Tuqiri breaks the ice with Leicester Tigers

Lote Tuqiri scored his first tries for Leicester as the Tigers thrashed Wasps 34-8 to move to the top of the English Premier League table on Saturday.

Tuqiri, a former Australia international in both league and union, joined the Tigers in November after an alleged code of conduct breach put paid to his 67-cap career with the Wallabies, which yielded 31 Test tries.

The dynamic back scored twice in the second-half as Leicester, who’d cleared more than 20 tonnes of snow from their Welford Road ground, pulled clear from their old rivals in the only one of this weekend’s Premiership matches to survive the big freeze engulfing Britain.

“Playing behind a pack like ours is sensational, and it was tremendous to get the tries after being here for seven weeks,” Tuqiri said.

“This is one great club and I’m already having a good time, even with this weather,” he added.

Leicester were 8-3 behind shortly before the break following an early try from Mark van Gisbergen and a Danny Cipriani penalty.

But they hit back on the stroke of half-time through Johne Murphy’s try, converted by Toby Flood.

Then came Tuqiri’s double and a penalty try with England fly-half Flood kicking 14 points in all in a match where Leicester’s victory was built on a dominant display at the scrum.

“I am so proud because we’ve beaten a very fine team after working so hard all week to get the game on,” said Leicester coach Richard Cockerill.

“On average we do 15-20 scrums a week, but I’ve played in France and we have some Argentine guys here so our scrummaging experience is good,” the former England front-row added.

Meanwhile Cockerill’s Wasps counterpart Tony Hanks was happy with the display of Danny Cipriani, out of favour with England manager Martin Johnson, in the talented back’s preferred position of fly-half even though the playmaker spurned a kick at goal which could have extended the visitors’ lead.

“I was pleased with Danny Cipriani’s performance at fly-half,” said Hanks.

“He is back to good form, and while it was a bit ambitious not taking that penalty in the first half when we led 8-3, that is now the reason we go home empty handed.”

Worryingly for England, ahead of Johnson’s announcement next week of his squad for the upcoming Six Nations, Wasps’ veteran Test lock Simon Shaw suffered a knee injury.

“Simon Shaw suffered a hyper-expansion of the knee so we took him off as a precaution,” Hanks explained.

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