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Report | Tigers take derby bonus-point win

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Leicester Tigers secured a bonus-point 35-20 win over Northampton Saints in the 50th Premiership meeting of the teams on Friday evening.

Two tries from Nemani Nadolo and one from Julian Montoya gave Tigers a 22-5 lead before half-time and Bryce Hegarty added the fourth score after the break at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

Tigers remained on top of the Gallagher Premiership table after bouncing back from consecutive league defeats with a bonus-point try against Worcester Warriors last Saturday and added another five-pointer against their oldest rivals in front of a 23,000 crowd.

Saints travelled in good form for the Gallagher Premiership Round 16 clash following back-to-back away wins at Newcastle and Worcester, and with four wins in their last five visits in all competitions.

Nadolo and Tommy Reffell returned to the Tigers line-up, while Chris Ashton was named among the replacements against his former club after signing a short-term contract this week, though Tigers were without six players on England duty.

Freddie Burns kicked off towards the Beehive Money Stand and both teams looked for gains from territorial kicking in the opening moments, with Tigers then losing lineout ball on the left edge of the opposition 22.

But the visitors got the breakthrough try on seven minutes when scrum-half Alex Mitchell broke from deep and then, after some quick offloading across the field, he got back on the ball and managed to finish from the 22 despite a despairing tackle from Dan Kelly. Referee Matthew Carley watched a number of replays to check for a potential knock-on but awarded the score. George Furbank was well of-target with the conversion attempt but Saints led by five points.

Stolen lineout ball gave Jasper Wise his first carry into the visiting defence, then Wigglesworth and Potter worked together on the right touchline to keep the momentum going and, with an advantage being played, it paid off with a score for Nadolo.

The forwards carried hard following Kelly and Burns and eventually, Wigglesworth found the big wing with a popped pass under the posts. Burns added the extras for a 7-5 lead on 15 minutes.

Tigers broke out straight from the restart, led by Hanro Liebenberg, and it was the captain who almost got free on the right in the 22 before Saints got back.

Burns added a penalty from 35 metres to push the lead to five points, with Tigers pressuring Saints into errors in their own half as the visitors tried to offload and pass their way out of trouble.

Montoya changed his shirt after treatment for a facial cut but was back in play as Tigers stayed in attacking territory, and got on the ball when Burns stabbed a penalty into the left-hand corner on 22 minutes.

Tigers were made to work hard to return maul ball, with Harry Wells eventually ripping back possession and this time, after Kelly and Burns took play up, the fly-half played to the right and there was no stopping Nadolo as he dotted down for a second time. Burns added the extras to make it 17-5 with 23 minutes gone.

Ashton made his first appearance for his sixth Premiership club on 27 minutes when Burns made way for a head injury assessment, which meant Bryce Hegarty took on kicking duties when Saints were penalised again, but he pushed it wide.

Nadolo almost sneaked through a gap on the left with a chip-kick after two impressive Kelly carries in midfield.

But a third try did follow when Tigers mauled their way to the line and Montoya touched down. Hegarty was off-target with his kick as Tigers led 22-5.

But the response was immediate and impressive as Rory Hutchinson broke down the right and found Skosan with the pass for a second Saints score to make it 22-10.

They almost had another as Furbank ran on a diagonal to the left-hand corner, only to be wrapped up and taken into touch by Ashton in his final action before the blood-bin reversal for Burns.

Tigers lost Harry Wells to a yellow card for a tip tackle in the final minute of the half, but stood firm in defence with Kelly and Porter wrapping up a final Saints attack.

Saints sent on Matt Proctor and Karl Wilkins for the start of the second half, but Tigers had an early penalty and Burns, who had returned from his assessment, stroked it over from 35 metres to make it 25-10.

The whistle went again in Tigers’ favour soon afterwards but after TMO interjection, was reversed for a tackle in the air on halfway but Saints lost possession as they played from their lineout on the left and the opportunity was lost.

Dan Cole, on the day he set a club record for Premiership appearances, went off in the early stages of the second period as Nephi Leatigaga joined the front row.

Saints opted to go for goal from a penalty on the 22 and Furbank’s kick brought them back within two scores at 25-13, but a deflected chip-kick gave Burns the chance to race through their defence before being stopped just 10 metres out.

