Tuilagi and Wood see red in furious derby

Leicester Tigers 30 Northampton Saints 25

Welford Road

In 131 years, there have been many classics between these Midlands rivals, but seldom one to match this. Two red cards, seven tries and an intensity worthy of the Test arena gave a capacity crowd a wonderful afternoon.

That one of the red cards went to Tom Wood will not improve the argument for the Northampton flanker as a potential England leader. But his absence, after a fight that also cost the Leicester wing Alesana Tuilagi his place on the field and might have earned dismissals for two more players, arguably cost Northampton a first Premiership win at Welford Road for four years.

Remarkably it was Leicester's first home Premiership win of the season and it lifted them to sixth in the table, level on points with Saints in fifth. The match, involving so many players likely to grace next month's England squad, was watched by Stuart Lancaster, the England Saxons coach who may well act in an interim capacity for the Six Nations.

Going a seventh successive game without defeat will boost Leicester before back to back games against Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup. A disciplinary hearing this week will determine whether Tuilagi and Wood will be available for Europe. Worse for Northampton, Phil Dowson, outstanding here, faces a hearing on Tuesday.

The rivalry between the clubs was spiced by the set-to in last season's Premiership semi-final between Manu Tuilagi and Chris Ashton, when the younger Tuilagi received a yellow card and was then suspended for six weeks. Whether Wayne Barnes, yesterday's referee, was over-conscious of that, only he can say. Both directors of rugby, Richard Cockerill and Jim Mallinder, thought the red cards were an over-reaction. "I couldn't see Alesana doing anything wrong, and he was dragged off the field by his hair," Cockerill said, though the gusto with which Horacio Agulla and Courtney Lawes joined the conflict could have made matters worse.

All of which obscured the quality of a game in which Northampton battled back so well that they took the lead with 14 minutes remaining, only to lose when Agulla ran in from 45 metres for the bonus-point try with four minutes left on the clock.

Northampton, with Ben Foden brilliant, always looked likely to break Leicester's defence but after Wood was sent off the Tigers squeezed out a succession of scrum penalties. It took Northampton's management 20 minutes before they removed a wing, Jamie Elliott, to bring on Samu Manoa at lock and restore their pack to eight. In that period, Leicester scored twice: first they worked a hole for Matt Smith on Ashton's wing and the centre finished magnificently. Their second was more prosaic, Steve Mafi winning a line-out and re-appearing after two rucks to plunge over.

Northampton's response was outstanding: Foden set a ruck and popped up again to give Ashton the space to beat Toby Flood's tackle. Northampton then turned Flood over 10 metres from their own line and away went their tight forwards, inter-passing before setting Tom May free on the left. The centre seemed clear before Mafi's tap-tackle brought him low. Back came Leicester and, when everyone seemed to stop for the referee's whistle as Ryan Lamb dropped the ball, play and Julian Salvi were waved on. From a ruck on the line, Ben Youngs darted over to score. Lamb was promptly replaced by Stephen Myler.

It was from Myler's break that Northampton flowed forward and May squeezed over. When a clearance found Foden, Northampton's backs clicked and Ashton kicked ahead and recovered to give Dowson the try. Myler's conversion pushed Northampton ahead but when he chipped into the Leicester 22, George Chuter set in motion the move which decided it. Ed Slater drew defenders before sending Agulla clear for a try which Flood converted from the touchline.

Leicester Tigers G Murphy (capt); H Agulla (S Hamilton, 77), M Smith, B Twelvetrees, A Tuilagi; T Flood, B Youngs (S Harrison, 77); M Ayerza (B Stankovich, 78), G Chuter, D Cole (M Castrogiovanni, 58), L Deacon, G Skivington (E Slater, 63), S Mafi (B Woods, 77), T Waldrom, J Salvi.

Northampton Saints B Foden; C Ashton, G Pisi, T May (J Clarke, 74), J Elliott (S Manoa, 34); R Lamb (S Myler, 61), L Dickson (M Roberts, 63); S Tonga'uiha (A Waller, 61), D Hartley (capt; M Haywood, 61), B Mujati (P Doran-Jones, 61), C Lawes, M Sorenson, P Dowson, R Wilson (B Nutley, 54), T Wood.

Referee W Barnes (London).

Leicester Tigers

Tries: Smith, Mafi, Youngs, Agulla

Cons: Flood 2

Pens: Flood 2

Northampton Saints

Tries: Ashton, May, Dowson

Cons: Myler 2

Pens: Lamb 2

Life and Style
love + sex
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
News
people
Sport
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn