Leicester Tigers gained a second win since the season’s restart with a 28-24 victory over Northampton Saints at Welford Road on Sunday in Round 20 of the Gallagher Premiership campaign.
Ben Youngs, on the occasion of his 250th first-team appearance for the club, set Tigers on the way with an early try while the kicking of Zack Henry stretched the lead 16-3 as the game entered its second quarter.
Tigers, though, lost Tomas Lavanini to a yellow card in defence and also Harry Wells as Saints were awarded a penalty try to pull back to within a converted score.
But there were no breeches of the short-handed defence and Tigers had the final word in the half as Freddie Steward kicked a penalty from close to halfway to make it 19-10 at the break chasing a first win over their neighbours since the Twickenham meeting in October 2018.
The hosts received a third yellow card, this time to Hanro Liebenberg, and were thankful for two more Henry kicks to have some breathing space entering the closing four minutes before Saints grabbed a consolation score on the final whistle.
Led out by scrum-half Youngs in his 250th appearance – and 200th start – for the club, Tigers kicked off towards the Robin Hood Stand end in blazing sunshine, but it was the visitors who were first on the scoreboard, Biggar kicking a penalty from 25 metres.
But Youngs scored his try after picking off loose ball from George Furbank just as the full-back felt the full force of a tackle from Nemani Nadolo. Henry’s conversion made it 7-3 on seven minutes.
Another Nadolo tackle, this time on Taqele Naiyaravoro, stopped Saints in their tracks, allowing Luke Wallace to steal ball and Youngs to turn the defence with a clever kick to the corner as Tigers played the territory game.
Wallace’s work over the ball won another penalty and Henry landed the kick to make it 10-3 on 15 minutes.
Turnover ball on halfway allowed Tigers to spread play to the left and Henry kicked into the Saints 22 to pin the opposition back, before debutant Kini Murimurivalu showed his ability on the ball, offloading for Facundo Gigena as they got forward again.
Another breakdown penalty gave Henry the chance to make it 13-4 from 35 metres.
A dart from Alex Mitchell threatened the Tigers line until he was caught 10 metres out and, when the whistle blew at the breakdown, Youngs hammered the ball down the pitch. Furbank fielded in his 22 but was met again by Nadolo and gave away another penalty. Henry, though, clattered the post with the kick.
The rebound was knocked-on by Saints and, after Matt Scott and Nadolo attacked the tryline, a score was awarded under a pile of bodies before referee Wayne Barnes checked the replays and agreed there had been a knock-on.
He had been playing penalty advantage, though, and play resumed after the well-earned drinks break, with Henry stretching the lead to 16-3 from the tee.
Saints had an immediate penalty of their own from the kick-off and Tigers had to defend in the corner where there was also a delay as the visitors’ prop Francois van Wyk limped off, to be replaced by teenage debutant Emmanuel Iyogun.
Tigers defended through a series of phases among the forwards before they lost Lavanini to the sin-bin after collapsing a maul five metres out.
Saints attacked from the set-piece again and this time Barnes signalled a penalty try and showed the yellow card to Harry Wells, leaving Tigers with 13 men with the lead cut to 16-10 with 11 minutes to go until half-time.
Guy Porter left the field after a clash of heads with Lewis Ludlam but a timely tackle from Nadolo gained more valuable turnover ball and a penalty from which Henry could take play upfield again.
Nadolo and Matt Scott joined the scrum as Saints knocked-on in midfield and at the next set-piece a penalty award brought celebrations from the big Fijian before Steward took on the kick from 48 metres to make it 19-10 at half-time.
Ellis Genge joined the Tigers front row for the start of the second half, replacing Gigena who was making his first start in more than six months, and the first scrum brought a penalty award in front of the dug-outs. Henry judged the kick to perfection as he made it 22-10.
Steward produced a trysaving tackle on Naiyaravoro who ignored support with no other defender in sight and then Nadolo stole ball on the opposite side of the pitch bit was penalised in contact.
Saints tried to take their maul up to the line and, although they were stopped, Liebenberg was sin-binned as he stopped the ball coming back. Tigers, though, survived the pressure with some big defence on their own line in the only shady part of the pitch and even got the penalty award at the breakdown.
Harry Potter made a big hit out wide as play opened up again, but Saints had throw-in possession as play restarted from the final drinks break and the young wing was back on the ball to kick clear as they over-threw.
But Saints found a lifeline when prop Paul Hill latched on to ball 25 metres out and beat the ast tackle to score at the right-hand post and Biggar added the kick to cut the gap to five points at 22-15.
