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One point separates derby rivals in Shield opener

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Leicester Tigers Development XV were edged out in a 19-18 defeat by Northampton Wanderers in the opening game of the Premiership Shield season at Loughborough University on Monday evening.

The Tigers fought their way back into the contest in the second half of an enthralling contest between the East Midlands neighbours, but could not find a winning score in the final minutes of the action.

Matt Smith led the Tigers, with Jonah Holmes and Joe Ford also adding some experience in a youthful line-up which included forwards Cameron Jordan, Thom Smith and Taylor Gough from last season’s unbeaten Under-18s squad.

The visitors, winners of the league title at this level in each of the last two seasons, included new signings Taqele Naiyaravoro, Andrew Symons, Will Davis and Charlie Davies alongside senior players Harry Mallinder, Mikey Haywood and Jamal Ford-Robinson.

Tigers led with two Joe Ford penalties before skipper Mallinder got on the end of a break from No8 Mitch Eadie to score the first points for the visitors. James Grayson was unable to add the conversion from the right.

Northampton forced Tigers on to the defensive in the later stages of the first half, with all hands to the pump at a series of set-pieces as they held out near their own line. Penalties counted against Tigers, though, and referee Alexander Thomas yellow-carded lock Sam Lewis just before half-time.

Wanderers, with numerical advantage, went to the corner again to set up prop Davis to burrow over after the initial drive had been held out. Grayson converted to send them in 12-6 ahead at the break.

The lead was extended early in the second half with a try from hooker Haywood following a lineout drive on the right. Grayson added the extra two with the kick.

But even at 6-19 in arrears, Tigers were still in the game and claimed their first try through replacement prop Osman Dimen after the forwards had built a period of pressure close to the visitors’ line.

The Tigers forwards started to get some reward from the set-piece and a series of penalties allowed them to keep Wanderers pinned back in their own half as the period progressed.

From another penalty, and with Connor Tupai in the sin bin, Tigers set up a platform with a drive on the left and when the ball was spread wide, George Worth showed a good eye for a gap, footwork to drift across a tackle and speed to get to the tryline. Ford added the conversion to make it a one-point game with five minutes remaining and set up an exciting close.

Northampton threatened an instant reply as they worked the ball through the middle, but knocked-on in contact and Tigers were able to clear.

Another attack followed, but Tigers won turnover ball on the deck and back-rower Thom Smith showed great purpose as he carried up to the 10-metre line to relieve the pressure.

But Tigers, still also looking for a score to win the game, threw a forward pass in the backline and Wanderers had another chance from a scrum as the clock entered its 80th minute.

The referee gave Tigers a free-kick at the set-piece, though, and they showed plenty of enterprise in keeping the ball alive in search of a decisive score, with forwards Jordan and Smith carrying strongly while Ford and Worth combined to keep the ball moving. Finally, though, Wanderers managed to force an error and shut out a final push to claim the derby points.

Tigers have another home fixture in the Premiership Shield in Round 2 against Worcester Cavaliers next Monday. Kick-off is at 7.30pm at Loughborough University.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 6-12 NOR

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 18-19 NOR


Not available


Alexander Thomas

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers

Full Time

Northampton Wanderers
Northampton Wanderers
Leicester Tigers
Northampton Wanderers



All over at Loughborough

Tigers showed huge enterprise as they attacked from deep in search of the score that would bring them victory. They worked their way into the Saints half, but a handling error eventually brought the attack, and the game, to an end. 

Tigers right back in it

Joe Ford lands the kick from the right touchline to bring Tigers to within a point and set up an exciting final five minutes. Tigers trail 19-18.

Tigers fighting back

A lovely try by George Worth, showing pace and strength to hold off the defender and score at the corner.

Yellow for Saints

Saints end the game with 14 men as Connor Tupai is shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle.

Tigers try

The Tigers pressure eventually tells and replacement front row Osman Dimen burrows his way over from close range. It goes unconverted as Tigers trail 19-11


Close for Tigers

Tigers pile on the pressure on the Northampton line. But when they move the ball wide, Saints fly out of the line and knock-on with Asiedu Kwaku waiting to pounce outside.

Grayson converts

Grayson adds the extras to move Northampton 19-6 ahead.

