One of the stars for Saints was former Wallaby fly-half Shane Drahm, who last week had his two-week suspension for striking an opponent reduced to a caution. Drahm scored one of his team's six tries, as well as kicking five conversions and two penalties.
The decision by the Saints coaching staff to reshuffle their pack paid dividends and they seemed to have control of the game for long periods.
But it was the performance of Drahm, snapped up from relegated Bristol Shoguns during the off-season, that made the difference. Not only did he score a superb solo try, but he had a significant hand in two others.
Leeds opened the scoring with a Gordon Ross penalty in the second minute, followed by a Liam Botham try in the ninth. Ross added the conversion to give the visitors a 10-0 lead in as many minutes.
But Northampton soaked up the early pressure and in the 15th minute, former Chiefs flyer Bruce Reihana scored the first of his two tries to open the account for the home team. Drahm started his scoring spree by kicking the conversion.
Drahm scored the next try, when he jinked and side-stepped his way over in the 21st minute, and added the conversion as he put his team in the lead for the first time.
The home team never conceded that lead as Drahm added a penalty in the 29th minute, and then also converted the tries by John Leslie (37th minute) and James Brooks (40th minute). The Leslie try came after a neat side-footed kick from Drahm.
This saw Saints take a 31-10 lead into the break. In the closing stages of the first half Leeds had also been temporarily reduced to 13 men, with both Ross and fullback Dan Scarbrough yellow-carded.
Leeds enjoyed a short spell of dominance early in the second half, which was rewarded with a Dan Hyde try in the 52nd minute. Ross added the conversion to narrow the gap to 31-17.
But a Drahm penalty in the 64th minute, followed by a try from Mark Tucker in the 71st minute – which Drahm duly converted – saw the lead stretch to 41-17.
Leeds managed a consolation try in the 79th minute, with Scarbrough going over and Ross adding the conversion.
But that was almost immediately cancelled when Reihana scored the second of his tries. With the game now well and truly won, Drahm even handed the kicking duties to Reihana, who slotted the conversion.
For Northampton Saints:Tries: Drahm, Reihana 2, Leslie, Tucker, BrooksCons: Drahm 5, ReihanaPens: Drahm 2
For Leeds Tykes:Tries: Hyde, Botham, ScarbroughCons: Ross 3Pen: Ross