Planet Rugby

Tuilagi takes Tigers to Twickenham

14th May 2011 13:32

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leicester Alesana Tuilagi try 2011

Over he goes: Alesana Tuilagi

Leicester booked their place in the 2010/11 Aviva Premiership Final in controversial fashion on Saturday as they defeated Northampton 11-3.

Northampton will feel aggrieved not to be the ones facing Saracens or Gloucester though following a nasty moment that saw Manu Tuilagi land three punches on England's Chris Ashton.

That moment, which occurred on 32 minutes, soured what was a captivating clash between two of the league's dominant forces this season. Barring the Tuilagi moment, Leicester deserved their win with their try coming from wing Alesana.

Unfortunately though, the match will long be remembered for Manu Tuilagi's indiscretion, and for why Ashton was also sin-binned.

Tigers fly-half Toby Flood weighed in with two penalties, while Northampton's only points came from a solitary penalty from Stephen Myler.

England hooker Dylan Hartley was a key protagonist for Northampton, throwing himself into the physical side of the game and becoming embroiled in a flare-up with Red Rose team-mate Flood in the first half.

Wayne Barnes decided against sin-binning either player but the Tigers' famed physical prowess gradually came to the fore. Flood also avoided any more cheap shots. He put the Tigers ahead with a 37th-minute penalty, giving them a slender 3-0 advantage at the break.

Saints struck first after the restart when Myler booted a penalty to draw Jim Mallinder's side level. Flood then missed a penalty and enabled Saints to keep a foothold in the contest.

But ten minutes from time came the moment that Welford Road had been waiting for as George Chuter broke wide on the left after Foden had lost the ball on close to the halfway line. He delivered a slick offload to wing Tuilagi, who stampeded down the touchline.

Flood missed the extras but, with Leicester so completely dominant and now holding that eight point buffer with only minutes on the clock, there was to be no way back for Saints.

Man-of-the-match: Anthony Allen was his usual industrious self for Tigers while Courtney Lawes put himself about. But we cannot argue with the official call of Tom Croft.

The scorers:

For Leicester:
Try: A Tuilagi
Pen: Flood 2

For Northampton:
Pen: Myler

Leicester: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Matt Smith, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Craig Newby (capt), 6 Tom Croft, 5 George Skivington, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 James Grindal, 22 Jeremy Staunton, 23 Horacio Agulla.

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Jon Clarke, 12 James Downey, 11 Bruce Reihana, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Dylan Hartley (capt), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman,17 Alex Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Stuart Commins, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Joe Ansbro.

Referee: Wayne Barnes

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