Premiership: Leicester Tigers 31-17 Worcester Warriors

Telusa Veainu
Telusa Veainu scored Leicester's third try only eight seconds before half-time
Premiership
Leicester (21) 31
Tries: Goneva, Fonua, Veainu, Evans Cons: Williams 4 Pens: Williams
Worcester (17) 17
Tries: Heem, Symons Cons: Heathcote 2 Pens: Mills

Leicester secured their place in the Premiership semi-finals for the 12th successive year with a bonus-point win over Worcester.

The hosts led 21-17 at the break with tries from Vereniki Goneva, Opeti Fonua and Telusa Veainu.

Bryce Heem and Andy Symons went over to keep Worcester in touch but as the weather worsened Leicester's pack gained the ascendency.

Will Evans secured the bonus point for Tigers and booked their play-off spot.

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Fourth-placed Leicester's win completed the play-off jigsaw alongside Saracens, Exeter Chiefs and Wasps, but the make-up of the respective semi-finals will go down to the final weekend.

Victories for leaders Saracens and second-placed Wasps on Sunday would secure them both home semi-finals, in which case Tigers could overhaul Exeter on the final day.

Both sides took some time to settle into the game at Welford Road but once they did the first-half points arrived in earnest.

Goneva opened the scoring by intercepting Chris Pennell's pass out wide before Francois Hougaard took an interception of his own and Heem finished the try.

Leicester's second five-pointer was of a completely different variety as Fonua bulldozed his way through Worcester's defence and created his own gap from close range.

Symons and Veainu exchanged further tries late in the first half as Leicester took a narrow lead into the dressing room.

As the teams ran out for the second half the April showers set in, making points more difficult to come by.

Worcester fly-half Tom Heathcote missed an easy shot at goal and as Leicester's pack gained the upper hand, the home side grew in confidence.

Replacement Evans finished a textbook driving maul and his first Premiership try sealed victory.

Leicester head coach Aaron Mauger: "I'm pleased to get to the semis, it's a nice feeling. But the performance was a bit flat.

"It was probably a reflection of the last four weeks, four big, emotional games - Gloucester, the European quarter-final against Stade Francais, the derby against Northampton, and Racing.

"We could see during the week that the boys were mentally and emotionally flat and that transferred into the performance."

Worcester director of rugby Dean Ryan: "It was a great performance and we are disappointed we didn't win.

"We were always in the contest and we are frustrated we missed three or four chances. There were two forward pass decisions that were flat at best. They were tries.

"We are frustrated that it ended the way it did, a scrum reversal giving them the match and the bonus point.

"We were in the contest all the way through and looked sharp, dangerous and physical."

Leicester Tigers: Veainu; Thompstone, Betham, Tait, Goneva; Williams, Harrison; Ayerza, Ghiraldini, Balmain, Barrow, Kitchener, Slater (capt), McCaffrey, Fonua.

Replacements: Bateman, Genge, Cole, Croft, Evans, B Youngs, Bell, Smith.

Worcester Warriors: Pennell; Heem, Symons, Mills, Vuna; Heathcote, Hougaard; Rapava Ruskin, Annett, Schonert, Cavubati, Barry, Dowson, Kirwan, van Velze (capt).

Replacements: Bregvadze, Leleimalefaga, Johnston, O'Callaghan, Betty, Baldwin, Lamb, Hammond.

Referee: Greg Garner (RFU)

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