Despite holding their hosts out for most of the second half, Saints come away from derby day with Leicester Tigers at Welford Road empty handed as a last minute Owen Williams penalty denied them a losing bonus point.
The home side were dominant from the off and with Saints going a man down within the first two minutes of the game, Leicester Tigers were always going to be first off the mark. Saints managed to hold them out for a time but eventually the home side’s pressure prevailed and Adam Thompstone got over in the corner. Freddie Burns converted the try to get Tigers off the mark.
Saints began to push back and a drive from Louis Picamoles and a clever chip from Myler set George North up to go one on one with Adam Thompstone. As the winger jumped to collect the ball, however, his opposite man made contact with him while in the air and North was removed from the pitch for a head injury assessment. Not before, Thompstone had received a yellow card from the TMO however.
Now a man to the good, Burrell having returned to the field, Saints sent a driving maul close to the whitewash and after another visit to the TMO, Mikey Haywood was awarded the try. Stephen Myler missed the tricky conversion but Saints were off the mark.
Saints pushed on again and got close to the line once more just after. A break from Tom Kessell saw the ball in the hands of Haywood once again but the attack was halted as Tigers impeded at the breakdown. Myler lined up for the posts just inside the Tigers’ half and sent the huge kick over to bring the game within two.
Tigers began to apply pressure once more and though Saints regained possession for a time, the home side were soon back on the attack and within Saints 22. Burns lined up for the posts again just moments later as Saints scrambled defence struggled to cope and sent his kick through the uprights, stretching the deficit to a whole score again.
Tigers looked like scoring again with Kitto getting over the gainline and Thacker gaining considerable yards but Saints recovered possession and as Kessell broke the line again, his pass found James Craig, who in turn found Michael Paterson. The score was not to come however, but Saints were awarded a penalty at a scrum just after and Myler duly sent the kick through to send the game into half time at 13-11.
The home side were to hold Saints out completely in the second half and mounted a huge attack on their guests from the restart. Saints could not seem to hold onto possession and despite North and the skipper Ben Foden making headway there was to be no more scores for the men in black, green and gold.
Burns made a break just inside Saints’ half and Tigers were within five metres of the line but an enormous defensive effort from Saints kept their hosts out. Tigers did earn themselves a penalty and Burns sent that through the sticks.
Once again Saints were fully under the cosh, Tigers pushing their guests to the limit as the searched for another score. But it was not to come until the final minute of the game when Saints were penalised and Owen Williams lined up for his first kick of the game with the final play. The Welshman sent the kick through to seal his side’s victory and ensure that Saints would come away from this derby day empty handed.
TIGERS Worth; Thompstone, Betham, Williams, Brady, Burns, Kitto; Mulipola, Thacker, Bateman, Slater, Kitchener, Fitzgerald, O’Connor, Hamilton
Subs – McGuigan, Genge, Cilliers, McCaffrey, Evans, Harrison, Tuilagi, Pieterson
SAINTS Foden; Elliott, Burrell, Hanrahan, North, Myler, Kessell; A Waller, Haywood, Hill, Paterson, Craig, Gibson, Nutley, Picamoles
Subs – Clare, E Waller, Denman, Ratuniyarawa, Ludlam, Groom, G Pisi, K Pisi
2mins SAINTS Yellow card Burrell 0-0
6mins TIGERS Pen Burns 3-0
13mins TIGERS Try Thompstone Con Burns 10-0
16mins TIGERS Yellow card Thompstone 10-0
17mins SAINTS Try Haywood 10-5
24mins SAINTS Pen Myler 10-8
29mins TIGERS Pen Burns 13-8
40mins SAINTS Pen Myler 13-11
HALF TIME Tigers 13 Saints 11
68mins TIGERS Pen Burns 16-11
79mins TIGERS Pen Williams 19-11
FULL TIME Tigers 19 Saints 11