Tigers wanted the net score but Henry put a penalty wide after Saints lost lock David Ribbans for a high tackle on Steward.
Henry made amends with a drop goal after dome patient build-up making an eight-point gap entering the final 10 minutes of the game.
Ben White released some pressure at the opposite end of the field with a kick up to halfway from a five-metre lineout claimed by Calum Green. The scrum-half then read an over-thrown lineout to take play on again, though Saints were able to clear up the touchline.
Liebenberg’s break from deep took play back into Saints territory and then Potter sidestepped twice through broken field before Tigers spilled ball in midfield and the scrum brought a penalty as Jordan Taufua attacked his opposite number as he picked up.
With less then four minutes left, Henry’s successful kick – low but on target – settled some nerves as the lead reached 11 points over their oldest rivals and took his own tally for the day to 20 points.
Play ended with three penalties close to the Tigers tryline and finally Henry Taylor found enough space and tired legs in defence to dive over for Saints. Biggar’s conversion brought the game to a close.
THANK YOU FOR YOU SUPPORT
Thank you to the #TigersFamily for your support this afternoon - even though you can't be here, the lads can feel your support from your sofa.
Tigers are back in action with a quarter-final in this season's European Challenge Cup against Castres next Sunday, September 20 (3.00pm).
You can follow all of the action as it happens right here on Matchday Live. Until then, goodbye.
FULL TIME | 28-24
Tigers take the spoils on Derby Day at Welford Road, with a 28-24 victory over Northampton Saints in Round 20 of the league season.
FINAL KICK | 28-24
Dan Biggar adds the conversion with the final kick of the game but it's not enough to wrestle back Derby Day glory.
SAINTS SNIPE OVER | 28-22
Henry Taylor picks and goes and dives over for a last-minute score.
There's still life in Leicester legs as they hold back Northampton's heavy runners on the line, though referee Barnes awards the visitors penalty advantage with the clock in the red.
TO THE CORNER...
Northampton end up with the ball after the dust has settled, and Biggar kicks to the corner for one last bite of the cherry.
ONE MINUTE TO GO
Harry Wells and Dan Biggar exchange pleasantries after the fly-half takes exception to a big hit in defence, followed by a skirmish of pretty much all of the players on the field. Messy.
11-POINT LEAD | 28-17
Henry's penalty kick is low and powerful, right through the sticks.
Pats on the head for Jordan Taufua as Tigers win another penalty at scrum-time, and Henry points to the posts as he attempts to take the scoreline further out of Northampton's reach.
STRETCH OF THE LEGS
Liebenberg breaks through the Saints midfield and draws three defenders, and then Harry Potter fancies a go just a couple of phases later.
He beats the first man and then pops the ball back for Scott in the tackle, but it's lost forward. Nice idea.
OVER THE TOP
White gobbles up possession as Haywood over-throws at the lineout, and the replacement scrum-half gets the ball deep in behind Northampton, though Taylor's return is nothing short of sublime.
We'll go again with a throw-in from pretty much the same spot!
Calum Green climbs highest at a lineout on Tigers' five-metre line, and Ben White clears the deck with a decent clearance kick just shy of halfway.
TIGERS DROP GOAL | 25-17
The Tigers forwards surge into the red zone with more heavy carries, setting a platform for a successful drop goal from the boot of Zack Henry.
Henry Taylor is on at scrum-half for the visitors in place of Alex Mitchell.
And, just as Northampton go down to 14 men, Tigers return to a full complement as Liebenberg sprints back into the action.
YELLOW CARD | DAVID RIBBANS
David Ribbans is shown a yellow card for a high tackle on Freddie Steward.
Henry's penalty kick is wide.
Ben Youngs has completed hie 250th appearance for the club, as he makes way for Ben White.
CONVERSION ADDED | 22-17
Biggar adds the extras from the tee to bring Saints back to within five.
SAINTS SCORE | 22-15
Biggar spots an overlap to bring play to the right, where Paul Hill finds a hole and gallops home.
...and the big man is into the action immediately. He gets over the ball on his own tryline, and wins a crucial turnover.
How many times have we seen that from the big man?! Great work.
Dan Cole's afternoon is over, with Nephi Leatigaga taking his place in the Tigers front row.
Saints cannot build on the platform from their scrum and Mitchell's kick to the corner is badly judged and Tigers will have the 22 restart.
ONTO THE FOOT
Potter makes the most of Tigers-win possession from the lineout with a stab downfield, Furbank returns straight down the throat of Henry, but the fly-half's kick back is a little too hot and it rolls dead.
