Kyle Eastmond try helps Leicester pin Sale to the bottom of Premiership

first_imgFew will remember this contest with affection but winning ugly, at this precise moment, is perfectly fine with Leicester. Had they lost at home to the league’s basement dwellers Sale and recorded a fourth defeat in five games a proper East Midlands crisis would have had to be declared. As it is, the Tigers now lie seventh in the table, no cause for celebration but enough to call off the hounds for the time being.To describe this as a revival, though, would be strictly relative. Leicester were outscored by three tries to one and, had the Sharks shown even a fraction more composure in their opponents’ 22, the outcome would have been very different. Without George Ford’s all-round influence, Kyle Eastmond’s 13th-minute try and the unceasing efforts of, among others, Guy Thompson and Graham Kitchener, the Tigers might have endured another sorry Sunday. Support The Guardian Read more Since you’re here… Share on Twitter Share on Messenger Read more Share on WhatsApp Premiership … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Sale also missed all three of their conversions plus an eminently kickable first-half penalty, in stark contrast to Ford who slotted everything for a personal tally of 14 points. On three occasions, furthermore, when the visitors looked about to grab a potentially game-defining try, they came away with nothing. Will Cliff knocked on wastefully at the base of a scrum, Sam James failed to find touch with a mishit penalty kick to the corner – two of Sale’s five-pointers came from lineout drives – and, under the posts with three minutes left, Josh Beaumont was unluckily penalised for not releasing under pressure from Thompson. As Leicester’s interim head coach, Geordan Murphy, acknowledged: “The points and win are important but I thought our performance was below par.”In such a dog-eat-dog league he is well aware the Tigers will have to sharpen up considerably, with very little separating the clubs between fourth and 12th in the table. The Sharks may be rock bottom now but there is every prospect of them being significantly harder to beat in the near future when key players such as Chris Ashton, James O’Connor and Faf De Klerk become available again.They are particularly looking forward to welcoming back their buzzing scrum-half De Klerk who, it has emerged, will not be involved at all with South Africa during the November Tests. In return for releasing him for his country’s Rugby Championship fixtures, Sale have negotiated first call on him next month with the Springboks also set to face England without their other Premiership-based players Willie le Roux, Nizaam Carr and Francois Louw. Topics Sale captain Jono Ross: it’s far too early to talk about relegationcenter_img Sale Rugby union Share on LinkedIn match reports As Steve Diamond was quick to stress, the South Africa game at Twickenham technically falls outside the international window, which means Premiership Rugby are not obliged to release players despite the fact there are not any Premiership fixtures scheduled that weekend. “After Newcastle this Friday Faf comes back to us pretty much full time,” Diamond confirmed. “We didn’t see the benefit of bringing him back during the break weeks, so he’ll come back to us after the Rugby Championship.”A half-decent goal-kicker would certainly have assisted the Sharks here, with the late withdrawal of the fly-half AJ MacGinty also reducing their ability to play a territorial game. They did start reasonably well with a sixth-minute try from Marland Yarde but in terms of skill and execution on both sides the game at no stage threatened to rival the rich golfing drama unfolding across the Channel.Even after Ford had kicked his fourth penalty to put Leicester 19-10 ahead with three minutes left the hosts contrived to make life unnecessarily difficult for themselves, conceding a third try to a close-range drive finished off by the replacement Curtis Langdon with a restart still to come. Had Rohan Janse van Rensburg touched down Ford’s long drop-out it would have led to a scrum back on halfway with Sale still in the hunt. It somehow summed up the day that the ball was instead allowed to roll dead, prompting the referee, Craig Maxwell-Keyes, to blow the final whistle. Share on Pinterest Leicester Share via Email Northampton secure victory in breathless encounter at Bristol Share on Facebook Reuse this contentlast_img

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