Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
leicestertigers.comSafety FirstRugby ExplainedConference & EventsContact UsTopps Tiles

Derby win secures semi-final spot

Figure image
Leicester Tigers booked their place in the Aviva Premiership play-offs for an 11th successive season with a 22-14 victory over Northampton Saints at Welford Road on Saturday afternoon.

Tigers produced a stirring second-half performance, on the back of a fantastic scrummaging effort, to set up a semi-final with Bath Rugby at the Recreation Ground next Saturday.
 
Tigers scored two tries in the game. Jordan Crane finished off a lineout drive to score in the first half before Tigers capitalised on a two-man advantage, with Saints props Gareth Denman and Salesi Ma’afu in the sin bin for repeated scrum offences, for Niall Morris to score in the second period.
 
Freddie Burns kicked three penalties, and there was a penalty for Tommy Bell, as Tigers maintained their amazing record of semi-final appearances.
 
Ed Slater and Christian Loamanu made their first Aviva Premiership starts of the campaign. Club captain Slater replaced Geoff Parling in the back row and Loamanu came in for the suspended Seremaia Bai at centre.
 
Harry Thacker, Sebastian de Chaves and Jack Roberts were named among the replacements in the only other changes to the matchday 23.
 
Northampton were captained by Phil Dowson on his last regular season appearance for the Saints.
 
Tigers won a penalty at the first scrum and were then awarded a second penalty for Sam Dickinson’s no-arm tackle on Vereniki Goneva. Burns pumped the ball up to the Saints 22, there Kitchener’s catch set up the drive to take Tigers to within 8m of the line before it was pulled down by Mike Haywood. Burns landed a simple kick to give Tigers a 3-0 lead.
 
Burns was at the centre of the action in the opening moments, stripping Tom Stephenson of possession on the Leicester 22 but knocking-on in doing so to give Saints the scrum put-in. This time Saints were awarded the scrum penalty and James Wilson levelled the scores with his kick.
 
Mathew Tait claimed the restart to set Tigers on the attack. Tigers went their heavy carriers in waves onto the Saints defence, with Logovi’i Mulipola stopped just short. Wilson’s fingertips then knocked Ben Youngs’s pass Goneva into touch with Goneva scenting a try opportunity on his outside.
 
But Tigers had their try from the lineout. Slater set up the drive and Crane finished at the left corner for his second try of the campaign. Unconverted, it gave Tigers an 8-3 lead after 13 minutes.
 
Next it was Tigers’ turn to defend a series of phases around their 22. Dom Waldouck and Jamie Elliott almost found a way through before scrum-half Lee Dickson threw the ball into a retreating Brad Thorn to win a penalty in front of the posts. Wilson’s kick left Tigers 8-6 ahead.
 
Tigers were tenacious in defence, typified by their work against a 5m lineout drive which forced the Saints back 5m. But when the visitors moved play inside Tait was pinged for going off his feet to try to steal the ball from Wilson, who had a simple penalty to give Saints a 9-8 lead.
 
Ben Youngs stole the ball at the base of a Saints scrum and offloaded for Loamanu to find Goneva on the left. His run was stopped 5m out before a loose pass from scrum-half Youngs stalled the momentum. However, Youngs then made a break to restore the impetus and create a try for Loamanu but Burns was whistled for clearing out at an angle and the score was ruled out.
 
Saints held a 9-8 lead at the break.
 
Tigers had the chance to retake the lead 90 seconds into the second half when Stephenson was whistled for not rolling from a tackle on Slater. Burns landed his kick from the right to put Leicester 11-9 ahead.
 
A smart lineout move, sending Mulipola crashing down the narrow channel, took Tigers back into the Saints 22. Mulipola rejoined the move and was halted just short before Ben Youngs claimed a try at the base of the posts. Referee Matthew Carley consulted his TMO, who ruled no try.
 
It was Mulipola’s last contribution, the Samoa international replaced by Marcos Ayerza for the resulting 5m scrum. Tigers won two penalties at the scrum, prompting Northampton to replace tigthead prop Salesi Ma’afu with Gareth Denman.
 
