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Saints 15 - 23 Leicester Tigers: Northampton edged out at Derby Day

Northampton Saints fell to a Derby day defeat despite outscoring their opponents three tries to two in torrential conditions at Twickenham.

A man-of-the-match display by Jonah Holmes and 13 points from the boot of George Ford were enough to down Saints who scored through Jamie Gibson, Mikey Haywood and David Ribbans.

The home side went into the game having done the double over the Tigers last season, and after an emotional delivery of the match ball by Rob Horne, Saints went into battle ready for a brutal encounter in front of over 40,000 people at HQ.

Leicester opened the scoring in the fourth minute, with Ford slotting a straightforward penalty in front of the posts.

A sublime kick from behind halfway by Harry Mallinder gave Saints some momentum, before a penalty won on the 22 allowed Dan Biggar to send the hosts into the corner.

Saints went on the charge, and despite an overshot line out, Dan Cole was penalised for pushing the line. Gibson then hauled himself over the whitewash and managed to dot down the opening try of the match, as Tigers’ ill-discipline proved costly.

Ben Youngs scored the first try for Tigers however, as Holmes’ dummy run set up the scrum-half perfectly for a score, putting his side 12-5 clear on the approach to half-time.

But Holmes struck again just minutes later with another fine run, setting up replacement Jordon Olowofela who couldn’t be caught by Mallinder, leaving Saints 15 points down.

Soon after however Gibson came calling for a second score but was held up on the line, as Saints pushed closer and closer to getting a crucial score before the break.

Five minutes into extra time and with a check of the TMO, JP Doyle awarded Ribbans a try following numerous phases on the Tigers' line, before the second row sniped over from close range.

In a tense start to the second half, possession went back and forth between the teams, but Ford slotted his fifth kick of the game to further Leicester’s lead after replacement Tom Collins was desperately unlucky to see his grubber kick deflect off Ben Youngs' knee.

Collins then made a stellar dash down the right wing, bringing the Twickenham crowd to it’s feet, and his efforts nearly paid off but the Tigers were resolute in defence and held the winger back from a third try for his side.

Biggar looked to have crossed after catching an intercepted kick, but the referee deemed there to have been a knock-on in the build up.

Saints refused to give up, and Haywood’s first touch of the ball was a magic one as he dashed over the line for the third Saints try of the afternoon, leaving Northampton needing nine points in the final ten minutes to take the victory back to Northampton.

Tigers looked to finish the game off by scoring another try, but a knock-on in the final phase saw the chance go begging, and Biggar was able to kick the ball clear from behind the Saints posts.

In the end, the clock was against Chris Boyd's men, and Saints couldn’t make it to the try-line for a bonus-point score leaving Tigers the victors on Derby day.

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