Freddie Steward comes in to catch his own high ball but injures himself with an awkward fall ... he's straight back into the defensive line, though, and combines with Harry Potter to bring down Fraser Dingwall's surge on the left, though cannot limp away quick enough and concedes the penalty. Unlucky.
Matt Scott is the latest Leicester player called on in defence, with a huge shot on his man, five metres out from his own line, and just a couple of phases later the penalty goes Tigers' way and all 14 men on the field roar their approval.
YELLOW CARD | HANRO LIEBENBERG
Saints surge up to the line through their heavy men, and while it's stopped, Hanro Liebenberg is pinged for doing so and he is shown a yellow card.
Nick Isiekwe and Fraser Dingwall are both on on the Saints side.
Naiyaravoro breaks through the Leicester line to draw a one-on-one against Freddie Steward, but the young full-back tangles up his man and stops a certain try. Nice work.
CHAOS AT THE BASE
Northampton opt for the scrum - to a few raised eyebrows - on halfway, and Ben Youngs is at his niggling best disrupting opposite man Mitchell at the base.
Jordan Taufua replaces Luke Wallace in the Leicester back row.
Great work from Ellis Genge as he carries the ball up into the guts of the Northampton defence.
THREE SAINTS CHANGES
Ratuniyarawa, Fish and Franks are all off the field, replaced by Alex Moon, Mikey Haywood and Paul Hill.
CHANGE AT HOOKER
Charlie Clare is on for Tom Youngs in the Tigers front row.
PENALTY ON PENALTY
The Tigers pack consolidate one strong scrum with another on their own 22, and manage to pin play back into the Saints half.
THROUGH THE UPRIGHTS | 22-10
Henry's kick from the touchline is good, and builds Tigers' lead to 12 points.
Lovely shove again at scrum-time, and while Leicester initially come away with the ball through Potter, we'll come back for the scrum penalty, which Hnery fancies from the tee.
Steward's kick return rolls behind the posts - but not quite dead - and so Saints have a restart on the 22.
Scrum-half Mitchell taps and goes and tries to pull Ludlam into the play, but Tigers stem the attack in front of the Breedon Terrace and Youngs will have the put in.
DOWN THE LEFT
Nadolo gets the ball and line sup two defenders on the left wing as he makes a couple of metres and offloads behind for Lavanini.
In a half-time change, Ellis Genge is on for loosehead Facundo Gigena.
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY
Dan Biggar puts boot to ball and we're back underway in Round 20 of the Gallagher Premeirship.
MATCH ACTION | DERBY DAY DELIGHT
250-appearance man Ben Youngs dives over for a crucial score on Derby Day at Welford Road.
HALF TIME | 19-10
Tigers take a nine-point lead into the break at Welford Road on Derby Day.
HUUUGE KICK | 19-10
Steward makes a massive kick to keep Tigers' scoreboard ticking over, as both yellow carded-players return from the bin.
That's a big moment. Tigers - still without two of their forward pack - win a scrum penalty on halfway. Freddie Stewards calls for the tee.
A handling error at the scrum isn't going to ruin such a special day for Lenny, though.
Saints shoot down the right from the set-piece, but it's scrum-half Youngs who intercepts the final pass and wins ball back for Tigers.
Nadolo and Scott are into the eight-man scrum in the absence of Messrs Wells and Lavanini, and the shove is good - but it's fumbled at the base by Ben Youngs. Nightmare. Reset.
PLAY BROUGHT BACK
Freddie Steward hangs the ball high in the air for Furbank, who launches himself forward and appears to have made a miracle catch ... but replays show the ball touched the ground, so we'll restart with a scrum.
NADOLO WINS BALL
Saints attempt to bring Ahsee Tuala into play on the right wing, but it's Nadolo once again who negates the threat, first with the tackle and then getting over the ball to win back crucial possession for his team. Great stuff.
POTTER FOR PORTER
Guy Porter is down the tunnel for an assessment after a big hit from Ludlam, and No23 Harry Potter is on in his place. There will be a shift-around in the Tigers backs ahead of this latest lineout.
...but the throw is stolen by Northampton once more through Api Ratuniyarawa, and they will attempt to make it count with some heavy runs into Tigers territory.
FRONT FOOT BALL
Murimurivalu tests the Northampton defence with a high kick to the right, and he latches on to Biggar as soon as the fly-half catches inside his own half.
While the Saints reset, the last pass out to Courtney Lawes skips into touch and Tom Youngs will have a chance to feed the Tigers lineout.
YELLOW CARD | HARRY WELLS
Tigers will be down to 13 men for the next nine minutes or so, as Harry Wells is shown a yellow card for his part in the penalty score.
PENALTY TRY | 16-10
Waynes Barnes goes under the posts after a strong Saints drive from the lineout, and it's a penalty try for the visitors.
YELLOW CARD | TOMAS LAVANINI
Tomás Lavanini is shown a yellow card for collapsing the Saints maul.
KICK TO TOUCH
The green, white and red wall holds strong for the time being, albeit with a penalty going against Hanro Liebenberg as he disrupts a Saints drive within a couple of metres. Northampton kick to the corner.
The visitors win their lineout this time around through Lewis Ludlam, and they work through the phases on the Tigers line.
Van Wyk is off, replaced by Emmanuel Iyogun on his Premiership debut.
BREAK IN PLAY
Saints set their maul from the lineout, and while Harry Wells comes away with the ball he's adjudged to have done so illegally.
There will be a pause in play as Francois van Wyk receives treatment on the floor.
But Leicester concede from the restart, and Northampton have a throw-in on the Tigers' five-metre line...
THREE MORE POINTS... |16-3
Another successful kick from Henry, and Tigers have a 13-point lead.
Tigers are denied the score, but since a penalty advantage was being played by Wayne Barnes the home side will have another kick for points.
TMO | POSSIBLE TIGERS TRY?
Tigers use Nadolo as a decoy off the back of a decent nudge at scrum-time, and it's Matt Scott who gets the ball up to the whitewash, and then a couple of phases later it's Gigena who comes up with the ball from over the line.
But has he grounded it? And was there a knock-on in the build-up?
OFF THE POST!
A slightly awkward angle for this kick, and it bounces off the woodwork. We'll restart with a scrum.
Saints get in behind Tigers after a dart from scrum-half Alex Mitchell, but they concede the ball and Ben Youngs taps and goes quickly, with the ball brought right down the other end of the pitch where Furbank is FLATTENED by Nadolo.
A real momentum shift, and Henry has another shot at goal.
POWER KICK | 13-3
Tigers continue to build their lead, this time as a powerful penalty attempt from Zack Henry sails through the uprights.
SHOT AT GOAL
...and Saints concede a penalty at the next breakdown, so Henry eyes the posts once more, but it'll be a tough kick from close to halfway...
OFF THE DECK!
A lovely surge forward from Murimurivalu, who breaks the first tackle and then gets the offload away - from the floor - to a full-tilt Facundo Gigena. Lovely stuff.
Tigers prime their attack but Henry opts for the boot, and pins back Furbank inside his own 22, and the return kick doesn't make too much ground.
THREE FROM THE TEE | 10-3
Henry adds three more points after some great work at the breakdown from the Tigers forwards.
LUKE THE JACKAL
Just a few phases later, and it's Luke Wallace's turn to get his hands on the ball.
He's tipped out of the ruck by Saints hooker James Fish, but it's too late - referee Wayne Barnes already has an arm up on the Tigers side.
OVER THE BALL!
Tom Youngs claims a crucial turnover as Northampton just start to look dangerous on the home 22, which allows Henry to get play back into the right half of the pitch. Neat.
OFF THE HOOK
...but the ball is stolen at the lineout by Teimana Harrison, and Northampton win a penalty of their own on the floor, so play will return to halfway with a Saints throw.
UP TO THE 22
Tigers work the territory to win a lineout on the edge of the visitors' 22, and then an industrious carry from Tomás Lavanini draws the penalty.
The home side smell blood, though, and after discussion with club captain Tom Youngs, fly-half Hnery kicks to the corner...
Not quite the earth-shattering hit we were all expecting (yet), but Nadolo gets a first tackle in on his equally mammoth opposite man, Taqele Naiyaravoro. Nice.
BACK ON HIS FEET
Northampton full-back George Furbank receives some treatment on the floor after a big hit from Nemani Nadolo, but the England cap is back on his feet and rejoins the action.
CONVERSION ADDED | 7-3
Henry adds the extras on Youngs' score, and it's the perfect, immediate response for Tigers.
MILESTONE MAN SCORES | 5-3
Ben Youngs pounces on a loose ball out the back from Northampton, and he's over under the sticks for a dream score.
Just a glimpse of power from debut man Kini Murimurivalu on his first appearance in Tigers colours, as he gets his head down on the left flank.
FIRST BLOOD TO SAINTS | 0-3
Biggar slots the penalty attempt and gives Northampton a three-point lead.
Harry Wells is caught offside after a Northampton pass ricochets forward, and Biggar points to the posts for a shot at goal.
Northampton pull the trigger off the back of the first scrum and attempt to get the ball into big Taqele Naiyaravoro's hands, but it's Matt Proctor who is brought down by opposite number Guy Porter, and the penalty is conceded on the floor. Saints ball.
Tigers are up and into the Saints half immediately after an early dart from Freddie Steward, and then a perfect box-kick from Ben Youngs to test fly-half Dan Biggar.
KICK OFF FROM WELFORD ROAD
Zack Henry gets Tigers underway on this Derby Day Sunday.
LENNY LEADS OUT
This. Is. Derby Day.
Your Tigers, led by milestone man Ben Youngs, take to the field.
FIVE MINUTES TO GO | TEAM CHECK
Since you can’t cheer your heroes onto the pitch or stomp your feet to Smoke on the Water, we’d encourage you to read the final team rundown in your best matchday announcer voice in your living room.
Leicester Tigers: 15 Steward, 14 Murimurivalu, 13 Porter, 12 Scott, 11 Nadolo, 10 Henry, 9 B Youngs; 1 Gigena, 2 T Youngs (c), 3 Cole, 4 Lavanini, 5 Green, 6 Wells, 7 Wallace, 8 Liebenberg.
Replacements: 16 Clare, 17 Genge, 18 Leatigaga, 19 Smith, 20 Taufua, 21 White, 22 McPhillips, 23 Potter.
Northampton Saints: 15 Furbank, 14 Tuala, 13 Proctor, 12 Hutchinson, 11 Naiyaravoro, 10 Biggar, 9 Mitchell; 1 van Wyk, 2 Fish, 3 Franks, 4 Ribbans, 5 Ratuniyarawa, 6 Lawes, 7 Ludlam, 8 Harrison (c).
Replacements: 16 Haywood, 17 Iyogun, 18 Hill, 19 Moon, 20 Isiekwe, 21 Tonks, 22 Taylor, 23 Dingwall.
Pretty sure that's a forward pass, Barry...
TEAM TALK | ‘WE MUST MOVE ON QUICKLY’
Head coach Steve Borthwick has set out his reaction to Wednesday’s heavy loss at Wasps – and what he expects from his Tigers team this afternoon – in no uncertain terms.
“Wednesday’s result was unacceptable,” he told LTTV. “The performance in that second half was unacceptable.
“We discussed all of the progress we’d made right up to half-time in that game, but the performance in that second half showed a standard far below what we’ve set.
“That has been addressed, and we know that that is not the standard of this team moving forward.
“After a game like that you want to move on quickly, so now the players have the opportunity to get out on the field at Welford Road again on Sunday and put out a performance that we can be proud of.”
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS | 250 UP FOR LENNY
Ben Youngs marks his 250th appearance in Tigers colours – and a 200th start – at scrum-half this afternoon.
He partners No10 Zack Henry, who comes in for the injured George Ford.
Elsewhere, Fiji international Kini Murimurivalu earns a first start on the wing after linking up with his new team-mates earlier this week.
He is joined in the back three by fellow Fijian Nemani Nadolo and full-back Freddie Steward, behind a midfield formed by Matt Scott and Guy Porter.
Club captain Tom Youngs returns to lead the team from hooker, joining international props Facundo Gigena and Dan Cole in the front row. Tomás Lavanini and Calum Green make up the second row while Harry Wells, Luke Wallace and Hanro Liebenberg complete a dynamic Leicester pack.
See the full match line-ups by clicking here.
DERBY DAY PREVIEW | TIGERS VERSUS SAINTS
Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints meet in the third East Midlands Derby of the season at Welford Road this afternoon.
Saints followed up a 31-22 victory in the Premiership Rugby Cup back in October 2019 with a 36-13 triumph in the opening league meeting of the campaign and now have four wins in the last five derbies.
Tigers will be aiming to bounce back from defeat in midweek to record a first win over their neighbours since the Twickenham meeting in October 2018 when Jordan Olowofela and Ben Youngs – more on him later – scored crucial tries.
Overall the clubs have met on 244 previous occasions over 140 years of local rivalry, with Leicester holding the edge at 136 wins to 89, with 19 games drawn.
See all the important facts and stats in our full match preview here.
WELCOME TO MATCHDAY LIVE!
We’re LIVE at Welford Road for Round 20 of this season’s Gallagher Premiership, as Leicester Tigers take on Northampton Saints in a Derby Day clash (2.00pm).
Follow all the action with our Matchday Live coverage, right here on the Tigers App and LeicesterTigers.com.