Saints end Tigers hoodoo with superb Gardens showing

Tom Collins put the seal on the Saints victory with a superb try (pictures: Sharon Lucey)
Tom Collins put the seal on the Saints victory with a superb try (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

Saints produced the perfect response to their opening-day drubbing as they secured a huge 24-11 victory against Leicester Tigers at Franklin's Gardens.

Jim Mallinder's men, who were beaten 55-24 by Saracens last Saturday, scored three times in a dominant display against their local rivals.

Luther Burrell got Saints up and running

Luther Burrell got Saints up and running

Luther Burrell, Dylan Hartley and Tom Collins all registered as Saints ended their Leicester hoodoo, ending Tigers' seven-match winning streak in east midlands derbies.

It was a gargantuan performance from every Saints player, with Lions star Courtney Lawes leading the way with an all-action showing.

Leicester had few answers and were on the back foot from the off as they went on to suffer their second defeat in as many matches this season.

But it was a sweet success for Saints as they bounced back in style to secure some long overdue bragging rights.

Dylan Hartley scored Saints' second try

Dylan Hartley scored Saints' second try

Saints, having seen how Bath suffocated Tigers at Welford Road on the previous Sunday, put up plenty of high balls in the early stages, and the away side struggled to deal with them.

Courtney Lawes took Saints to within 10 metres of the line, but the ball went loose at the crucial moment and Tigers survived.

It was one-way traffic in the frenetic formative stages and after Leicester lost a lineout, Saints turned the screw.

George North carried them to within range and Kieran Brookes showed good composure to set Burrell, leaving the centre the task of diving over the line in delight.

George North impressed on derby day

George North impressed on derby day

Mallinder added the extras and it was exactly the kind of start Saints craved, giving their supporters something to shout about.

But Tigers were so dominant in the scrum and a penalty in that area gave George Ford a chance to narrow the gap to four points, but he sent the kick to the right of the posts.

Saints were straight back at the Leicester door and after a spell of relentless pressure, Hartley finally found a way to score.

The Gardens waited for the television match official to give it, but give it he did, and Mallinder added the extras to make it 14-0.

Saints were able to celebrate a big win after Collins capped it with a fine score

Saints were able to celebrate a big win after Collins capped it with a fine score

Tigers had struggled to get any territory, but they eventually got the scoreboard ticking as Ford made the most of an easy penalty chance.

Saints kicked to the corner in a bid to score their third try before the break, but Tigers defended stoically and turned the ball over in the maul.

However, that wasn't the end of the Northampton charge, with two more big lineouts after the clock struck 40.

Tigers continued to offend and were lucky to escape without a yellow card after what appeared to be a deliberate knock-on in midfield.

Saints did get the penalty from referee JP Doyle, and Mallinder landed it to finish the first half at 17-3.

Paul Hill was brought on in place of Brookes at half-time as Saints sought to steady the scrum.

And their backs continued to look dangerous, with a scything break from Tom Collins putting Tigers on the back foot at the start of the second half.

The pressure told in the form of a yellow card for replacement Mike Williams as Tigers were made to pay for persistent offending.

But another scrum penalty gave Leicester some respite and they pushed on to claim another award from Doyle closer to the posts.

Ford landed the kick to close the gap to 11 points with 22 minutes remaining.

Williams then returned to the field and Tigers had enjoyed the better of the game during his time out, with the away side winning the 10-minute spell 3-0.

Mallinder had the chance to cancel out Ford's kick, but he sent the ball wide of the posts.

However, the Saints fans were soon on their feet as Collins scored a trademark try.

He flew through the Tigers defence and sidestepped Ben Youngs on his way to the line to bring a huge roar from the elated Gardens.

Mallinder converted to make it 24-6 with 10 minutes to go, and Saints had the bonus point in their sights.

But Tigers were to have the final say as Jonny May showed his pace to chase his own kick ahead and score.

The conversion was missed and it wasn't long before Saints were able to boot the ball out to rubber-stamp a memorable success.

Saints: Tuala; North (Foden 62), Horne, Burrell (Grayson 77), Collins; Mallinder, Groom (Reinach 76); Waller (Ma'afu 74), Hartley (c) (Haywood 61), Brookes (Hill 40); Paterson, Day; Lawes (Ratuniyarawa 77), Gibson, Harrison (Ludlam 68).

Leicester Tigers: Veainu; Malouf, Smith, Toomua, May; Ford, B Youngs (Harrison 75); Genge (Bateman 70), T Youngs (c) (Thacker 33), Cole (Mulipola 70); Barrow, Kitchener; Hamilton, O'Connor (Ryan 41), Kalamafoni.

Referee: JP Doyle