Saints extend their lead

Mikey Haywood finishes off a Northampton lineout drive to extend the visitors' lead to 17-6


After Tigers led 6-0 midway through the half thanks to two Ford penalties, Saints score tries through Harry Mallinder and Will David to lead 12-6 at the break


Second half to come

The teams are back out at Loughborough University. Northampton to kick off with Tigers attacking from left to right



After Tigers led 6-0 midway through the half thanks to two Ford penalties, Saints score tries through Harry Mallinder and Will David to lead 12-6 at the break

Conversion aded

Grayson adds a simple conversion to move the Saints into a 12-6 lead just before half-time

Saints lead

Northampton take the lead for the first time with their second try. Eventually their pressure on the Leicester line told and Will Davis burrowed over from close range.

Tigers down to 14

Tigers dig deep in defence, but the penalty count creeps up and eventually Sam Lewis sees yellow for repeated offences.


More good Tigers defence

Saints have been piling on the pressure since their try, but Tigers have held firm. First they repelled a lineout drive and then, as Saints broke away, held the ball up over the line. 5m scrum to come.

Saints score opening try

Saints open their account with the game's first try. Mitch Eadie caught Tigers napping at a ruck and when the ball was recycled Harry Mallinder crossed at the right corner.


What a tackle!

Young back rower Taylor Gough produces a thunderous tackle to end a threatening Wanderers attack. It also brings a knock-on. The Tigers scrum has been solid so far and wins the penalty.


Good Tigers D

Taqele Naiyaravoro, Saints' giant winger, is well tackled as he bears down on the Leicester 22 and knocks on in contact. Good work by the Tigers midfield.


Saints penalty miss

James Grayson has Northampton's first attempt at goal but pushes his kick wide of the posts.

Ford doubles the lead

Ford, with a penalty from close to halfway, doubles the Tigers lead with beautifully struck penalty. It's 6-0 to Leicester

First points

Joe Ford goes for the posts and lands a simple penalty for the first points of the game.


First chance

Tigers create the game's first opening. They drive a lineout, which is dragged down, and with the advantage George Worth creates a gap for Sam Aspland-Robinson, who is stopped 5m short. Play comes back for the penalty.


We're underway

Tigers, in their traditional red, white and green, are attacking from right to left. Saints are in a change strip of white and red.


Welcome to Loughborough

The new Premiership Rugby Shield, which replaces the old 'A' League, kicks off this evening. Tigers host Northampton Wanderers at Loughborough University.

Team news: Premiership Shield Round 1

Matt Smith captains Leicester Tigers against Northampton Wanderers in the opening fixture in the Premiership Shield campaign this evening.

Long-serving centre Smith is joined by Jonah Holmes, Joe Ford, George Worth and Ben White in the Tigers backline, with new signing Sam Aspland-Robinson at full-back and Coventry wing Kawku Asiedu completing the line-up.

Facundo Gigena is named alongside England Under-20s prop Joe Heyes and former Scotland Under-20s hooker Jake Kerr in the front row, while the back five of the scrum is made up of products from within the Tigers system, including Cameron Jordan, Thom Smith and Taylor Gough who were all part of the unbeaten Under-18s last season.

The Premiership Shield is the new format for the ‘A’ League with clubs divided into North and South Conferences, and with five games at home and five away through the season. 

Tonight’s fixture is a 7.30pm kick-off at Loughborough University. Entrance is from Epinal Way and admission is free to all supporters.

Leicester Tigers Development XV

15 Sam Aspland-Robinson

14 Kwaku Asiedu

13 Matt Smith (c)

12 George Worth

11 Jonah Holmes

10 Joe Ford

9 Ben White

1 Facundo Gigena

2 Jake Kerr

3 Joe Heyes

4 Cameron Jordan

5 Sam Lewis

6 Thom Smith

7 Taylor Gough

8 Fred Tuilagi


16 Harry Mahoney

17 Keston Lines

18 Osman Dimen

19 Toby Hutchinson

20 Cameron Gray

21 Dave Brazier

22 Will Flinn

23 James Neal

Northampton Wanderers: 15 Harry Mallinder (c), 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Fraser Dingwall, 12 Andrew Symons, 11 Ollie Sleightholme, 10 James Grayson, 9 Charlie Davies; 1 Will Davis, 2 Mikey Haywood, 3 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 4 Ed Taylor, 5 Devante Onojaife, 6 Joe Wallace, 7 Paddy Ryan, 8 Mitch Eadie

Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Hayden King, 18 Ziana Alexis, 19 Freddie Betteridge, 20 Ollie Newman, 21 Connor Tupai, 22 Matt Worley, 23 George Furbank

Form Guide
Last Match
Draw with Gloucester United null-null
Past Meeting
Drew null-null
Last Match
Past Meeting
Last Match
Draw with Leicester Tigers null-null
Past Meeting
Drew null-null

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Leicester Tigers
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