Leeds stand firm to hold off Northampton

Alex Kirk
Monday 18 November 2002 01:00

Leeds produced an outstanding defensive performance to beat Northampton 26-19 yesterday and move into second place in the Premiership.

They maintained their unbeaten record by withstanding a late fightback from an 18-6 half-time deficit which was increased when Chris Hall dived onto a kick through by the scrum-half Alan Dickens on the hour.

That gave Leeds a 26-12 lead and despite mounting several promising attacks, Northampton only breached the home defence once when the lock Rob Hunter emerged from beneath a pile of players to claim a try which Paul Grayson converted.

The Harlequins favourite Paul Burke returned to steer his side to victory over Wasps. The Irish fly-half has been out for nearly two months with a knee injury, but he looked like he had never been away, scoring a try, a goal, four penalties and a drop goal in his side's 27-14 victory.

Despite mounting a spirited fightback, Newcastle were plunged deeper into the relegation struggle after being beaten 24-20 at home to Bath.

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