Tag Archives: northampton

Wasps 24 Northampton 26: Christian Day scores late winner

Wasps 24 Northampton 26: Day breaks hosts' hearts with last-gasp winner

By
Ian Stafford

PUBLISHED:

17:54 GMT, 23 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:11 GMT, 23 March 2013

Northampton 's pack dominated their Wasps counterparts to such an extent in this battle for the play-offs that three Wasps forwards were sent to the sin bin.

But it took Christian Day's finalplay try to steal victory. Stephen Myler still needed to land the simple conversion to confirm the win but Day's score – assisted by returning England star Dylan Hartley, who shoved his team-mate over the line – also earned a bonus point that could prove crucial.

Wasps, seconds away from a remarkable win considering they played with one man down for nearly half an hour and were crushed up front, now find themselves seven points adrift of fourth-placed Northampton.

Lee 'n' easy: Lee Dickinson scores the Saints' second try

Lee 'n' easy: Lee Dickinson scores the Saints' second try

Day's final score summed up a
physical clash between two teams featuring a host of players who either
lost for England last week in Cardiff or who are pushing hard for a
place in the June tour to Argentina.

Day's try resulted from a driving maul as the Wasps forwards spent much of the game going backwards and conceding penalties.

Saints would have been kicking themselves if they had lost, which they nearly did thanks to a second-half comeback from Wasps.

Losing director of rugby Dai Young
said: 'Fair play to Northampton, they had a real weapon in their maul
and they used it. It's hard to play against them with 15 men and even
harder with 14 for much of the game, especially when you don't get the
field position or the ball.

Heading for glory: Elliot Daly (right) of London Wasps scores his team's second try

Heading for glory: Elliot Daly (right) of London Wasps scores his team's second try

'That said, having got our noses in
front, I take issue with the last three penalties awarded to them,
although I'm not saying Saints didn't deserve to win. The bottom line is
that if you can't stop a driving line out you'll struggle.'

Northampton director of rugby Jim
Mallinder was more relieved than happy, saying: 'If you have a weapon
like that, then you use it. We controlled the game but Wasps can score
points quickly.

'We gave away some penalties and almost threw it away. But we got a bonus point win and are now in a good position.'

Snow stopping me: George Pisi evades Daly's tackle

Snow stopping me: George Pisi evades Daly's tackle

The portents were clear from as early
as the eighth minute, when referee David Rose awarded Saints a penalty
try and sent Thomas Rhys Thomas to the bin.

Eight minutes later, Lee Dickson
flopped over after another powerful maul. Wasps hit back through a
long-range Elliott Daly penalty and then a classic Tom Varndell try,
sprinting in from 50 yards to score his 12th of the season and his 72nd
Premiership try in total. Varndell is now only four behind record scorer
Mark Cueto.

Snow joke: Daly lefty dejected after Saints stole the win at the death

Snow joke: Daly lefty dejected after Saints stole the win at the death

A conversion and two penalties from
Stephen Jones meant the home side were only three points down at the
break, despite a Hartley try from yet another destructive maul.

This built into a five-point
advantage after another Jones penalty and a stunning finish from Daly in
the corner which will surely not go unnoticed by the England selectors.

But after Ashley Johnson received his
team's third yellow card, Day ended a period of sustained Northampton
pressure by snatching the game at the death.

LIVE STREAM: Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby U18 Cup semi-finals

LIVE STREAM: Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby U18 Cup semi-finals – watch the action unfold here

Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby

PUBLISHED:

10:04 GMT, 2 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:05 GMT, 2 March 2013

The Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby has officially entered the business end of the competition with the Finals at Twickenham now only weeks away.

Today, Sportsmail brings you LIVE action from the U18s Cup semi-finals at Broadstreet RFC in Coventry.

At 11am, Dulwich take on Hampton to get us underway, followed by Warwick versus Northampton School for Boys.

