Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Saints off to a flyer

Soane Tonga'uiha (bottom)

Northampton earned the early-season East Midlands bragging rights as tries from props Soane Tonga'uiha and Brian Mujati paved the way for a 27-19 Aviva Premiership win over champions Leicester at Franklin's Gardens.

Tonga'uiha crossed twice in the opening five minutes as Saints made a blistering start to lead 17-0 before Alesana Tuilagi's converted try got the visitors on the scoreboard before the break.

Leicester were left facing an uphill task, however, when Mujati touched down on the hour mark and while Scott Hamilton crossed twice late on, and Stephen Myler lost his radar, the hosts held on.

Tom Wood sparked the Saints' first score after only two minutes, soaring to catch a lineout which Northampton drove, in Leicester style, for the visitors' line. The initial drive was halted, but once loosehead Tonga'uiha got his hands on it, nobody could prevent him touching down on the line.

Within three minutes, the formidable prop had struck again. Chris Ashton's running line through the heart of Leicester's defence was brilliant as was his pass, sending Tonga'uiha galloping clear of the cover to score.

Their championship credentials came to the fore in the 27th minute as Ben Youngs combined with Geordan Murphy who armed Tuilagi to score on the right.

On the hour mark, Shane Geraghty broke past Dan Cole, found Phil Dowson whose pass right to Mujati left the tighthead prop thundering up the line to score.

Hamilton finally found a gap 10 minutes from time in the right-hand corner, after great hands by Murphy and Jeremy Staunton broke his duck, steering over the conversion from the touchline.

And when Hamilton roared in on the opposite wing three minutes later a Tigers comeback looked likely, but Saints held on.

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