Leicester topple Saints to lift LV= Cup

Leicester 26 Northampton 14

Geordan Murphy lifted the LV= Cup at Worcester's Sixways stadium as
Leicester won the battle of the East Midlands to claim the first
silverware of the English club rugby season and a place in the Heineken
Cup.

The match was settled soon after half-time as wing Scott Hamilton ran 80 metres after intercepting an ambitious pass from Saints fly-half Stephen Myler.

Teenage fly-half George Ford, who kicked a match tally of 16 points, had kept the Tigers in touch with three penalties before flanker Steve Mafi gave them the lead for the first time in the 26th minute.

Northampton, winners of the competition two years ago, did not manage a try until five minutes from time, through lock Christian Day.

Sunny Sixways provided a perfect stage but with a chilly north-westerly wind aiding Northampton from the kick-off. After a 'sighter' from a difficult angle, Myler opened the scoring at the second attempt from near halfway in the sixth minute.

Although Leicester mounted a threatening attack at the other end, the ball was spilled and the Tigers scrum was penalised for a second time. Loosehead Boris Stankovich picked up an injury and was replaced by Marcos Ayerza, but not before Saints were awarded yet another penalty at the breakdown.

Myler's kick was on the mark from fully 50 metres to give Saints a 6-0 lead after 11 minutes but Leicester then strung together a series of threatening attacks. Again they yielded penalties rather than tries but Ford was equal to the task and pulled his side level with two successful kicks.

The two fly-halves exchanged penalties again to take the score to 9-9 after 24 minutes, but that was no real reflection on either side's willingness to move the ball through the hands.

Leicester were seeing rather more of the ball, however, and deservedly went ahead when Mafi barged past Vasily Artemyev to score in the left corner on 26 minutes.

The rangy flanker had begun the attack by fielding a restart on his own 22 but the telling thrust had been delivered by Billy Twelvetrees, carving through the Saints defence with Graham Kitchener in support. Ford added the conversion.

Scrum-half Martin Roberts prevented further damage by being first to a dangerous grubber kick by Murphy, at the cost of a five-metre scrum.

Although the Tigers' front row was now more than up to the challenge posed by Tonga'uiha and Co and drove menacingly to force a penalty, Ford spoiled his unblemished record by missing the relatively easy kick.

Saints approached the second half with far more purpose but again collapsed a scrum and this time Ford converted his penalty from 50 metres to open up a 10-point lead.

John Downey and George Pisi nearly fashioned an opening but the ball was spilled within striking distance of the Tigers' try-line.

Two minutes later Myler tried to force an opening with a floated pass that only found its way into the hands of left wing Hamilton who raced from his 22 to score at the other end. Ford converted the 50th minute try and Leicester were three scores ahead.

It made the decision to spurn a kickable penalty on the hour all the more puzzling as Leicester then successfully defended a line-out in the corner and then a series of five-metre scrums.

Five minutes later, Ford left the field to be replaced by Flood as the Tigers' coaching team decided they needed the England man's experience. The youngster had again shown remarkable maturity and kicking prowess.

The penalty count against them was mounting, however, and in the 71st minute skipper Murphy was shown a yellow card for his team's repeated infringements.

But it was not until the 75th minute that Saints' desperate attacking efforts were rewarded when Day crashed over in the corner for an unconverted try.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
News
Comedian Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena (Rex)
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links