A teasing kick from Burns pushed Saints back again and then, when they missed their lineout throw, Montoya and then Snyman attacked the tryline but were stopped short.

Bouncing ball from a box-kick almost allowed Sam Matavesi through on the right for Saints but aggressive defence closed out the chance and Tigers had put-in after a knock-on and also a penalty at scrum time to take play into the opposing half of the field again.

Nadolo earned an appreciative applause as he left the field after his first appearance in a month and the clapping had barely ended when Burns set up a bonus-point score with his quick break and Tigers recycled to find Hegarty for his first Premiership try.

The conversion from Burns made it 32-13 on the hour and he added another three points with a long-range penalty to take the lead to 22 points.

Saints were held up over the line from a lineout drive but the referee had already signalled a penalty and they stayed in the corner. This time, despite meeting some meaty defence, they had another penalty as referee Carley spoke to Jack van Poortvliet, taking the captaincy after Liebenberg’s substitution.

They had advantage again when Karl Wilkins pushed his way over for a try and Ashton, who had been back on the field for just a couple of minutes was the player to go to the sin bin.

Acceleration from Burns took him past the Saints backline but when van Poortvliet gathered the ball 10 metres out, he was tackled round the neck by Furbank who escaped with just a penalty award.

Tigers attacked again from a tap penalty but couldn’t find a final push to the line from the forwards or from Burns as he eyed a gap, only for the visitors to close the door. But play stayed close to their tryline as the clock ticked down on a 13th league victory of the season for Steve Borthwick's men.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 22-10 NOR

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 35-20 NOR


Not available


Matthew Carley

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers

Full Time

Northampton Saints
Northampton Saints
Leicester Tigers
Northampton Saints

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Northampton Saints
Penalties Conceded
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
Tackles Won
115/131 88%
112/137 82%
Scrums Won
5/6 83%
3/4 75%
Lineouts Won
12/15 80%
11/13 85%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Northampton Saints
Leicester Tigers
15Bryce Hegarty1T
14Harry Potter
13Guy Porter
12Dan Kelly
11Nemani Nadolo2T
10Freddie Burns3C3P
9Richard Wigglesworth
1James Whitcombe
2Julian Montoya1T
3Dan Cole
4Harry Wells
5Calum Green
6Hanro Liebenberg
7Tommy Reffell
8Jasper Wiese
16Charlie Clare
17Francois van Wyk
18Nephi Leatigaga
19Eli Snyman
20George Martin
21Jack van Poortvliet
22Matt Scott
23Chris Ashton


FULL TIME: Tigers take a bonus-point win, 35-20, against neighbours Northampton Saints. Crowd is 23,100. Thank you all.

Furbank converts for Saints who are 35-20 behind on 71mins

Ashton yellow-carded in defence for Tigers

Wilkins pushes his way over for a third Saints try.

Burns from 40 metres adds another 3 points, the lead is 35-13 on 66mins

Burns converts the bonus-point  try to make it 32-13 just short of the hour mark. 


Burns with the break and Hegarty provides the finish for his first Premiership try.


Wells is back from yellow card, with Eli Snyman jining him in the second row.

Furbank penalty brings Saints within 2 scores at 25-13 on 48mins. 

Penalty won by Montoya at the breakdown, Burns is back on and strokes it over from 35 metres to make it 25-10.


We are off for the second half, Tigers 22-10 ahead.

HALF TIME, Tigers lead 22-10, three tries (Nadolo 2, Montoya) to two.

Wells off to the sin bin for a tip tackle.


Trysaving tackle on Furbank from Ashton, just taking him into touch as he reached towards the corner. Ashton returns to the bench as Burns is back on the field

Immediate response from Saints with a well-taken try from Skosan after Hutchinson's break on the right touchline. Furbank misses the kick. 22-10 on 33mins.


Third try for Tigers, this time it's from a lineout maul, it's Julian Montoya of course! 22-5 on 32mins. Hegarty misses the conversion.


Hegarty wide with a penalty but the game is being played in the Saints half at the moment with Tigers 17-5 in front.


Chris Ashton is on for Tigers as Burns goes off for a head check.




Burns adds the kick to add to Nadolo's second try, Tigers lead 17-5 on 23mins.


Nadolo does it again, with a finish from close-range, taking two defenders out of the way.

