Home team Away Team

Northampton

  • Fotuali'i, Waller,
    Penalty goals: Wilson, Hooley,
16 - 22

Leicester

  • Allen,
    Penalty goals: Williams (5),
    Conversions: Williams,
  • Aviva Premiership
  • 29th Mar 2014
  • KO 15:15
  • Ground: Franklin's Gardens
  • Att: 13,459

Aviva Premiership: Leicester Tigers earn deserved 22-16 victory over Northampton Saints

By Ben Hampshire | @BH92   Last updated: 31st March 2014  

ETHANWALKER SAINTS TRY walker

Ethan Waller: Crossed late as Northampton launched a spirited fightback

LEICESTER TIGERS CELEBRATE SAINTS

Celebrations all round for Leicester as they beat Midlands rivals Northampton

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Leicester Tigers saw out a late Northampton Saints surge with 13 men to secure a 22-16 victory over their midlands rivals in Saturday's Aviva Premiership showdown.

In a repeat of last year's Grand Final the defending champions excelled in control and discipline to overcome the Saints, who remain second as the battle for play-off place in the top flight intensifies.

Anthony Allen crossed for Leicester before Owen Williams kept the scoreboard ticking with a peerless goal-kicking display.

Kahn Fotuali'i and Ethan Waller scored for Northampton but a litany of errors from the kicking tee ensured they fell six points short.

A clear air of tension surrounded Franklin's Gardens as the hosts made an authoritative start, Wales winger George North making a series of probing runs, drawing a penalty from the Tigers, which Will Hooley converted into three points.

However, it was the defending champions who registered the opening try with a powerful attack, spearheaded by Ed Slater and Jamie Gibson, before a long pass from Ben Youngs picked out a loitering Allen on the right flank and the inside centre crashed over the line.

Despite taking bruising hits from a rampaging North in the opening exchanges, Owen Williams - enjoying his first taste of a midlands derby - struck the conversion from the right touchline and added a penalty moments later as the Tigers established a seven-point lead.

Leicester's composure and physicality seized control of the tie as 22-year-old Williams added a third penalty as the hosts' deficit increased to 10 points.

Saints made a rare foray into Leicester territory on the cusp of half time and appeared to have Richard Cockerill's defensive ranks wavering.

Tigers remained firm to hold Northampton on the line after Jamie Elliott's kick-chase, but Fotuali'I had enough power to dart over and bring Saints within five points of the visitors.

Hooley's radar continued to let Saints down from tee as his conversion sailed past the posts; had he been on target, the scores would have been level at the break.

Authority

Leicester continued to assert their authority following the restart as Logovi'i Mulipola charged into Northampton territory, then Manu Tuilagi exerted too much force and was penalised for a high tackle.

Northampton's craving for first-choice kicker Stephen Myler was accentuated as Hooley failed to capitalise once more, before Ryan Wilson assumed fly-half duties.

The dominance of the Tigers pack forced another penalty at the scrum and Williams, who controlled proceedings throughout with his distribution and game management, struck the first points of the second half.

Williams further extended the Tigers advantage another with another penalty just after the hour before Saints launched a spirited comeback.

The ever-potent North stormed his way to the Tigers 22 with a 50-metre break before his progress was halted by Youngs, who was sent to the sin bin for his effort.

Saints advanced briskly and looked certain to cross the whitewash as Ken Pisi was lined up on the right wing, only for Scott Hamilton to make a last-ditch try-saving tackle.

Leicester showed signs of cracking under pressure as Niki Genova was shown a yellow card.

Saints made the most of their numerical advantage as Waller flew over on the left flank after the depleted Leicester defence was stretched, but Wilson's failure at the tee meant the hosts were still in need of a converted try.

Northampton opted to play the cross-field ball in search of Pisi but Tuilagi beat the Saints winger to the high ball.

There appeared to be time left to play on the stadium clock but referee Wayne Barnes disagreed and brought an end to proceedings without the line-out, much to the disgruntlement of the home crowd.

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Forthcoming Aviva Premiership Fixtures
TimeFixture
Aviva Premiership
Friday 6th March
Aviva Premiership
19:45Bath vs Sale Sharks
Saturday 7th March
15:00Exeter vs London Welsh
15:00Harlequins vs London Irish
15:15Gloucester vs Northampton
Sunday 8th March
14:00Wasps vs Saracens
15:00Newcastle Falcons vs Leicester Tigers
Friday 27th March
19:45Northampton vs Wasps
Saturday 28th March
15:00London Irish vs Newcastle
15:00Leicester vs Exeter
15:15Saracens vs Harlequins
Sunday 29th March
14:00Sale vs Gloucester
14:30London Welsh vs Bath
Friday 10th April
19:45Newcastle vs Bath
Saturday 11th April
15:00Harlequins vs Gloucester
15:15Saracens vs Leicester
Sunday 12th April
14:00Exeter vs Northampton
14:30London Welsh vs Wasps
15:00London Irish vs Sale
Saturday 25th April
14:00Sale vs Harlequins
15:00Gloucester vs Newcastle
15:00Bath vs London Irish
15:00Northampton vs Saracens
15:00Leicester vs London Welsh
Sunday 26th April
14:00Wasps vs Exeter
Saturday 9th May
14:00Sale vs Newcastle

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