A place in the prestigious Final on March 23 is up for grabs. Who will be there Find out here and watch all the drama as it unfolds on the video player below…

(function(d,config) //asyncrynously call the buto video embed script thanks to http://mathiasbynens.be/notes/async-analytics-snippet
var b = d.createElement(“script”);
var s = d.getElementById(“buto_js_embed”); //where to embed before
b.setAttribute(“async”,true); //html 5 async
b.src = “//embed.buto.tv/js/”+ config.object_id;
b.onload=function() //callback once script has loaded which calls specific js functions within file once loaded
if (window.buto)
buto.addPlayer(config);

}
s.parentNode.insertBefore(b, s);
}(document,
object_id:”459404″,
element_id:”buto_player_container_459404”
));

Paul Gascoigne health fears: Fans see former star struggle on stage at charity event

Fans fear for Gazza's health as former England star bursts into tears during event after slurring that he had been 'on the whisky for three days'The 45-year-old struggled to answer questions during charity appearance'Trembling' former England star ushered onstage by two security guards
He unleashed abuse before apologising to fans who had paid 100-a-headHis agent said Gascoigne 'wasn't very well' but had made a 'huge effort to straighten his life out'

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

12:29 GMT, 2 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:49 GMT, 3 February 2013

Struggle: Paul Gascoigne, 45, was said to have failed to answer questions during an appearance at a charity event in Northampton

Struggle: Paul Gascoigne, 45, was said to have failed to answer questions during an appearance at a charity event in Northampton

Football fans expressed their fears over the health of former England star Paul Gascoigne as they watched the him burst into tears during a rambling appearance at a charity event.

The 'trembling' 45-year-old had to be helped onstage for a question and answer session in which he slurred responses and muttered a slew of curse words.

Guests at the event, who had paid 100 to see the footballer, described how Gascoigne apologised to the crowd, blaming 'three days on the whiskey' for his performance.

The Newcastle-born footballer, widely
regarded as one of the most gifted English players, has battled
alcoholism and drug use since retiring from the game in 2004.

The 500 guests described the event as having the 'atmosphere of a
funeral' as they watched Gascoigne slurring through the exchanges with
his agent Terry Baker.

Gazza rose to national prominence during the Italia 90 World Cup, during which he famously broke into tears after being booked in
the semi-final against Germany.

Following
the breast cancer charity event, hosted by Northampton Town, a further 15 speaking
events were cancelled – some at former clubs where Gascoigne is
regarded as a hero.

Mr
Baker said that the former midfielder did not drink whisky and that the
comment had been a botched joke about being on a 'whisky diet'.

He said that Gascoigne 'wasn't very well' despite having made a 'huge effort to straighten his life out' but

He told The Sun: He probably shouldn't have gone out but he didn't want to let all those people down.'

Gazza

Paul Gascoigne

Struggles: The ex-footballer has long struggled with his alcohol addiction and drug use

Failed: The event's 500 guests described the event as having the 'atmosphere of a funeral' as they watched Gascoigne slurring through the questions with his agent Terry Baker

Failed: The event's 500 guests described the event as having the 'atmosphere of a funeral' as they watched Gascoigne slurring through the questions with his agent Terry Baker

One
attendee wrote an online account of the evening in which he described
how guests were told that Gascoigne was 'very ill' but had 'insisted on
appearing'.

The fan claimed
that guests were told the former Newcastle United and Lazio star would
be brought to hospital 'immediately afterwards'.

He said Mr Barker told guests that
his client had consumed two pints and that they should be 'patient' with
him, telling them to 'remember Gazza for the good times he gave us'.

Once ushered onstage, Gascoigne was asked who the best player he had played with was.

Paul Gascoigne

1990 World Cup

Fallen star: Gascoigne rose to prominence during the 1990 World
Cup, during which he famously broke into tears after being booked in
the semi-final against Germany

Career: Gascoigne has made 57 appearances for England and appeared for a number of clubs, including Everton, Tottenham and Newcastle

Career: Gascoigne has made 57 appearances for England and appeared for a number of clubs, including Everton, Tottenham and Newcastle

According to the account, he answered: 'Bryan Robson. But he's a ****. They're all ****s. You're all ****s.'

After apologising, Gascoigne broke down again as he struggled to answer questions.

The performance was said to have left 'a lump in everyone's throat'.

Gascoigne's manager Matt Jones today said the former footballer had been 'up and down' recently.

He added: 'Paul is getting the help and support that he needs. I am in regular contact with him and his counsellors and just giving him the support that he needs.

'The reality is that Paul is an alcoholic. He has been very good of late but every day is a battle not to have a drink.'

