Northampton Saints add to Leicester's woeful run
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Northampton Saints are up to fifth in the Premiership Rugby table after a domineering and free-flowing 29-15 win at Welford Road in the East Midlands Derby.
Saints were quicker out of the blocks than Leicester Tigers right from the off in the derby, scoring three superb tries in the first half through Cobus Reinach and Tom Collins’ double.
All Leicester could muster was a George Ford penalty but Dan Biggar replied with three in the third quarter before Ford grabbed Leicester’s first try, followed up by a late consolation for Tom Youngs in a strangely off-kilter Tigers performance.
Amid a feisty opening Saints got things moving with a try befitting any East Midlands Derby, with wing Collins making an outside break from his 22 and going 50 metres before popping left to the waiting Reinach.
The hosts soon fired back with a penalty for Ford and Biggar replied, before, on 33 minutes, Rory Hutchinson scythed in off the flank and this time Collins was on hand to benefit.
A third excellent Saints try would follow minutes later, as Hutchinson cleaned up inside his own 22 and several phases later Taqele Naiyaravoro offloaded back inside to the waiting Collins.
Saints led 20-3 at the break and maintained their pressure in the opening to the second half, with Biggar kicking three penalties to take it to 29-3.
The Tigers struggled to gain any territory until the final quarter, when on 67 minutes and after a multitude of phases Ford jinked his way over the line from five metres out.
Ford kicked the conversion to cut the deficit to 29-10 and had to go for broke in the final ten minutes, but the punishing Saints defence was in no mood to relent until Youngs’ late consolation in the corner.
For Leicester Tigers:
Tries: Ford, Youngs
For Northampton Saints:
Tries: Reinach, Collins 2
Pens: Biggar 4
Yellow cards: Mike Williams ( Leicester Tiger, 29), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 51) Jamie Gibson ( Northampton Saints, 78)
Leicester: 15 Jordan Olowofela, 14 Sam Aspland-Robinson, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Guy Thompson, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Will Spencer, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Jake Kerr, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Mike Fitzgerald, 21 Ben White, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Gareth Owen
Northampton: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Tom Collins, 13 Rory Hutchinson, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Teimana Harrison (captain), 7 Heinrich Brüssow, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 Alex Moon, 3 Paul Hill, 2 James Fish, 1 Francois van Wyk
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Ben Franks, 19 James Craig, 20 Tom Wood, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 Andrew Kellaway, 23 George Furbank
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Jack Makepeace & Paul Dix.
TMO: Graham Hughes