Northampton boss Chris Boyd suggested his struggling side may have to change the way they play after describing their performance in the 28-24 derby defeat to Leicester as their worst in two years. Ill-discipline cost Northampton dear as they slumped to a sixth defeat in seven matches since the restart, with Leicester fly-half Zack Henry kicking five penalties.

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Henry also added a drop goal and a conversion for a match-tally of 20 points. Ben Youngs, with a try on his 250th appearance for the club, and Freddie Steward, with a penalty, were Leicester’s other scorers at Welford Road.

Two of Northampton’s three tries came from Paul Hill and Henry Taylor. Saints also picked up a penalty try award with Dan Biggar kicking a penalty and two conversions, but they will rue their failure to take advantage of Tigers’ three yellow cards.

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Director of rugby Boyd said: “That was our worst performance in two years. To come here in a derby, I could have stomached losing with a good effort but our performance was massively disappointing and flat.

“We have been concentrating on playing a game with width and pre-Covid it was working for us but since the restart, we’ve got increasingly worse at trying to play it.

“Until our confidence comes back we have may need to modify the way we play and consider a different selection.

“We may be asking too much of ourselves and if we carry on like this it will be a pitiful end to the season as it will be much tougher against Exeter at Sandy Park next weekend.

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“When they (Leicester) went down to 13, they scored three points and we didn’t score at all so we’ll have to consider our processes and how our execution went wrong during that period.”

In contrast, Leicester director of rugby Geordan Murphy was in upbeat mood as they recorded only their second win since the restart to celebrate Youngs’ milestone appearance.

Murphy said: “It was a really pleasing start to the game and then we had to ride out a very tough period before half-time.

“To go down to 13 and concede a penalty try was disappointing and we will have to assess our discipline but we went back to work really well and showed some steely determination.”

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Murphy also had words of praise for match-winner Henry, who was standing in for the injured George Ford

“Zach has improved in every game. He wasn’t pencilled in to start but George Ford had a lower leg problem so we rested him as a precaution but Zach was excellent,” he added.

“It was disappointing to concede a try at the death but we deserved to win.

“It was an emotional game for Ben (Youngs) but he was in the right place to stroll over for our try and he led the team extremely well in difficult circumstances.”

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