Having won 57 caps for England after a glittering career in which he played for Lazio and Everton, the star tried to address his alcoholism on several occasions and has spoken about his attempts at rehabilitation.

Chris Robshaw has been named England skipper for the Six Nations as Stuart Lancaster keeps his faith in the flanker

Robshaw named England skipper for Six Nations as Lancaster keeps faith in flanker

By
Duncan Bech, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

19:53 GMT, 21 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:03 GMT, 21 January 2013

England have confirmed Chris Robshaw as their captain for the forthcoming RBS Six Nations in an appointment that will have caused no surprises.

Robshaw has been retained after leading England to a record 38-21 victory over New Zealand at Twickenham on December 1 and will fill the post for a second successive championship.

Northampton forwards Dylan Hartley and Tom Wood are viewed as potential captains, but coach Stuart Lancaster views 26-year-old Harlequins openside Robshaw as the outstanding candidate.

Chris Robshaw will lead England into the Six Nations as one of the favourites

Responsibility: Chris Robshaw will lead England into the Six Nations as one of the favourites

Lancaster, who announced Robshaw's reappointment at tonight's squad meeting, believes the Lions captaincy candidate has developed into superb leader.

'Chris stepped into the role 12 months ago when we were building a new team and he has grown as a captain on and off the field,' Lancaster said.

'He showed those leadership qualities during the QBE Internationals and especially against the All Blacks when the whole squad got behind him.

'We have a number of leaders and I know they will all take this team forwards with Chris as we look to kick on from that result.'

Robshaw will be hoping to continue the success which led to victory over New Zealand

Ice Cold: Robshaw will be hoping to continue the success which led to victory over New Zealand

Robshaw made his Test debut against
Argentina in 2009 and despite his lack of experience, was installed as
skipper upon his next cap against Scotland at the start of last year's
Six Nations.

He has continued in the post since,
missing only the final Test against South Africa last June due to
injury, and has been a key part of Lancaster's rebuilding program
following the disastrous 2011 World Cup.

'Stuart told me this afternoon and I am really pleased to be asked again,' Robshaw said.

'There are other leaders in the squad that Stuart could have turned to so I am really honoured.

'The lads have been great over the
last year and now we our focus is on building on the New Zealand
performance and getting a result against Scotland.'

Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns will
undergo a scan over the coming days to assess the extent of the damage
of the knee injury he sustained during Saturday's 36-16 victory over
Mont de Marsan.

Robshaw celebrates with Ben Youngs and James Haskell

Good times: Robshaw celebrates with Ben Youngs and James Haskell

Robshaw and Stuart Lancaster have formed a formidable partnership leading England

Together: Robshaw and Stuart Lancaster have formed a formidable partnership leading England

Rugby news: Alex Corbisiero signs for Northampton

Corbisiero to leave Irish as England prop agrees summer switch to Northampton

/03_05/bn_lukeBenedict3_308x76.jpg” alt=”Luke Benedict” width=”308″ height=”76″ title=”” />

'There is a great culture and hopefully I can help the team succeed while continuing my progression as a player, and I am sure that Franklin's Gardens will be a good environment for me in that regard.'

Northampton have also announced new contracts for props Tom Mercey and Alex Waller.

Saints rugby director Jim Mallinder added: 'All three players have plenty of experience, and because they are still in their early-to-mid 20s we believe that there is plenty more to come from them.

'I am that all three props have put pen to paper to be a part of the Saints squad going forward.'

Saracens 17 Northampton 16: Stephen Myler misses penalty with last kick

Saracens 17 Northampton 16: Myler miss is a kick in the teeth for Jim's beaten Saints

|

UPDATED:

19:40 GMT, 30 December 2012

Stephen Myler and Northampton were left shattered in Milton Keynes as the fly-half’s last-minute, long-range penalty to win a pulsating game hit the crossbar and bounced out, giving Saracens a dramatic reprieve.

The Saints No 10 was presented with a shot for glory from his own half, with just seconds remaining, in controversial circumstances. Saracens prop Rhys Gill was penalised by referee JP Doyle for kicking the ball away from a ruck, when replays suggested that the ball was out and he was entitled to do so.

Then, some back-chat from one of the home players prompted the official to march forward 10 metres, leaving Northampton with a penalty on the limit of kicking range.

