have to be "dead, dead right" to beat Harlequins next weekend.