Record crowds usher in Premiership

The six fixtures on the opening weekend of the new Guinness Premiership season attracted a record 104,415 spectators through the turnstiles.

The six fixtures on the opening weekend of the new Guinness Premiership season attracted a record 104,415 spectators through the turnstiles.

Every one of those fans was left in little doubt of Leicester’s title ambitions after the Tigers opened their campaign with a resounding 35-23 victory over defending champions Sale at Welford Road.

Leicester buried the memories of last season’s 45-20 Grand Final mauling from the Sharks with a bonus-point victory as they outscored the visitors by four tries to two.

“The result last May was hard to take and it made the summer tough,” said Tigers captain Martin Corry.

“Something like that hangs over you, especially when it is the last game of the season. But it was a case of drawing a line in the sand and resetting our goals. We have laid a few ghosts to rest with this result.”

England fly-half Charlie Hodgson scored 18 points for Sale, who led 23-19 after Sebastien Bruno’s try.

However the Sharks were punished for their indiscipline as Leicester scored 16 unanswered points in the second half, culminating with a penalty try when Sale’s front-row buckled under relentless pressure.

Wing Geordan Murphy, flanker Louis Deacon and prop Alex Moreno claimed earlier touchdowns, while fly-half Andy Goode kicked 15 points as Leicester stretched their unbeaten home league record to 27 games.

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