Leicester Tigers have defeated Northampton Saints 26-17 in the East Midlands Derby at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.
A starring performance by backrow Tommy Reffell and an expert display off the tee by flyhalf Handré Pollard helped Tigers to their second league victory of the season and their first at home under head coach Dan McKellar.
Tigers were first to get on the board early in the first-half, Freddie Steward forcing an error which led to a penalty for offside. Pollard did the rest, making it 3-0.
Leicester had their foot on the gas and looked to have crossed for the first try of the game through Charlie Clare. The try was rubbed out however after centre Sol Kata was judged to have interfered as the maul broke off.
Scoring was limiting but Pollard added two more from the tee in the opening half-an-hour, Saints also kicking a penalty from the halfway line.
Both sides had opportunities to add more points to their respective tallies, Pollard hitting the upright the closest either came to scoring as the half ended 9-3.
Tigers came out of the blocks in the second period with the same intensity as the first, forcing errors in defence.
The try would have to wait, though Pollard would add another three points from the boot to make it 12-3.
Finally, Tigers crossed the line. Forcing penalty after penalty, Saints saw two go to the sin-bin. The numbers became overwhelming and replacement prop Francois Van Wyk muscled his way over the line.
Pollard added the extras to make it 19-3.
Saints hit back bravely, but Tigers stuck to task and off a quick tap, captain Hanro Liebenberg snuck under the defence and scored to make it 26-10.
The visitors scored at the bell to put a sheen on the result, but Tigers had already finished the job. The final score 26-17.