Close call: Myler hit the crossbar with the final kick of the game

Close call: Myler hit the crossbar with the final kick of the game

Putting the boot in: Farrell

Putting the boot in: Farrell

Myler, who had already registered 11 points with the boot, took aim at the posts, some 57 metres away. He let fly and the ball soared towards the target, only to glance off the centre of the bar, allowing Brad Barritt to clear into the stands to clinch the narrow win which sees his side go into the new year second in the Aviva Premiership, one point behind champions and leaders Harlequins.

Back by the halfway line, Myler was left on his haunches, with his head in his hands. Jim Mallinder, Northampton’s director of rugby, turned and strode down the tunnel, frustrated by the agonising manner of this latest defeat against a top-four team and incensed by Doyle’s refereeing.

Afterwards, he said: ‘Should have won, could have won. If Stephen Myler had kicked that goal at the end, we’d all be in there now celebrating a great away victory.

‘To be honest, I didn’t think he could get it. I was definitely wondering if they had made the right decision but you have to leave it to the players. Stephen knows best if he has a realistic chance of kicking it or not. It was left up to him and I think he probably did make the right decision to go for it.’

In a tense final quarter, a few of Doyle’s decisions came in for close scrutiny, particularly a penalty awarded to Saracens at a ruck in the closing minutes. Ben Foden, the Saints and England full back, exploded with rage when the whistle sounded and vented his fury on the nearby touch judge. Mallinder, in slightly calmer fashion, echoed his sense of indignation.

‘The majority of the decisions early on were probably just, but the referee has got to be consistent,’ he said. ‘If he is going to penalise Dylan Hartley for going off his feet, quite rightly, then he has to do Barritt at the end of the game for the same offence. In the final 10 or 15 minutes, there was some decision-making by us which we’ll need to look at, and we’ll look at a couple of the referee’s decisions as well, because they can be the difference between winning and losing close games like that. He got a number of those decisions wrong today.’

For the first quarter of this game, it merely appeared a question of how many points Saracens would win by against their bitter rivals, whose supporters dominated the large festive crowd. The nomadic Hertfordshire club immediately appeared at home in a stadium where their opponents have staged matches in the past, and were ahead in the seventh minute.

Try time: Phil Dowson crossed for Northampton

Try time: Phil Dowson crossed for Northampton

From an attacking line-out on the left, George Kruis took a clean catch and the Saracens pack drove forward with great conviction, on and on over the line until John Smit touched down. Charlie Hodgson missed the conversion, but he was on target with an 11th-minute penalty and his side continued to dominate proceedings on the back of clear superiority in the scrum.

Yet, that set-piece advantage gradually faded as the Saints forwards rallied and in the 24th minute the visitors hit back.

From a scrum near halfway, Ken Pisi broke clear on the right, Courtney Lawes stormed on and when quick ball was delivered to Phil Dowson, the flanker burst through three tackles to score a try which Myler converted to make it 11-7.

Saracens retaliated with gusto to this renewed challenge and after David Strettle so nearly went clean through the middle in the Northampton 22, Will Fraser and Ernst Joubert drove strongly at the line but the ball went loose, Samu Manoa pounced on it and eventually a clearance kick by Lee Dickson alleviated the sustained pressure.

Cast adrift: Northampton are eight points behind Saracens

Cast adrift: Northampton are eight points behind Saracens

Moments later, the scrum-half’s dart forward brought a penalty to the Saints which Myler struck to narrow the deficit to one point at the break. After half-time, the visitors’ No 10 maintained his assured goal-kicking to establish a 16-11 lead for his team, while Hodgson missed three successive shots at the other end. Owen Farrell, who had replaced Joel Tomkins at outside centre, took over kicking duties and calmly dispatched two successive penalties to push Saracens in front again and they clung on with a little help from the crossbar which denied Myler.

Mark McCall, Sarries’ director of rugby, was relieved by the outcome of that last-gasp kick, saying: ‘I felt the same as everyone else felt. It was out of our hands. We knew it was a very difficult kick. It was an unbelievable strike in fairness. He had his kicking boots on today, so we are grateful to have come away with a narrow victory.’

