Sleightholme scores as Saints show incredible character to secure win at Tigers

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Saints delivered a display full of character and heart as they claimed a superb 19-18 derby-day win at Leicester Tigers on Saturday afternoon.

Phil Dowson's side had fallen 7-0 down early on, having lost James Ramm to the sin bin for a high hit.

But Ramm more than made amends as he went on the produce a man of the match display in his side's incredible success.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Saints kept fighting, going in just a point down at the break as George Furbank's three penalties kept them in touch.

Ollie Sleightholme scored for SaintsOllie Sleightholme scored for Saints
Ollie Sleightholme scored for Saints

Tigers started to struggle to find a way through an extremely resilient away defence, and Saints pounced when their chance came.

Ramm's brilliant offload allowed Ollie Sleightholme to finish in fine fashion, and Saints eventually held out with some sturdy and defiant defending.

It was a crucial win that pushed them three points clear of Tigers in the Gallagher Premiership table ahead of a league-wide bye weekend next week.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Saints had headed to Mattioli Woods Welford Road on the back of three successive defeats in all competitions, and they endured a difficult start against Tigers.

The black, green and gold were a man down inside three minutes as Ramm was sin-binned for a high hit on Harry Potter with the away side under all sorts of pressure out wide.

Saints were giving in their all in defence, but, with Mike Haywood down injured, they were eventually exposed by Potter, who beat Rory Hutchinson and dived over the line.

Handre Pollard converted and it was far from the start the black, green and gold had dreamed of.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The deficit was reduced just before Ramm returned to the field as Furbank slotted a penalty, ensuring Saints would not make it a fourth away game in succession without scoring a first-half point.

Saints soon started to give Tigers a tough time at the scrum, pushing the hosts back, but it was a different story with ball in hand as the men in green stood tall in defence.

Tigers soon restored their seven-point lead as Alex Coles ran into trouble, allowing Julian Montoya to win the breakdown penalty, which Pollard easily slotted.

Saints responded with a patient, high-tempo attack, which forced Tommy Reffell to offend at the breakdown, giving Furbank another three points.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Furbank soon notched his third penalty of the game after Jasper Wiese was penalised for going off his feet.

Wiese was involved in the first-half scuffles that broke out as the South African tried to rattle Saints.

And it appeared that the No.8 had gone far too far as he looked to be trying to twist Alex Waller's ankle, which looked an extremely dangerous and reckless act.

No punishment was dished out though, as Tigers were instead given a penalty, leaving Waller rightly incensed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The gap remained a point at the break, but Furbank put Saints in front for the first time after Sleightholme and Aaron Hinkley combined to win a breakdown penalty.

But the lead didn't last long as, with a penalty coming, Potter skipped past Tom James to score.

Freddie Burns, kicking because Handre Pollard had been forced off injured early in the second half, missed the conversion.

Saints responded almost immediately as a fantastic offload from Ramm opened the door for Sleightholme, and the wing stepped inside in razor-sharp fashion to score.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Furbank converted and the Saints fans were making their voices heard.

Saints tested Tigers again with an attack full of force, but the hosts managed to hold out and soon won a penalty at the other end, allowing Burns to reduce the deficit to a point.

Burns, on his final Tigers appearance, was soon departing to rapturous applause, but in the meantime, Furbank missed a penalty that could have opened up a four-point lead at a key time.

Tigers kept coming, but the Saints defence was delivering time and again.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And after Saints won a penalty for Tigers taking them in the air at lineout time, the ball was eventually booted out to put the seal on a characterful success.

Leicester Tigers: Burns (Gopperth 68); Watson, Scott, Porter, Potter; Pollard (Simmons 45), Edwards (Whiteley 68); Whitcombe (West 57), Montoya (Clare 75), Hurd (Richardson 64); Wells, Snyman (Martin 57); Liebenberg (c), Reffell (Cracknell 40), Wiese.

Saints: Ramm; Skosan, Proctor, Hutchinson, Sleightholme; Furbank (c), James; A Waller (E Waller 52), Haywood (R Smith 10), Hill (Petch 68); Moon, Coles; Scott-Young, Hinkley (Graham 52), Augustus.

Referee: Wayne Barnes

Attendance: 25,849

Related topics: