Coach’s gushing praise as ‘outstanding’ Flood stuns star-studded Ospreys

LEICESTER coach Heyneke Meyer hailed a “brilliant” performance by Toby Flood after Tigers launched their Heineken Cup campaign with victory over the Ospreys at Welford Road.

Fly-half Flood kicked all Leicester’s points in a win which could not fail to have impressed watching England coaches John Wells and Mike Ford.

Flood even played through the pain barrier for part of the second half after suffering a dead leg which eventually forced him off. But he had already done his job as Leicester quelled a late Ospreys revival to take the points after a tense Pool Three encounter.

Meyer said: “I wanted Toby to step up to the next level, and I felt he was outstanding.”

His accuracy made the difference, James Hook missing two kicks that could have tied the contest.

Leicester skipper Martin Corry added: “It was a first-class performance by Toby. There is an air of confidence about him, not arrogance, and he delivered. We are extremely happy to have Toby playing in a Leicester shirt.

“To beat a team of the Ospreys’ calibre is very satisfying – these type of games are all about the result. Our endeavour in the first half was the best it has been this season.”

The star-studded Ospreys, meanwhile, travelled to the east midlands without their suspended centre Gavin Henson, who is serving a two-match ban imposed by his employers.

And it was a lacklustre Ospreys display, apart from the closing stages when they put sustained pressure on Leicester inside the home side’s 22.

Ospreys wing wizard Shane Williams hardly received a pass, such was Leicester’s dominance and control of possession. Williams’ scoring contribution was confined to a drop-goal, with Hook adding a penalty as Tigers avenged their defeat to the Ospreys in last season’s EDF Energy Cup final.

Ospreys head coach Sean Holley declared the Henson episode a matter of “case closed”, preferring to concentrate on his team’s performance.

Holley said: “We are very pleased with the losing bonus point. We are right in this pool, fighting.

“When you come to Welford Road, Leicester have got a 16th man – the crowd — and they deserved their win, but I thought our players showed tremendous character.”

LEICESTER: G. Murphy, J. Murphy, D Hipkiss, A Mauger, M Smith, T Flood, H Ellis; M Ayerza, B Kayser, J White, M Corry, B Kay, T Croft, B Woods, J Crane.

Replacements: A Tuilagi for Smith, 58; D Hougaard for Flood, 57; G Chuter for Kayser, 62; D Cole for White, 65; R Blaze for Corry, 74; M Wentzel for Kay, 69.

OSPREYS: L Byrne, N Walker, T Bowe, A. Bishop, S Williams, J Hook, Wells; P James, R Hibbard, A. Jones, A Wyn-Jones, I Evans, J Thomas, M Holah, R. Jones.

Replacements: D Biggar for Walker, 50; R Webb for Wells, 72; H Bennett for Hibbard, 44; I Gough for Wyn-Jones, 67; A Tiatia for Thomas, 50.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland).

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