Premiership: Leicester Tigers 28-8 Sale Sharks
|Leicester Tigers (20) 28|
|Tries: Pearce, Penalty, Bai Cons: Burns 2 Pens: Burns 3|
|Sale Sharks (3) 8|
|Try: Arscott Pen: Macleod|
Leicester Tigers won a third Premiership game in a row with a comfortable victory over Sale Sharks.
Laurence Pearce's first try for Leicester, as well as a penalty try from a close-range scrum, gave Leicester a 20-3 the lead at the break.
Sale improved in the second half and were rewarded when winger Tom Arscott crossed after a slick passing move.
The Sharks could not make the most of their territory and Seremaia Bai sealed the win for the hosts with a late try.
In a dominant forward display by Leicester, they stopped a Sale team who came into the game off the back of three Premiership wins from playing much rugby throughout the afternoon.
Early pressure from the hosts saw them take the lead through Burns' penalty, but Nick Macleod, in for England's Danny Cipriani at fly-half, levelled it up from the halfway line.
|Sale's struggles against Leicester|
|Sale have lost their last 12 games in all competition against Leicester - they have not beaten the Tigers since September 2009|
Leicester continued their pressure and a good pass by Burns fed back-row forward Pearce to score his side's first try in the Premiership since January.
Sale's cause was not helped when Arscott and Magnus Lund were both sin-binned in the first half, and the hosts took advantage when a powerful scrum was given as a penalty try after it collapsed.
The visitors did improve after the break and after Tigers centre Bai was shown a yellow card, Arscott touched down for his 11th try of the season.
Tigers, who have lost just once in their last 15 matches at Welford Road, scored late on when Bai crashed over and Burns missed his first kick of the six he attempted.
The win means Leicester replace Sale in fifth place and now sit just a point off second-placed Saracens.
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill: "We are going into the business end of the season now and everyone has got to hold their nerve, us included.
"It puts the pressure on Bath who have been running away with it. Now they are going to be put under pressure because they have to win, and Sale go there next week.
"It makes it really interesting. We have been rubbish all season but we are still in the mix. Let's see who blinks first."
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond: "We were comprehensively beaten in the first-half, we were bullied. Leicester were the Leicester of old at home.
"Their forward pack got hold of us and ragdolled us. We only had 10% possession.
"In the second-half we got back into it and had a bit of a brain freeze. We could have got a bonus point out of it if we had had more composure and kicked those penalties from in front of the posts."
Leicester Tigers: Tait; Scully, Goneva, Bai, Thompstone; Burns, Harrison; Ayerza, Briggs, Mulipola, Thorn, Parling, Pearce, Gibson, Crane (capt).
Replacements: Thacker, Rizzo, Balmain, De Chaves, Whetton, Mele, Bell, Loamanu.
Sin Bin: Bai (47)
Sale Sharks: Haley; Arscott, Leota, Tuitupou, Cueto; Macleod, Cusiter; Lewis-Roberts, Jones, V Cobilas, Mills, Hines, Braid (capt), Lund, Beaumont.
Replacements: Taylor, M Cobilas, Harrison, Easter, Seymour, Cliff, Ford, Brady.
Sin Bin: Arscott (17), Lund (28)
Referee: Greg Garner (RFU)