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Leicester back up to fourth after edging past rivals Northampton

Leicester reclaimed fourth spot in the Aviva Premiership after a 19-11 victory at home to Northampton in a fiercely fought derby.

The Tigers, who had lost the place to Exeter 24 hours earlier, just about deserved the win thanks to a dominant second-half performance by their forwards who pinned the Saints in their own 22 for long periods.

The game produced just two tries - Adam Thompstone for Leicester and Mikey Haywood for Northampton - and two yellow cards, Thompstone and Northampton's Luther Burrell.

Leicester's Freddie Burns kicked 11 points and Owen Williams three, while Stephen Myler kicked six for Northampton.

Ed Slater captained Leicester after Tom Youngs withdrew with a back spasm and they were boosted by the return of two players from international duty, prop Logovi'i Mulipola and winger JP Pietersen who was on the bench.

Northampton had winger George North and number eight Louis Picamoles back from international duty while centre JJ Hanrahan made his first start of the season.

Leicester led 13-11 at half-time and the first half was as close as the score suggests, with Thompstone scoring a try for the Tigers and Burns kicking a conversion and two penalties. Haywood crossed for the Saints with Myler adding two penalties.

Northampton made the worst possible start, losing England centre Burrell to the sin bin in the fourth minute for a high tackle and trailed 10-0 after 14 minutes.

Burns kicked a penalty and then converted a lovely worked try, Thompstone going over after scrum-half Jono Kitto changed the direction of the attack in the 22 and Burns fired out a long pass.

But the Saints recovered well and had the better of the rest of the half, the Tigers not being helped by a yellow card for Thompstone for tackling North while he was in the air in the 17th minute.

Just after his departure Haywood squeezed over following a line-out and drive. Myler missed the conversion but swapped penalties with Burns before kicking a second penalty in the last minute when the Tigers conceded a penalty at a scrum.

England centre Manu Tuilagi, who made his long-awaited return from injury at Bristol last week as a replacement, came on to huge cheers in the 51st minute with the Tigers struggling to contain Northampton.

Leicester immediately lifted their game and were held up over the line in the 56th minute. They failed to score from two successive scrums but pinned Northampton in their own 22 and eventually the pressure told.

After a succession of scrums and several wrestling matches on the Northampton line Leicester got a penalty which Burns kicked to make it 16-11.

Williams sealed Leicester's win with a last-minute penalty.


From Belfast Telegraph