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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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|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle Falcons|
|15:00||Leicester Tigers vs Sale Sharks|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|13:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com