London Welsh gave Leicester Tigers a fright as they briefly threatened to record their first win at Welford Road since 1987 on Saturday.

Basement club Exiles led 10-7 at the break – the first time they have done so in the Aviva Premiership this season – thanks to Koree Britton’s try.

But two early second-half scores from Laurence Pearce, followed by the sending-off of Welsh No 8 Chris Hala’ufia, left the Oxford-based visitors seeing out the remaining 25 minutes with 14 men and they lost 38-17 – their 20th successive league defeat.

The Tigers took full advantage with Sam Harrison, Jamie Gibson and Tom Youngs all touching down, while Opeti Fonua powered over for Welsh.

Ben Youngs gave Tigers an early lead, bursting through for a try, which Freddie Burns converted.


Exiles replied with a penalty by Chris Elder from five yards inside his own half.

Elder’s preparations for a second penalty, which he missed weren’t helped by the intrusion of a streaker, who was tackled by Hala’ufia Welsh took the lead when Nic Reynolds fed Hala’ufia, who offloaded to the fast-arriving Britton, the hooker diving over under the sticks.

Will Robinson converted and Leicester went off at half-time to a chorus of boos.

A Tigers onslaught came within two minutes of the restart when Pearce was driven over in the corner.

Then a piece of brilliance from Mathew Tait set up a second try for Pearce.

The match was decided in the 65h minute when Hala’ufia’s tackle on Pearce drew a red card from referee Tim Wigglesworth.

The 14 remaining Exiles fought on gamely, but could not stop further tries from Harrison and Gibson.

Exiles hit back when Fonua tapped a penalty and there was no stopping the big No 8. Robinson converted.

There was still time for replacement Tom Youngs to go over for Tigers, whose second half conversions came from Burns and Harrison (2).

Leicester Tigers: Morris, Scully, Tait, Catchpole (Bai 63), Thompstone, Burns (Bell 68), B Youngs (Harrison 60), Rizzo (Balmain 48), Ghiraldini (T Youngs 48), Mulipoa (Brugnara 65), Thorn  (Parling 50),  Kitchener, Gibson, Salvi, Pearce (Crane 60).

London Welsh: Awcock (Rowley 68), Crane, Reynolds, Lewis, Elder, Barkley, Lewis (Robinson 18), Trevett (Aholelei 4), Britton (Morris 53), Cooper (Gilding 65), West (McNally 47), Corker (capt), Pienaar (Thorpe 51), Waters (Thorpe 18-23, Fonua 63), Hala’ufia.

Referee: T Wigglesworth.

Attendance: 23,016.