Tuilagi celebrates ton in style
Tuilagi celebrates ton in styleSHARE
Joe Cokanasiga scored his first Premiership try in the first half with Matt Toomua replying for the Tigers as a scrappy opening 40 ended 7-5 to the hosts.
Jonny May's neat finish extended the Tigers' advantage with Tuilagi's acrobatic try earned them the four points but Alex Lewington's try gave Irish a losing bonus point.
After Greig Tonks missed an early penalty, Cokanasiga opened the scoring on 21 minutes after referee Karl Dickson consulted with the TMO.
Ford had lost the ball in the tackle with the Irish wing hacking through before dotting down under pressure from Adam Thompstone and May.
Tonks' conversion hammered into the upright.
The Tigers levelled when Brendan O'Connor charged through before offloading out the back of his hand to Toomua who was able to dive over.
Ford made it 7-5 to the hosts at half-time with a successful conversion.
Tigers took the lead for the first time as they created an overlap and May was able to get the ball down on the line on 41 minutes.
Tonks reduced the deficit to 12-8 with a penalty after 56 minutes as Tuilagi was penalised for being off his feet at the ruck.
The England centre redeemed himself though as Tigers hammered on the Irish line with the 26-year-old diving over a ruck in front of the posts for Leicester's third.
No sooner had Tigers established their 11-point lead that Irish replied as Cokanasiga's neat offload found Lewington who beat two defenders to score a fine solo try.
Tonks' conversion reduced the deficit to 19-15 with Tigers ending a run of four straight Premiership defeats.
For Leicester Tigers:
Tries: Toomua, May, Tuilagi
Cons: Ford 2
For London Irish:
Tries: Cokanasiga, Lewington
Leicester Tigers: 15 Jonny May, 14 Nick Malouf, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 George Ford (captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Mike Fitzgerald, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Greg Bateman, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Valentino Mapapalangi, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mathew Tait
London Irish: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Tom Fowlie, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 James Marshall, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Max Northcote-Green, 6 Mike Coman (captain), 5 Teofilo Paulo, 4 Franco van der Merwe, 3 Petrus du Plessis, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 Gordon Reid
Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Sebastian De Chaves, 20 Blair Cowan, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Theo Brophy Clews, 23 Aseli Tikoirotuma
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: Peter Allan and Roy Maybank.
TMO: Rowan Kitt.