London Welsh 5 (try Scott), Leicester 26 (tries Thacker 2, Kitchener, Barbieri; cons Bell 3)

LONDON Welsh were well beaten by Leicester Tigers at the Kassam Stadium this afternoon, despite a much-improved display.

The Exiles ensured there was no repeat of last week's 71-7 humiliation at Wasps and even took the lead with a try from wing Nick Scott.

But Tigers ran out deserving winners, with their driving maul a very potent weapon.

Hooker Harry Thacker scored two tries from such a platform during a highly impressive display.

Welsh had their moments, with No 8 Opeti Fonua catching the eye on his first start, but they are still miles away from their first win, with leaders Northampton visiting next week.

They began the match 11 points adrift at the bottom after Newcastle beat Gloucester on Friday night to climb above London Irish and that is how they remain.

Welsh made two late changes to their bench, with Alan Awcock replacing new signing Elliot Kear, whose wife gave birth to their child on Saturday night, and Nathan Morris coming in for Koree Britton, who had a back injury.

Tigers fly half Freddie Burns saw his long-range penalty drift wide on six minutes after Welsh were pinged on their own scrum ball.

Leicester dominated the territory, but made a surprising number of errors.

Burns missed a further penalty attempt and then suddenly Welsh were on the attack.

Captain Tom May sent a drop-goal attempt wide on 23 minutes, but Tigers could not get control of the ball before Welsh scored the opening try.

With Tigers stranded on their left, full back Seb Jewell's cross kick allowed Scott to catch and slide over.

Fly half Gordon Ross missed the tricky conversion, but Welsh's confidence had clearly risen.

They were, however, conceding too many penalties and one of these saw Tigers go for the corner and set up a driving maul in which Thacker went over.

Burns missed the conversion and it was all to play for at 5-5.

Welsh flanker Lachlan McCaffrey was just beaten to the ball in the Tigers' goal area as he tried to capitalise on a chargedown.

At the other end, Tigers were rewarded well for passing up a by kickable penalty.

After they went for the corner, Thacker was driven over for his second try, with full back Tommy Bell, who had taken over the kicking duties, converting.

Tigers led 12-5 at the break, but there had been many good signs for Welsh, not least the ball-carrying ability of Fonua.

Leicester passed up another kickable penalty just after the restart, but wasted the chance with as crooked line-out.

But they kept pressing, with former Oxford University student Jamie Gibson losing the ball after breaking well into the Welsh 22.

Soon afterwards, a slick passing move created the space, which allowed Tigers lock Graham Kitchener to finish via some neat footwork and a powerful lunge.

Bell converted for 19-5 and Leicester had control.

Welsh brought on prop Nathan Trevett for his first appearance of an injury-hit season, but needed some spark quickly.

Tigers' driving maul was proving devastating and it was no surprise that try No 4 came from that source, replacement Robert Barbieri applying the finishing touch.

Bell converted for 26-5, while Fonua lost the ball as he tried to pull a try back for Welsh from a line-out move of their own.

Fonua was injured in the attempt and replaced by Ben Pienaar.

The match petered out in the final ten minutes, with Tigers happy enough to have recorded a bonus-point victory and Welsh lacking the attacking platform.

London Welsh: Jewell, Stegmann, Reynolds, May (capt) (Awcock 69), Scott, Ross (Robinson 68), R Lewis (Rowley 73), Reeves (Trevett 54), Vella (Morris 50), Vea (Cooper 73), Corker (Schofield 54), Down, P Browne, McCaffrey, Fonua (Pienaar 69).

Leicester Tigers: Bell, Scully, Smith (Tait 59), Allen, Thompstone, Burns (Williams 63), Mele (Tresidder 73), Rizzo (Bristow 71), Thacker, Cole (Balmain 67), Thorn (capt) (Pearce 67), Kitchener, Gibson, Salvi (Barbieri 45), Crane (Salvi 57, Farnworth 73).

Referee: D Richards Man-of-the-match: Thacker.

Attendance: 3,249.