Rebuilt Tigers expose Pontney's illusions

Leicester 32 Northampton 0

Can it be too early to make a prediction of that sort? On the evidence they offered on Saturday - in a game which could have finished in a record defeat in the series of East Midlands derbies that began 111 years ago if Andy Goode's goal-kicking had been up to scratch - Saints have much more to do than their director of rugby, Budge Pountney, suggested afterwards.

"We can take some positives from that," said Pountney. "It's going to take some time for our newcomers to settle in. I know from experience that Welford Road is a very difficult place to come and play well."

What Pountney did not say was that it would be difficult to imagine how they could play as poorly again. Given that Saints had won four of the previous five Premiership matches against the Tigers, this was a loss going well beyond what could be considered acceptable.

At least they adhered to the Rugby Football Union's stricture about an 11-week rest period for their Lions and England players who were on summer tours. This meant an afternoon summarising on local radio for their Lions hooker Steve Thompson. Whether his considerable on-field presence would have made much difference is questionable.

Leicester, rebuilding now the Martin Johnson and Neil Back era has ended, did not just front up, it was up front where they were so in command. Two of their five tries came out of the Johnson textbook on how to execute a forward drive, while the others bore testimony to their superiority in broken play.

If Goode had been in anything like prime kicking form this would have been a rout rather than an embarrassment for Saints. Before the interval, Goode had squandered 19 points by missing four penalties, two conversions and a drop at goal.

Two of the Tigers' first-half tries came while the Saints prop Tom Smith was in the sin-bin for tipping Leo Cullen out of a line-out. The third came when Alesana Tuilagi scooped up a pass spilled by Daniel Browne and ran 75 metres to score.

With two Bruce Reihana penalty attempts sailing wide, that made it 17-0 at the break. After it Tuilagi made the break to send Dan Hipkiss in and Carlos Spencer - Saints' All Black summer signing - was shaking his head in disbelief.

Goode's conversion, a penalty, and a try from Tom Varndell made the truth even harder to bear for Saints.

Leicester: Tries Hamilton, Holford, Tuilagi, Hipkiss, Varndell; Conversions Goode 2; Penalty Goode.

Leicester: S Vesty; A Tuilagi, D Hipkiss (L Lloyd, 48-58), D Gibson (Lloyd, 58), T Varndell; A Goode (R Broadfoot, 68), H Ellis (A Healey, 68); M Holford (J White, 59), G Chuter (E Taukafa, 70), A Moreno (M Holford, 78), J Hamilton, L Cullen (B Kay, 55), W Johnson, S Jennings, M Corry (capt; L Abraham, 49).

Northampton: B Reihana (capt); J Rudd (S Lamont, 71), J Clarke, S Mallon, B Cohen; C Spencer, M Robinson; T Smith (C Budgen, 59), D Hartley (D Richmond, 78), B Sturgess, M Lord, Damien Browne, A Rae (S Boome, 40), D Fox (B Lewitt, 61), Daniel Browne.

Referee: R Maybank (Kent).

Suggested Topics
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence