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
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV 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

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor