Tigers hold out against Saints

Date published: April 16 2016

Leicester Tigers did their Premiership play-off hopes a world of good with a nervy 30-24 victory over East Midlands rivals Northampton Saints.

Despite being ahead for the bulk of the match, Leicester's lead rarely broke into double figures, making the game harder for themselves than it might have been.

The victory keeps the Tigers in fourth, but their grip on the position has been strengthened with Northampton missing a great chance to close the gap. However, a late penalty from JJ Hanrahan ensured a losing bonus point for the hosts at Franklin's Gardens.

Freddie Burns was the star man for the victorious visitors, running in a try and kicking well throughout the match. It was Burns who got the night started with an early penalty which was added to by a fantastic try from Harry Thacker. 

Having collected the ball on the halfway line, he sold two defenders with a dummy close to the line, and dotted over much to the jubilation of his teammates. Burns added the extras and Leicester looked good for the lead. 

However, within moments, the lead had disappeared. First, Stephen Myler's penalty put the home team on the scoreboard, before centre Luther Burrell raced through to set up Teimana Harrison, who made no mistake from close range. Myler's kick was spot on for 10-10. 

Burrell went from hero to villain in a matter of minutes as his misplaced pass set up Niki Goneva to run through unopposed, with Burns converting to restore the seven point gap.

George Pisi got the slightest of touches on the ball to touch down, but Myler missed the chance to bring the sides level, with his kick hitting the upright. The sides traded three points with Burns putting Northampton five points ahead, before Myler made amends with a good effort from the tee.

The final try of the game came as Burns went over having gone through unchallenged, before converting his own try.

Sustained pressure led to a penalty in front of the posts for Northampton, who opted to go for the losing bonus point via the boot of Hanrahan.

The scorers:

For Northampton:
Tries: Harrison, G Pisi
Cons: Myler
Pens: Myler 3, Hanrahan

For Leicester Tigers:
Tries: Thacker, Goneva, Burns
Cons: Burns 3
Pens: Burns 3

Northampton: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Tom Kessell, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Tom Wood (c), 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Campese Ma'afu, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 JJ Hanrahan, 22 Harry Mallinder, 23 Tom Collins

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait (c), 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Tom Croft, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Adam Thompstone

Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Roy Maybank
TMO: Sean Davey