Planet Rugby

Tigers edge Saints in thriller

03rd December 2011 16:17

Share:

Matt Smith Chris Ashton Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints  Aviva

Opening try: Matt Smith scores for Tigers

Leicester needed a late Horacio Agulla try to sneak past Northampton 30-25 in a thrilling Aviva Premiership clash at Welford Road on Saturday.

Leicester came out on top in a feisty East Midlands derby to record their first Premiership home win of the season .

Northampton made an encouraging start but, after settling for a Ryan Lamb penalty, it wasn't long before Leicester worked their way back into the game and regained parity through Toby Flood.

Things really heated up after 13 minutes though when Chris Ashton dragged Alessana Tuilagi into touch by his hair, sparking a mass brawl. Tuilagi received a straight red card for his reaction, seemingly a much lesser offence than his younger brother's on the same man in the same fixture at the end of last season when a yellow card was the punishment.

Northampton flanker and reported England captaincy candidate Tom Wood was also sent off though for his part in the melee, making it 14-a-side for the remainder of the match, and the Saints found it difficult to adjust a man light in the back row.

Ashton escaped the incident unscathed but was made to suffer moments later when Matt Smith ran straight through him, carrying him over the try-line before touching the ball down as close to the corner as possible for one of the finishes of the season so far.

The Leicester pack gradually began to dominate more and more and, after an attacking line-out, Steve Mafi powered through some half-hearted Northampton tackling to score the second try of the game.

Lamb did reduce the deficit slightly for the Saints but they found themselves 15-6 down after an action-packed first half.

Flood edged the Tigers further ahead just two minutes into the second period but Northampton, inspired by Jim Mallinder's team talk, responded immediately. After sucking Leicester's defence into the middle of the field, the ball was spun wide to the left wing for Ashton to apply the finish.

Ben Youngs scored the home side's third try in the 60th minute after a handling error and lack of concentration from the Saints' pack but again Northampton's reply was swift.

Two tries in the space of three minutes gave them a 25-23 lead in what was turning into another classic East Midlands derby. Veteran centre Tom May's score was followed by one from Phil Dowson after Ashton had expertly kept the ball in play out wide.

Further drama was yet to come though as, with less than five minutes remaining, Leicester attacked from deep inside their own twenty-two and created an overlap for Horacio Agulla to surge down the left wing to score and secure a first home Premiership win of the season.

The scorers:

For Leicester:
Tries: Smith, Mafi, Youngs, Agulla
Cons: Flood 2
Pens: Flood 2

For Northampton:
Tries: Ashton, May, Dowson
Cons: Myler 2
Pens: Lamb 2

Red cards: A. Tuilagi (Leicester - 13th min) ; Wood (Northampton - 13th min)

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy (capt), 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 George Skivington, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Ben Woods, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Jeremy Staunton, 23 Scott Hamilton.

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom May, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Dylan Hartley (capt), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Samu Manoa, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Jon Clarke.

Venue: Welford Road
Referee: Wayne Barnes

  • Aviva Prem Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
Saturday , May 3
Saracens vs Worcester15:00
Bath vs Northampton15:00
Wasps vs Newcastle15:00
Exeter vs Harlequins15:00
Sale vs Leicester15:00
Gloucester vs London Irish15:00
Saturday , May 10
London Irish vs Sale15:15
Newcastle vs Exeter15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
  • Aviva Prem Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
  • Aviva Prem Table
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058