With Welford Road in full voice, Tigers were awarded a two further scrum penalties resulting in Denman being shown a yellow card. Ma’afu returned to the pitch for the scrum to be completed.
 
A fifth penalty followed and Ma’afu was shown the yellow card too, leaving Saints with 13 men and without their two tightheads. It meant the game would have to go to uncontested scrums. Instead Burns kicked the penalty from in front of the posts to give Tigers a 14-9 lead with 26 minutes remaining.
 
Tigers made their two-man advantage count three minutes later. Thorn stole lineout ball inside the Saints 22 and Tigers swept forward and eventually Morris broke the line to score his second try in as many games. It gave Tigers a 19-9 lead.
 
It was Thorn’s last contribution in a Tigers shirt at Welford Road, the WorldCup-winning former All Black, who is retiring in the summer, left the field to a massive ovation to be replaced by Sebastian de Chaves.
 
Saints, led by their replacement scrum-half Kahn Fotuali’i, took their time playing the ball at the breakdown to run down the sin-bin clock and not concede further points before returning to a full complement of players.
 
But Tigers did extend their lead by a further three points when replacement fly-half Tommy Bell landed a penalty from the left. It gave Tigers a 22-9 lead with 12 minutes remaining.
 
But there was a late try for Saints to send nerves through a capacity Welford Road crowd. Christian Day’s break had Tigers on the back foot and allowed Stephenson to ghost in on the left for Northampton. Sam Olver was wide with the conversion to leave Tigers 22-14 ahead.
 
Saints threatened one last time but brilliant work by Crane isolated opposite number Jon Fisher and drew the penalty that signalled full-time.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 8-9 NOR

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 22-14 NOR

Attendance

24,000

Referee

Matthew Carley

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Northampton Saints
Possession
53%
47%
Territory
57%
43%
Penalties Conceded
11
16
Yellow Cards
0
2
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
122/134 91%
118/138 86%
Scrums Won
10/11 91%
6/7 86%
Lineouts Won
12/12 0%
11/11 0%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Northampton Saints
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Niall Morris1T
14
13
12Christian Loamanu
11
103P
9Ben Youngs
1Logovi'i Mulipola
2Tom Youngs
3Dan Cole
4
5Graham Kitchener
6Ed Slater
7Julian Salvi
8Jordan Crane1T
16Harry Thacker
17Marcos Ayerza
18Fraser Balmain
19Sebastian De Chaves
20
21
22Tommy Bell1P
23
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
22

Full Time

Northampton Saints
Northampton Saints
14

Tigers Lineup

Starting XV

Niall Morris
15
Niall Morris
Christian Loamanu
12
Christian Loamanu
11
10
4
Ed Slater
6
Ed Slater
Julian Salvi
7
Julian Salvi
Jordan Crane
8
Jordan Crane

Subs

Marcos Ayerza
17
Marcos Ayerza
Fraser Balmain
18
Fraser Balmain
Sebastian De Chaves
19
Sebastian De Chaves
20
Tommy Bell
22
Tommy Bell
23

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Ahsee Tuala
14
Jamie Elliott
13
12
11
Tom Collins
10
9
1
Alex Corbisiero
2
Mike Haywood
3
Salesi Ma'afu
4
Sam Dickinson
5
6
Phil Dowson
7
Teimana Harrison
8
Jon Fisher

Subs

16
Dylan Hartley
17
Alex Waller
18
19
Christian Day
20
Ben Nutley
21
22
Sam Olver
23
Howard Packman
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
1
Northampton Saints
Northampton SaintsNOR22161562140022175418276
3
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI2215164534213237394268
Form Guide
Form
WDLLL
Last Match
Lost to Harlequins 26-32
Past Meeting
Won 28-24
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
LLLLL
Last Match
Lost to Gloucester Rugby 0-20
Past Meeting
Lost 24-28

Matchday Live

Leicester Tigers22
Leicester Tigers
Northampton Saints14
Northampton Saints
Full Time