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Premiership leaders Northampton fight back for victory over 14-man Leicester

By PA
Press Association

Northampton marched to a 40-17 Gallagher Premiership bonus-point win over 14-man Leicester as they reinforced their status as table toppers on derby day in the East Midlands.

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Leicester went in ahead at half-time leading 10-6 after a scrappy 40 minutes that included a yellow card apiece.

But the Saints showed their class after the break, pulling away with a helping hand from Solomone Kata, who was dismissed for a dangerous high tackle on Fraser Dingwall with the score at 18-17 in Northampton’s favour.

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The home side scored five tries in total during the second period as they warmed up for trips to Twickenham and Croke Park in the coming weeks with a fourth-successive win.

Leicester had gone into the derby having won five of their past six meetings with their local rivals and the Tigers started well on the renewal of the old rivalry.

Referee Christophe Ridley sin binned Saints prop Elliot Millar Mills for head-on-head contact with Ollie Chessum as the visitors pushed forward and they took the lead when skipper Julian Montoya went over on the back of a lineout drive.

Fixture
Gallagher Premiership
Northampton
40 - 17
Full-time
Leicester
All Stats and Data

Handre Pollard converted well but Northampton hit back with a George Furbank penalty.

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Pollard cancelled that out with an effort of his own as the two sides continued to trade blows.

Northampton thought they had scored when Alex Mitchell went for the line, but he was held up.

Leicester remained under pressure and after Furbank claimed his second penalty, influential Tigers number eight Jasper Wiese paid the price for his side’s persistent offending with a yellow card.

Northampton could not capitalise as their opponents held a four-point lead at the break but soon after the restart, the Saints had their try as Curtis Langdon went flying down the left and used his speed and strength to score.

The hosts were suddenly building momentum and they were awarded a penalty try after a deliberate knock-on from Jamie Shillcock when Furbank tried to send the final pass out wide.

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Northampton Saints Leicester
Press Association

Shillcock was sin-binned and the home fans roared their approval at how the start to the second half had unfolded.

But Tigers hit back with ferocity as Wiese powered over from the back of a lineout.

The key moment came four minutes later though as the referee saw replays of Kata’s hit on Dingwall on the big screen and consulted his TMO, coming to the conclusion that the high tackle had a high level of danger, earning Kata a red card.

Northampton took advantage in ruthless fashion, scoring from a maul via Robbie Smith before efforts from George Hendy and Tom James, along with a tidy Fin Smith drop goal, finished the job.

Hendy was shown a yellow card with nine minutes to go but it mattered not for a Saints side who had the game well won by then.

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