Pollard stars as Tigers end Saints' run of three successive wins
SATURDAY WRAP: World Cup winning Springbok Handre Pollard contributed 16 points with the boot to help Leicester Tigers overcome a stubborn Northampton Saints in the Premiership on Saturday.
The Tigers recorded a 26-17 victory over Saints as Leicester led for much of the game, but it was never entirely comfortable, despite the prolific boot of Pollard.
His fellow South Africans, Francois van Wyk and Hanru Liebenberg, scored Leicesters’ tries, Van Wyk going over first as Saints were reduced to 13 men.
It would be the result Tigers head coach Dan McKellar needed as his side entered the game with just one win in the Premiership all season.
Having their World Cup stars back in the fold helped them secure the victory that lifted them to eighth in the table and ended Saints’ three-game winning run.
Northampton starlet Fin Smith committed to the style that’s brought Saints’ success so far, but those opportunities were few and far between.
Ben Youngs, who retired from international rugby as England’s most capped men’s player at the end of the World Cup, set a new derby appearance record as he started his 28th meeting.
The hosts had the perfect start as George Furbank’s fumble set Pollard up for an easy kick for the first points of the game inside three minutes.
Tigers had a try ruled out by the TMO and a long-range penalty from Smith was enough for Northampton to momentarily restore parity midway through the first half despite failing to seriously threaten.
Two penalties from Pollard in two minutes was the catalyst that put Leicester six points up at the break.
Northamptons’ James Ramm chased down a searching kick over the top, but he could only knock on over the line as Saints struggled to find their feet.
Van Wyk came off the bench to eventually go over for the hosts, punishing Saints for repeated penalties that had them down to 13 men when Ethan Waller was also shown a yellow card.
Things just did not go the way of Northampton as another intervention from the TMO denied Tommy Freeman for a knock-on.
Alex Coles would go on to have another try ruled out for Saints, but Leicester flank Liebenberg put the result beyond doubt with a quick tap before diving over.
Leicester Tigers 26-17 Northampton Saint
Tries: Van Wyk, Liebenberg
Cons: Pollard 2
Pens: Pollard 4
Tries: Burbank, Matavesi
Cons: Furbank 2
Leicester: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Josh Bassett, 13 Guy Porter, 12 Solomone Kata, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ben Youngs; 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 Hanro Liebenberg ©, 5 Ollie Chessum, 4 Cameron Henderson, 3 Joe Heyes, 2 Charlie Clare, 1 James Cronin
Replacements: 16 Archie Vanes, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Sam Carter, 20 Matt Rogerson, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Jamie Shillcock, 23 Matt Scott.
Northampton: 15 George Furbank, 14 George Hendy, 13 Tommy Freeman, 12 Fraser Dingwall, 11 James Ramm, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Alex Mitchell; 8 Lewis Ludlam ©, 7 Tom Pearson, 6 Alex Coles, 5 Chunya Munga, 4 Alex Moon, 3 Trevor Davison, 2 Curtis Langdon, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Sam Matavesi, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Elliot Millar Mills, 19 Tom Lockett, 20 Henry Pollock, 21 Tom James, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Ollie Sleightholme
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant refereeS: Jack Makepeace, Paul Dix, Richard Gordon
TMO: Hamish Smales
Harlequins 10-38 Saracens
Try: Gonzalez, Hartley, George, Christie, Parton, Lewington
Cons: Farrell 3, Goode
Harlequins: 15 Nick David, 14 Tyrone Green, 13 Oscar Beard, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Louis Lynagh, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Will Porter; 8 Alex Dombrandt ©, 7 Will Evans, 6 Dino Lamb, 5 George Hammond, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Will Collier, 2 Jack Walker, 1 Joe Marler,
Replacements: 16 Sam Riley, 17 Fin Baxter, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Chandler Cunningham-South, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Danny Care, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Will Joseph
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Ivan Van Zyl; 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Andy Christie, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Hugh Tizard, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola,
Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Alec Clarey, 19 Tom Willis, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Olly Hartley, 23 Tom Parton
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Craig Maxwell-Keys and Jamie Leahy
TMO: Tom Foley