Leicester Tigers opened the Academy Under-18 League season with a 27-24 victory over Northampton Saints on Friday afternoon.
The derby rivals met in Round 1 of the league season in front of a decent crowd at Oval Park, with Tigers taking the four league points while two late tries gave Saints two bonus points from their afternoon’s work in the August sunshine.
Tigers full-back Harry Simpson put the first points on the board with a penalty midway through the first half and he then converted a try from No8 Sam Williams, who forced his way over next to the posts for the opening try of the day as the lead reached double figures before half-time.
Rafe Witheat on the Saints right wing provided their opening score after the break, with the conversion from Ben Radnor reducing the deficit to 10-7.
But Tigers lock Felix Starkey barged over from close range immediately afterwards following a charge by prop Oliver Avison, and Simpson added the conversion and then kicked another penalty.
Back-rower Seb Fernandes-Smith ran in a third try, converted by fly-half and captain Ben Taylor to make it 27-7 before Saints rallied with three tries of their own to ensure some reward.
Scores from replacement Logan McCave and hooker Seb Henry cut the gap to eight points with time running out and then Witheat provided their fourth try in the closing stages.
Tigers go to Sale Sharks in Round 2 next weekend.