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- Aviva Premiership
- Semi Final
- 16th May 2014
- KO 19:45
- Ground: Franklin's Gardens
- Att: 13,591
Aviva Premiership: Tom Wood late try gives Northampton dramatic win over Leicester
Tom Wood scored a dramatic late try to earn Northampton a thrilling 21-20 victory over old foes Leicester in an all-action Aviva Premiership semi-final at Franklin's Gardens.
A pulsating game played in a pulsating atmosphere saw four tries, three yellow cards and one red - amazingly now making it 12 Premiership games in a row between these two teams in which there has seen a sending-off.
Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs scored first-half tries for Leicester but, despite having Salesi Ma'Afu ordered off for punching Tom Youngs, who was himself yellow carded, Northampton were continually on top in the second 40 minutes.
George North gave them hope with his 65th-minute try, and although a late penalty could have knocked the stuffing out of them, Saints kept pushing and pushing until Wood won it for them as he dived over two minutes from the end.
The result sends Northampton to Twickenham after avenging last year's final defeat against Leicester, while also ending the Tigers' incredible run of making the last nine Premiership finals in a row.
Saints swarmed all over Leicester at the start of the game, thundering into bone-crunching tackles, but the Tigers went ahead as Toby Flood kicked a 10th-minute penalty.
Myler responded after 23 minutes but Leicester remained unfazed and they scored the opening try of the night two minutes later when Mathew Tait danced through a couple of tackles before the ball moved right to Tuilagi to simply walk over the line.
The first card of the night then came out as Niki Goneva saw yellow just before the half hour, and Myler slotted the resulting penalty to reduce the gap to 10-6.
Yet even with 14 men Leicester managed to find another try after a Logovi'i Mulipola drive from a line out led to Ben Youngs picking the ball up and diving over for a 17-6 half-time lead.
15-a-side lasted just five minutes of the second half before Leicester's Dan Bowden was given ten minutes in the sin bin for a dangerous tackle, and that was just a sign of things to come.
Myler made it 17-9 before the game erupted again with Tom Youngs and Ma'Afu clashing off the ball. Youngs got a yellow card and a left hook to the jaw - for which Ma'Afu saw red to continue the long run of sendings off in this fixture.
Northampton kept driving forward though and North set up a thrilling finale as he arrived at pace to crash over from close range to make it 17-16, after the conversion, with 15 minutes still left to play.
It looked like being the same old story for Northampton when Owen Williams slotted a penalty for Leicester to go 20-16 in front just eight minutes from time.
Franklin's Gardens was begging for more from their team, however, and they kept pushing and pushing, switching to the left, right and crucially left again where Luther Burrell fed Wood, who fended off a tackler to plunge over.
Myler hit the post with the conversion as it remained 21-20 and gave the Saints fans one more minute of tension to get through. Eventually the crowd and players alike were able to start celebrating the final whistle as Northampton booked their spot in the Aviva Premiership final.
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|Sunday 30th November|
|Newcastle Falcons 13 - 18 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 14 - 43 Northampton|
|London Irish 9 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 29th November|
|Exeter 27 - 19 Saracens|
|Leicester Tigers 18 - 16 Wasps|
|Friday 28th November|
|Bath 25 - 6 Harlequins|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester Tigers|
|Saracens 24 - 31 Northampton|
|Saturday 22nd November|
|London Irish 23 - 33 Bath|
|Exeter 31 - 15 Wasps|
|Friday 21st November|
|Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 Gloucester|
|Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Sunday 16th November|
|Wasps 71 - 7 London Welsh|
|Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 Saracens|
|Saturday 15th November|
|Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle Falcons|
|Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London Irish|
|Friday 14th November|
|Gloucester 15 - 22 Harlequins|
|Northampton 18 - 24 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com