Freddie Burns with a kick from 35 metres puts Tigers 10-5 in front on 17mins.

Freddie Burns puts Tigers 7-5 in front with the conversion.


Try for Nemani Nadolo, through the middle on a neat pass from Wigglsworth after some big carries among the forwards. 5-5


Furbank well off-target with the conversion of try by Mitchell but Saints lead by 5.

7min Saints have scored. Started with a break by Alex Mitchell, who is back on some loose ball on the edge of the 22 and gets to the tryline. Referee has checked for potential knock-on but awards the score.

KICK-OFF | Tigers v Saints

We are under way, as Freddie Burns kicks off. Tigers are playing towards the Beehive Money Stand in the first half. The first ‘Oooooo’ is just seconds away.



After a bright and sunny day in the East Midlands, it’s a more chilly evening. But it's just about to get a lot warmer at Mattioli Woods Welford Road. It’s Derby Day!



Saints: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Ollie Sleightholme, 13 Fraser Dingwall (c), 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 George Furbank, 9 Alex Mitchell; 1 Alex Waller, 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Paul Hill, 4 David Ribbans, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 6 Tom Wood, 7 Teimana Harrison, 8 Juarno Augustus

Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Emmanuel Iyogun, 18 Conor Carey, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Karl Wilkins, 21 Tom James, 22 James Grayson, 23 Matt Proctor



There are no changes to the team announced on Thursday, with Nemani Nadolo and Tommy Reffell restored to the starting line-up and Chris Ashton on the bench.

Starting XV

15 Bryce Hegarty [8], 14 Harry Potter [28], 13 Guy Porter [32], 12 Dan Kelly [35], 11 Nemani Nadolo [25], 10 Freddie Burns [88], 9 Richard Wigglesworth (vc) [26]; 1 James Whitcombe [13], 2 Julián Montoya [17], 3 Dan Cole [280], 4 Harry Wells [142], 5 Calum Green [77], 6 Hanro Liebenberg (c) [45], 7 Tommy Reffell [64], 8 Jasper Wiese [30]

Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare [40], 17 Francois van Wyk [8], 18 Nephi Leatigaga [57], 19 Eli Snyman [10], 20 George Martin [30], 21 Jack van Poortvliet [36], 22 Matt Scott [38], 23 Chris Ashton


MATCH PREVIEW | Tigers v Saints

This is the 50th Premiership meeting between Tigers and Northampton Saints but the first in front of a Mattioli Woods Welford Road crowd for almost three years.

Tigers remained on top of the Gallagher Premiership table after bouncing back from consecutive league defeats with a 36-16 bonus-point try against Worcester Warriors last Saturday.

Saints have won their last two league games, away to Newcastle and at Worcester, with a try bonus point on each occasion. They had a bye week in Round 15 last weekend.

The opening meeting this season resulted in a 55-26 victory for Tigers in Round 7, though Saints have won on four of their last five visits to Leicester in all competitions.

Referee is Matthew Carley, in his 116th Premiership game in charge.



We’re LIVE at Mattioli Woods Welford Road as Leicester Tigers host Northampton Saints under Friday Night Lights in Round 16 of the Gallagher Premiership season. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

If you are unable to join us at the game, you can keep up to date with all of the action right here with our Matchday Live service on the Tigers App and website at www.leicestertigers.com.

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

Ahsee Tuala
Ollie Sleightholme
Fraser Dingwall
Rory Hutchinson
Courtnall Skosan
George Furbank
Alex Mitchell
Alex Waller
Sam Matavesi
Paul Hill
David Ribbans
Api Ratuniyarawa
Tom Wood
Teimana Harrison
Juarno Augustus


Mike Haywood
Emmanuel Iyogun
Conor Carey
Alex Coles
Karl Wilkins
Tom James
James Grayson
Matt Proctor
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI221804679437242835011386
Northampton Saints
Northampton SaintsNOR22130966157190847312468
Form Guide
Last Match
Lost to Leinster Rugby 14-23
Past Meeting
Won 35-20
Last Match
Past Meeting
Last Match
Beat Harlequins 32-31
Past Meeting
Lost 20-35

Matchday Live

Leicester Tigers35
Leicester Tigers
Northampton Saints20
Northampton Saints
Full Time