Leicester Tigers Development XV were beaten 38-10 by Northampton Wanderers in the second round of the Premiership ‘A’ League season at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday evening.
The result gave the hosts a Derby Day double after victory in the Aviva Premiership fixture a couple of hours earlier.
It was Tigers who scored first, with a penalty from Tom Hardwick and they built a lead when he converted a try from hooker Harry Mahoney midway through the opening period, but that was to be the last score for the visitors.
Wanderers made their possession tell with five converted tries in the second half to put the result beyond doubt.
Fred Tuilagi was called into the Tigers back row in the only change to the team that started a nine-try win at Worcester in Round 1.
The match opened with both sides running the ball from end to end and with both sides creating opportunities to opening scoring. Charlie Thacker at centre made out-the-back passes to get Jordan Olowefela and hooker Mahoney into space but Wandderers ensured there was no way through to the line.
Valentino Mapapalangi, playing at No8, demonstrated his strength with a break down the righty, breaking through tackles on his way up to the five-metre line before earning a penalty which Tom Hardwick struck for the opening points.
The first try arrived after 22 minutes as a penalty at the breakdown gave Tigers a lineout in the Wanderers 22 and the driving maul was pushed over the line for Mahoney to score for a third time in two games. Hardwick added the conversion for a 10-point lead.
Wanderers looked to score next with a break from the forwards and quick offloads taking them over the Tigers line but were held up for a five-metre scrum. But they continued to build phases of possession and this time chipped in behind but Jordan Olowofela won the race for the final touch and Tigers had the 22 drop-out.
Tigers were pinned back, though, as Wanderers continued to attack. They were held up again, though this time Charlie Thacker was injured in the defence of the tryline and replaced by Will Foster from Loughborough University.
Wanderers won a penalty at the scrum and opted to kick for goal, Rory Hutchinson kicking their first points as the clock hit 40 minutes.
Tigers started the second half under pressure and, although they defended stoutly, quick ball gave prop Jamal Ford-Robinson a line off the ruck and he crashed over to score. Hutchinson’s conversion levelled the scores at 10-10.
The best opportunity for the visitors came when Simmons made a break near halfway and kicked in behind the Wanderers defence, but Olowofela was just unable to collect the ball, beaten by the Wanderers full-back.
Wanderers quickly returned to attack and worked the ball up the wing, building phases in the Tigers 22 before Ford-Robinson scored his second of the match with another run off a ruck and Hutchinson added the conversion to lead by seven.
Tigers were down to 14 men as the match entered the last quarter when Tuilagi tackled the Wanderers wing Jamie Elliott in the air and received a yellow card.
After a break in play for Elliott to receive treatment, he was able to walk off the field and Wanderers quickly made the advantage count with two tries, first with a driving maul for prop Francois van Wyk to dot down and then Tom Stephenson scoring wide on the left for the bonus-point score, with Hutchinson adding the conversions to extend the lead.
With Tigers restored to 15 men, Wanderers continued to put the pressure and this time Juan Pablo Estelles was able to work through into the corner to score, with Hutchinson thumping another conversion over to make the final score 38-10.
The next fixture in the ‘A’ League programme is at home against Wasps on Monday, September 25, kick-off is at 7.00pm. Entry is free for Tigers season ticket holders or £5 on the day for other supporters.