Planet Rugby

Tigers claim Midland bragging rights

01st October 2008 21:15

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Dan Hipkiss try v Saints

Mobbed: Dan Hipkiss celebrates his crucial score

Leicester Tigers needed two late tries to take the spoils of a terrific East Midlands derby in the Guinness Premiership on Wednesday, downing Northampton Saints 29-19 at Welford Road.

The win was not enough to take Leicester top of the table, but with Sale losing, the Tigers are now in a formidable position early in the season.

England international Dan Hipkiss had missed the previous two games through injury - but he struck a crucial late blow in a hard fought east Midlands derby when he crossed with just eight minutes left.

That try edged Leicester back in front at 21-19 and they added eight points in the closing moments with Toby Flood's penalty and try.

Leicester were heading for back-to-back home defeats when Stephen Myler's penalty with the last kick of the first half put the visitors 16-9 ahead at the break.

Northampton had thrown away half-time leads in their previous two away games and Leicester drew level at 16-16.

Myler kicked a penalty with 11 minutes left to put Northampton back in front before Leicester hit back in the closing minutes.

Leicester head coach Heyneke Meyer welcomed back England internationals Harry Ellis and Hipkiss as his team's bid to respond following Friday night's defeat at home to bitter rivals Wasps.

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder made five changes after his side's 26-12 defeat at Saracens, but it was Leicester who got off to the perfect start with Flood converting a second-minute penalty.

Leicester were dealt a blow in the 10th minute when Boris Stankovich was yellow carded following a stamp on Euan Murray.

Myler drew Northampton level in the 11th minute and after Flood kicked Leicester back in front Northampton went ahead in the 17th minute through Murray's try.

Myler's conversion put the visitors 10-6 ahead and a 23rd-minute penalty put the Saints seven points clear.

Flood trimmed the gap to 13-9 before Myler's late dead ball effort put Northampton seven clear at the break.

Leicester were on the front foot at the start of the second half and they were level in the 56th minute.

Johne Murphy was sent over by Ellis and Flood's conversion levelled the scores.

Myler put Northampton back in front with 11 minutes left - before Leicester finished strongest to emerge victorious.

The scorers:

For Leicester:

Tries: Murphy, Hipkiss, Flood

Con: Flood

Pens: Flood 4

For Northampton:

Try: Murray

Con: Myler

Pens: Myler 4

Yellow cards: Stankovich (Leicester, 9)

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Dan Hipkiss, 12 Aaron Mauger, 11 Matt Smith, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Harry Ellis, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Ben Herring, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Martin Corry (c), 3 Julian White, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Boris Stankovich.

Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Ben Kay, 19 Ben Woods, 20 Julien Dupuy, 21 Tom Youngs, 22 Tom Varndell.

Northampton: 15 Stephen Myler, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 Chris Mayor, 11 Bruce Reihana (c), 10 Carlos Spencer, 9 Ben Foden, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Scott Gray, 6 Mark Hopley, 5 Christian Day, 4 Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Tom Smith.

Replacements: 16 Paul Shields, 17 Soane Tonga'uiha, 18 Alex Rae, 19 Ben Lewitt, 20 Lee Dickson, 21 Nils Mordt, 22 Sean Lamont.

Referee: Chris White

Touch judges: Alan Hughes, Don Helme

Assessor: Brian Leigh

Television match official: Trevor Parlett

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