Premiership: Leicester Tigers 30-23 Sale Sharks
Leicester (20) 30
- Slater, Thompstone, penalty try
- Williams 3
- Williams 3
Sale (6) 23
- Cueto, Ingall
- Macleod 2
- Macleod 2, Ford
Leicester Tigers survived a second-half fightback from Sale Sharks to claim victory at Welford Road.
The Tigers built a 20-6 lead with tries from Ed Slater and Alex Thompstone and 10 points kicked by Owen Williams.
Converted tries from Mark Cueto and Charlie Ingall brought the visitors within three points after the break.
However, Leicester made the game safe after they were awarded a late penalty try following several infringements from Sale at the scrum.
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill had made nine changes to his side following their 49-10 defeat by Saracens and one of those, Ed Slater, broke the deadlock after two minutes.
The lock forward went over to the left of the posts after good work from Thomas Waldrom and Owen Williams. Former Scarlets fly-half Williams added the conversion and then scored a penalty when Sale were punished for failing to roll away in the tackle.
Sale centre Sammy Tuitupou was sent to the sin bin for foul play midway through the first half and Tigers capitalised by scoring their second try.
Dan Bowden showed vision to find Thompstone with a long pass which cut out two players and the winger dived over the try line on the left wing under pressure from Sale's Ingall.
Following consultation with the Television Match Official the score was given and Williams added the conversion from out wide for a 17-0 lead.
Sale fly-half Nick Macleod reduced the arrears with a penalty and Leicester went in 20-6 ahead at the break after another penalty each from Williams and Macleod.
Four minutes after the restart Leicester extended their lead with further kick from Williams but Sale rallied shortly afterwards when the ball was spread wide to an overlapping Cueto. The former England international crossed in the corner, with Macleod adding the extras.
After Leicester had passed up further scoring opportunities in the second half, Sale ran in their second try of the match from another counter-attack.
Back-row James Gaskell broke through the defensive lines and the ball was passed to the right wing for Ingall to sprint over the line. Macleod kicked the conversion to narrow Leicester's lead to three points with a quarter of the match remaining.
However Sale's impetus was halted by a series of scrums in their own 22 and, following several penalties awarded to Tigers for set-piece infringements, referee Matthew Carley eventually awarded a penalty try.
Williams, deputising for the injured Toby Flood, capped a flawless kicking display by converting for a 30-20 lead.
Leicester ran out of time to score a fourth try, which would have given them a bonus point, and Joe Ford kicked a late penalty which secured the visitors a losing bonus point.
VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill told BBC Radio Leicester:
"It was a good win. We created lots of opportunities that we didn't take, certainly in the first half.
"We didn't take them and we should have. We made some silly mistakes in their 22 but overall we did some pretty good things.
"We need to sharpen up in the defence at times but it is a little bit difficult when you play with a makeshift midfield.
"We are as much to blame as anybody else for not taking our opportunities. Sale came and worked hard. We have got things to improve on but you take the win and crack on."
Leicester Tigers: Tait; Morris, Goneva, Bowden, Thompstone; Williams, B Youngs; Ayerza, T Youngs, Cole; Deacon (capt), Slater; Gibson, Salvi, Waldrom.
Replacements: Smith for Bowden (49), Crane for Waldrom (58), Lamb for Williams (74). Not used: Briggs, Stankovich, Balmain, de Chaves, Mele.
Sale Sharks: Miller; Ingall, Cueto, Tuitupou, Brady; Macleod, Peel; Roberts, Jones, Cobilas; Ostrikov, Paterson; Gaskell, Braid (capt), Fahiki.
Replacements: Taylor for Jones (49), Harrison for Roberts (49), Thomas for Cobilas (49), Seymour for Braid (49), Mills for Ostrikov (60), Ford for Macleod (60), Cliff for Peel (69). Not used: Forsyth.
Sin Bin: Tuitupou (21).
Referee: Matthew Carley (RFU).