Leicester head coach Richard Cockerill has backed full-back Geordan Murphy to make a dramatic RBS 6 Nations return following a powerhouse performance in Leicester's 33-11 Guinness Premiership win over Gloucester.
The 31-year-old, who has been limited to just three league appearances since dislocating his shoulder in September, has not played for Declan Kidney’s men since their Grand Slam winning game against Wales.
But with Ireland’s first choice full-backs Rob Kearney ruled out of Saturday’s clash with England, Murphy could not have hit top form at a better time.
Cockerill said: “Geordy is a quality player and when you don't have players like him for a long time you tend to forget how good they are. With him, there is class all round.”
Three early Toby Flood penalties were followed by a Lote Tuqiri try on 35 minutes, Murphy got in on the act shortly after the break and Ben Youngs also crossed with two minutes left.
Flood converted all three and also added a final penalty to send Leicester five points clear at the top.
Second-place Northampton lost ground thanks to a surprise 13-6 defeat to Harlequins for whom full-back Mike Brown scored the only try midway through the first half.
Elsewhere Bath comfortably beat Worcester 37-13 and London Irish were held to a 12-12 draw at Newcastle.