Worcester 20 Leicester 35

Leicester put one foot in the semi-finals of the EDF Energy Cup with a superb all-round display to overwhelm Worcester at Sixways.

The Tigers scored five tries, with a brace for Daryl Gibson being backed up by touchdowns from John Murphy, Sam Vesty and James Buckland.

Worcester produced a typically physical fightback that resulted in Gavin Quinnell

battering his way over the line and an opportunist late score from Ben Gotting. Their resilience will have encouraged Sixways coach John Brain but opposite number Pat Howard has plenty more to be pleased about.

Only some poor finishing prevented Leicester from running riot with Gibson and Olly Smith the architects of some sparkling handling attacks.

Leicester were the one side to buck the trend in the opening round of EDF Energy Cup games with their 41-17 win over Newport-Gwent Dragons and strengthened their side further for this match. Gibson, Geordan Murphy, Louis Deacon, Ben Kay and Julian White all returned to the starting side with England duo Martin Corry and Andy Goode on the bench.

Howard also called up Gavin Hickie into his squad for the first time to make a return trip to Worcester, whom he left to move to Welford Road last summer.

The Warriors had struggled to make an impact in the opening sequence of Premier-ship games but were in buoyant mood after a 24-12 EDF Cup win at Northampton.

Aleki Lutui was handed his first start at hooker, Ryan Powell and Dale Rasmussen returned at scrum-half and centre but three regular starters [2014] Shane Drahm, Marcel Garvey and Aisea Havili [2014] missed out through injury. Even with a full complement, though, they would have struggled to hold a side that has finally find rhythm after early-season setbacks at Gloucester and Bath.

Brown kicked penalties after two and 19 minutes when Worcester battered their way into Tigers' territory but in between the kicks were two sublime Leicester scores.

Smith's adventurous break and floated long pass enabled Gibson to put John Murphy over in the corner and Smith was involved again in a 60-metre raid that ended with Geordan Murphy releasing Vesty for a second try in two minutes.

Burke converted, added a penalty and his side would have been home and dry but for some handling errors, particularly when Vesty attacked from deep.

An inventive long throw fielded by Gibson launched one move that saw John Murphy bundled into touch five metres out, and his fellow wing Geordan Murphy, Jordan Crane and Lewis Moody all impressed in counterattacks from deep that Worcester were relieved to resist.

The Warriors regrouped at half-time, though, and struck immediately by doing what they do best [2014] a series of drives at the line finished off by Quinnell using all his 20-stone bulk to batter his way over with Brown converting.

Burke stretched the gap with a 49th-minute penalty, which was some compensation after hooker Buckland was held up out wide when he should have finished a good chance.

Leicester went back to basics for a catch-and-drive attack that forced Buckland over in the corner, with Goode converting, and Gibson's 68th-minute score in the same corner effectively sealed the victory and another bonus point.

Worcester at least showed there is plenty of potential improvement when they opened the game up late on for Gotting to jink his way over five minutes from time with Brown converting.

Leicester, though, stepped up another gear with Gibson strolling over to complete a victory that should see his side comfortably into the knock-out stages.

WORCESTER: Delport; Tucker, Rasmussen (Avramovic, 73), Whatling, Trueman; Brown, R Powell (M Powell, 73); Horstmann, Sanderson, Quinnell (Harding, 51), Gillies (Collier, 62), Blaze, Horsman, Lutui (Gotting, 62), Tuamoepeau (L Fortey, 40). Replacement: O'Duza.

LEICESTER: Vesty; G Murphy (Lloyd, 57), O Smith, Gibson, J Murphy; Burke (Goode, 59), Bemand (F Murphy, 73); Crane, Moody, L Deacon (Corry, 69), Kay (Jennings, 51), Cullen, White, Buckland (Hickie, 65), Ayerza (Holford, 73).

Referee: R Maybank (RFU). ..SUPL: