Premiership: Leicester Tigers 41-18 Sale Sharks

Freddie Burns
Freddie Burns made his final appearance at Welford Road this season before his move to Bath in the summer
Aviva Premiership
Leicester (20) 41
Tries: Burns, Kitchener, Williams, Roberts, McGuigan Cons: Burns 4, Williams Pens: Burns 2
Sale (10) 18
Tries: Webber, Evans Cons: MacGinty Pens: MacGinty 2

Leicester took a big step to securing a top-four finish with a bonus-point win against Sale at Welford Road.

Rob Webber's try put the Sharks ahead from a line-out before Freddie Burns and Graham Kitchener scores gave the Tigers a 20-10 lead at the break.

Owen Williams, Jack Roberts and George McGuigan went over for Leicester before Bryn Evans' consolation try for Sale.

Leicester's place in the play-offs will be confirmed if Bath fail to beat Gloucester on Sunday.

Matt O'Connor's side can confirm their top-four place with two points in their final game at Worcester, no matter what Bath do in their final two games.

In front of a crowd of nearly 24,000, their highest gate of the season, Leicester, who had lost their past three games against Sale, looked dangerous throughout and passed the 40-point mark in the Premiership for the second time this season.

Sale's rugby league convert Josh Charnley was shown a yellow card early on for taking out wing Adam Thompstone in the air, and Bath-bound fly-half Burns knocked over his first penalty in a 19-point haul.

Thompstone, along with try-scoring lock Kitchener, both made their 100th starts for Leicester as the club look to be heading for a top-four finish for the 13th straight season.

After losing lock Andrei Ostrikov in the warm-up, the 10th-placed visitors had to deal with prop Ross Harrison going off midway through the first half, with 20-year-old Portugal international Diogo Ferreira replacing him for his debut.

Leicester head coach Matt O'Connor said: "Tigers in the semi-final? There will be some clubs looking over their shoulders.

"Fair credit to the lads, they have worked hard to nail that detail and it was really pleasing to hear the crowd almost happy again.

"We misfired a bit in the first half and we were a bit slow in the second half to get going, but I am pleased with the result."

O'Connor on Freddie Burns: "He can play, he's a good lad. He has been good for the group. He works hard and he has been a fantastic character to have around."

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond said: "It was a reflection of our season. We are good in parts and then we undo ourselves.

"We built the first 25-30 minutes and we were taking line-out off them and then we gave the ball away. It was a bit disappointing really.

"After the first 10 or 15 minutes of the second half we could not get in the game. They were more physical and they were dominant around the tackle area.

"They tackled people past the ruck and didn't get pulled for it, which is what they are good at."

Leicester: Tait; Thompstone, Roberts, O Williams, Pietersen; Burns, B Youngs; Genge, T Youngs (capt), Cole, Barrow, Kitchener, M Williams, O'Connor, Hamilton.

Replacements: G McGuigan, Bateman, Balmain, Fitzgerald, Thacker, Harrison, Smith, Betham.

Sale: Haley; Solomona, James, Jennings, Charnley; MacGinty, Phillips; Harrison, Webber (capt), Longbottom, Evans, Nott, Neild, T Curry, Pearce.

Replacements: B Curry, Flynn, Ferreira, Lund, Seymour, Stringer, Leota, B McGuigan.

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