views

Cockerill eyes top spot as Moody keeps Tigers roaring

NEWCASTLE (7) vs LEICESTER (31)

LEICESTER boss Richard Cockerill has challenged his side to finish top of the Guinness Premiership after crushing Newcastle at Kingston Park.

The Tigers ran in four first-half tries to leapfrog Northampton and reach the summit, although the Saints have a game in hand.

England flanker Lewis Moody scored two tries as Leicester secured their place in the end-of-season play-offs with two matches remaining.

But Cockerill insists there is still plenty to play for and has set his sights on repeating last year’s feat and securing top spot. “We want to finish top of the table,” Cockerill said. “We did that last year and we want to retain it. It’s a tough league week in, week out and we want to finish top of it again.

“We’re a good side and if we play well, we’ll cause any side problems, but the focus has to be on doing the simple things well which we did today and that bodes well for the semi-finals.”

The game was all over in the opening 30 minutes with Moody (twice), Johne Murphy and Toby Flood all touching down with Flood converting each one.

Charlie Amesbury replied with a 48th-minute try for the relegation-threatened Falcons, which Jimmy Gopperth converted, before Jeremy Staunton added a late penalty.

But while the Tigers boosted their title hopes, London Irish suffered a massive blow after going down 23-13 at home to struggling Leeds.

The Exiles, without a host of first-teamers through injury, went behind after a mistake from England full-back Delon Armitage let in centre Luther Burrell to score.

Peter Hewat brought the Exiles to within three points with a try two minutes before half-time, but after Chris Malone and Leeds’ Ceiron Thomas exchanged penalties, Jon Goodridge wrapped it up for the visitors after Lee Blackett intercepted a loose pass.