Handré Pollard assisted in securing Leicester’s victory over Northampton in a thrilling derby match.
Leicester is looking to jumpstart their season with a challenging 26-17 victory against Northampton in the local derby. Handré Pollard, the South African fly-half and World Cup winner, scored 16 points through his accurate kicking, dealing a blow to his team’s nearby opponents at Welford Road.
The Tigers had only won one of their first five Premiership games leading into the match, however they played with great intensity and were able to end Northampton’s three-game winning streak. In the second half, Francois van Wyk and Hanro Liebenberg scored tries which added to Leicester’s 9-3 lead at half-time. The Saints struggled, giving away numerous penalties and receiving yellow cards for Sam Matavesi and Ethan Waller, resulting in them playing with only 13 men in the second half.
The team’s fans were disappointed by a referee’s call that could have had significant consequences. With a score of 19-10, Karl Dickson stopped play, believing that there was a knock-on from Henry Pollock before Tommy Freeman scored a try. Video replays suggested that the try could have been valid, but Leicester was fortunate to avoid it and went on to secure a crucial victory.
The Tigers established a fierce atmosphere from the start, and when George Furbank dropped a high ball, Northampton committed an offside penalty. This allowed Pollard to score a penalty and give the home team the lead.
As time passed, Leicester intensified their efforts, but a score by Charlie Clare was correctly disallowed due to obstruction from Solomone Kata on Fraser Dingwall after a maul.
Fin Smith levelled the scores for Saints with a superb long-range penalty, but Tigers were quickly back in front after Pollard notched a penalty earned at the scrum. Pollard soon added another three points, this time from just inside his own half, after Leicester again won the breakdown battle.
The team playing at home showed a strong level of determination and dominance, gaining control at the scrum and earning three consecutive penalties. Pollard missed a penalty by hitting the goalpost, and Northampton missed an opportunity after a close attempt by James Ramm to chase Smith’s kick.
The away team faced a difficult opportunity at the end of a challenging first half. The challenges persisted in the second half as Tommy Reffell’s skill in breaking down plays caused chaos. Northampton did not catch a break, and Pollard added three more points to the scoreboard when the Tigers earned another penalty.
The Saints made the decision to have Pollock play in his first Premiership game instead of Tom Pearson, but the 18-year-old and his fellow players faced a difficult challenge. When Northampton’s substitute hooker Matavesi was penalized for entering from the side, the Tigers took advantage and scored a point through Van Wyk.
Waller received a yellow card due to Northampton’s ongoing issues in the scrum, but the team bounced back with only 13 players on the field and managed to score with Furbank. The conversion was successful and Northampton believed they could make a comeback when Freeman scored shortly after. However, referee Dickson had already called for a knock-on before Freeman’s try, which was disallowed, causing confusion for the visiting team.
Hanro Liebenberg’s successful try from a rapid penalty ensured Leicester’s victory, followed by Matavesi scoring from a well-executed play in the last moments of the game for the Saints.