HomeRUGBYSam Matavesi helps Northampton hold on for derby honours at Leicester
Sam Matavesi helps Northampton hold on for derby honours at Leicester
April 24, 2021
If Northampton make it to the play-offs – and they’re the one real looking contenders now outdoors the highest 4 – they are going to contemplate this the sport that outlined them. We all know they will play a bit, however they confirmed outstanding character to prevail within the East Midlands derby, away from residence.
Dan Biggar and Dave Ribbans performed on by way of ankle accidents, JJ Tonks was proven one of many extra unjust yellow playing cards, and wave after wave of Leicester assaults pounded in opposition to their partitions within the remaining minutes. Nonetheless they’d not yield, Biggar particularly pulling off heroics in defence unbecoming of a fly-half.
That they had misplaced three gamers earlier than the sport; then Alex Mitchell and Piers Francis have been injured within the first half. However tries by Ribbans and Rory Hutchinson within the first half put Leicester off stability and a 3rd a couple of minutes after the break by Sam Matavesi opened up a 13-point lead they defended with outstanding gusto.
For Leicester, any hopes of the highest 4 have now evaporated. This can be a blow, too, to their hopes of qualifying for Europe through the league.
They will need to have fancied their possibilities beforehand, such is their bettering kind, however they might make solely restricted inroads into Northampton’s set-piece and their error depend was excessive. Ultimately, the distinction was a mistake by George Ford who threw a go straight at Hutchinson halfway by way of the primary half. The Scotland centre galloped clear.
A optimistic for Leicester was the return of Nemani Nadolo, who changed Dan Kelly within the first quarter. The Fijian was a handful, crashing over for 2 tries, however, given their current kind and the obvious vulnerability of the opposition, this defeat will really feel horribly disappointing.
They ended up dominating the scrum, however the Saints, who misplaced amongst others Ehren Painter, their tighthead, on the day, if something held the higher hand at that set-piece early on. When Leicester earned treasured attacking lineouts within the remaining quarter, they did not make them pay.
It was from a scrum within the shadow of their very own posts that Northampton struck first. Tommy Freeman, who had are available for Ollie Sleightholme, was labored clear down the left and Mitchell made additional progress, earlier than the excellent Ribbans was despatched to the road.
Ford replied with a penalty, however a couple of minutes later he introduced Hutchinson with that run-in.
The Tigers have been proven two yellow playing cards, the primary to Matt Scott for a excessive deal with, however they labored Nadolo over for his or her first throughout Scott’s absence, this time an attacking lineout understanding for them.
Smooth penalties both aspect of half-time handed respite to Northampton, who pulled additional clear when a Freeman mini-break arrange Matavesi for that 13-point lead.
Ford had hit the publish with a penalty and within the confusion Harry Wells was proven Leicester’s second yellow for a late deal with on Biggar.
When he returned Leicester closed to inside 5 when Jack van Poortvliet’s break sparked the strive that Nadolo completed on the left.
The Tigers had each probability to finish the job, nonetheless extra so when Tonks was proven yellow with 5 minutes to go. Northampton, although, confirmed an abundance of grit to enhance the elan. It’s a potent combine.