London Welsh’s Aviva Premiership survival hopes suffered a blow after defeat against leaders Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Saturday.

Exiles were left to rue their first half performance as they left empty-handed.

With Sale Sharks and London Irish both winning, the weekend’s results leave Welsh just six points off bottom place.

Adam Thompstone’s try and the boot of George Ford saw the home side head in at the break 16-3 to the good, with five minutes still remaining of Welsh flanker Michael Hills’s yellow card.

But after clawing their way back to 16-12, with three unanswered Gordon Ross strikes, Welsh had hopes of more than just a losing bonus point.

Even after Niall Morris went over for Leicester, Welsh were not without their chances.

In the final quarter, however, the Exiles were unable to capitalise on Jordan Crane’s yellow card.

Dan Bowden’s last minute try flattered the home side, with the Exiles worthy of a bonus point on their second half efforts alone.

Next Sunday, London Welsh face Sale Sharks in a crunch clash at the Kassam Stadium.

LINE-UPS Leicester: Tait (Murphy 68), Morris, Smith, Allen, Thompstone, Ford (Bowden 73), Harrison (Young 73), Ayerza, Hawkins, Mulipola (Balmain 68), Deacon (capt), Kitchener (Slater 56), Croft (Deacon 74), Salvi, Crane. Reps not used: Chuter, Brookes.

London Welsh: Arscott, MacKenzie (Jewell 69, Tiesi, Parker, Scott, Ross (Henson 59), Keats (Lewis 59), Montanella (Bristow 65), Briggs, Bateman, Mills (capt), Corker (M Purdy 77), Balding, Hills (Tideswell 73), Jackson. Reps not used: George, Williamson.

Referee: T Wigglesworth.

Attendance: 20,065.