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Match Reaction: Northampton Saints 15-23 Leicester Tigers

Match Reaction: Northampton Saints 15-23 Leicester Tigers

Leicester Tigers caused an upset with a hard-fought win over Northampton Saints in the East Midlands derby.

The game was held at Twickenham in honour of Rob Horne, who suffered a horrific injury in the same fixture last year and was forced to retire.

But converted tries from Ben Youngs and Jordan Olowofela – who came on early for an injured Jonny May – were enough to see Leicester over the line and earn their team a first win over Saints since March 2017.

Northampton dotted down on three occasions through Jamie Gibson, David Ribbans and Mike Haywood, but 13 points from the boot of George Ford was the difference at the Home of Rugby.


The conditions in west London were not ideal for free-flowing rugby as the heavens opened and made the ball extremely hard to hold on to, but two glimmers of magic from Jonah Holmes proved there was quality out there somewhere.

The Tigers full-back found himself in space twice and set up tries on both occasions, firstly Youngs with a well-timed inside ball, then Olowofela after a slicing run.


The support from both sides for Rob Horne was immense at Twickenham and by far the best, most emotional moment of the match came when the former Saints man brought on the match ball.

The rugby family united and the noise was unbelievable, with fans from both sides standing to applaud Horne on to the pitch.

A game that transcended the sport, that moment reminded everyone of the importance of support and it was the perfect start to a classic East Midlands derby.


Tigers’ second score was a thing of beauty among a game that largely involved the forwards.

Picking up a loose ball, Holmes spied a gap in the Saints defence and raced through to open up the pitch, then sent the ball out to Olowofela in support.

Harry Mallinder just caught the England Under-20 star but, with the slippy pitch, he couldn’t drag Olowofela out and the winger slid over the line to score.


Northampton Saints director of rugby said: “The boys are very down in the changing room though as they wanted to do better than that, there’s no hiding that.

I don’t think the occasion got to them, we were in a good mental space, we knew it was important not to get over-aroused and that it was important to stay focused on the football despite what the day was all about.

“The positive part of it is that we put on a game for Rob (Horne) irrespective of the result. At the end of the day whatever we did for Rob is not related to the outcome. It would’ve been great if we could have played better and won but at the end of the day the derby game was bought down here (to Twickenham) as a testimonial match for Rob, who is a highly regarded in the organisation, and that was still achieved irrespective of the outcome.

“We’re disappointed to be two from six in the first block of the Premiership but we’ve got to keep working hard and try to get some solutions.”



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🧦 Here are the club socks the lads will wear at today’s game – tag your club below if you see them!

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Great to get a derby win at Twickenham. And have my 2 oldest mates at the game🙌🏻🙌🏻

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