In a measured reaction to Doyle’s officiating, McCall added: ‘There are always going to be things that you are not happy about. There was some frustration in our side from time to time and I am surprised they (Northampton) feel as strongly as they do about it.’

This defeat for the Saints leaves them sixth in the Premiership table but Mallinder remained bullish about their prospects of mounting a convincing title challenge. ‘We know we’re a good side and today proved that,’ he said.

‘There’s not a lot between the top teams and although we’re now mid-table, we’re not out of the running, by any means. There are a few people who have written us off already but there’s a long way to go. We won’t give up, we’ll be back.’

Ulster 9 Northampton 10: Saints blow group wide open with tight win at Ravenhill

Ulster 9 Northampton 10: Van the man seals
Saints' stirring win

PUBLISHED:

21:22 GMT, 15 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

21:42 GMT, 15 December 2012

Northampton Saints produced a stirring defensive display to end Ulster's four-year unbeaten run at Ravenhill.

Northampton No 8 GJ Van Velze scored the game's only try as Jim Mallinder's side recovered from last week's humbling defeat to blow Pool Four wide open.

Not since 2008 had Ulster lost a European tie in Belfast but Ruan Pienaar missed a late winner as Saints held on. Northampton were facing the embarrassment of a second season without reaching the quarter-finals of Europe's elite competition.

Ben Foden of Northampton takes on Paddy Jackson

Breaking free: Northamton's Ben Foden in action with Ulster's Paddy Jackson

Against last year's finalists,
unbeaten so far this season, Northampton threw everything into a
predictably physical opening and their abrasiveness and aggression saw
fly-half Stephen Myler land an early penalty.

With so many South Africans in
Ulster's ranks, it was little surprise that Saints No 8 Van Velze felt
as though he was at a home from home.

And the forward swatted aside Andrew
Trimble to touch down in the corner on 18 minutes. Myler added the
conversion to open a 10-0 lead that, in such a closely contested tie,
could prove decisive.

 Tom Court of Ulster is tackled by Lee Dickson

Crashing down: Saints pummeled the Ulster line after last week's embarrassing defeat

Against last year's finalists,
unbeaten so far this season, Northampton threw everything into a
predictably physical opening and their abrasiveness and aggression saw
fly-half Stephen Myler land an early penalty.

With so many South Africans in
Ulster's ranks, it was little surprise that Saints No 8 Van Velze felt
as though he was at a home from home.

And the forward swatted aside Andrew
Trimble to touch down in the corner on 18 minutes. Myler added the
conversion to open a 10-0 lead that, in such a closely contested tie,
could prove decisive.

Having been humbled at home last
week by the RaboDirect Pro12 leaders, Saints restricted Ulster
effectively and it was not until 31 minutes that Paddy Jackson finally
got on the scoreboard with his first penalty.

Northampton's Dylan Hartley (2nd L), Paul Doran Jones and Alex Waller (R) look dejected with team mates

Hard fought win: Northampton's Dylan Hartley (2nd left), Paul Doran Jones and Alex Waller (right)

Ulster's New Zealander Nick Williams
used his huge frame to break the visitors' line twice but lacked the
pace to finish and Ulster showed niether the patience nor the accuracy
to take advantage.

Jackson landed a second penalty and the Ulster fly-half's third kick drew the home side to within a point.

Saints centre Tom May fumbled a golden scoring chance when he failed to collect a delicate kick by Myler.

However, Ulster also had chances as Williams was held short and Rory Best and Craig Gilroy went close.

Even when Ulster looked certain to score after Myler's drop-goal was charged down, the Saints defence somehow survived.

Paddy Wallace broke clear and when he
passed to rising Ireland star Gilroy, a try appeared innevitable only
for Jamie Elliott to snuff out the danger.

The Saints wing came up trumps again
three minutes from time to deny Tommy Bowe, who was carried off with a
serious knee injury. The delay may have distracted Pienaar, who pushed
his penalty wide.

England set to play Courtney Lawes against New Zealand

England will tap into the power play of Lawes as they prepare for All Blacks test

|

UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 27 November 2012

England look set to use the power and versatility of Courtney Lawes against the All Blacks.

Lawes was named in England’s squad of 23 by coach Stuart Lancaster on Tuesday night.

The Northampton forward, who can play at lock or flanker, will be named as a substitute after proving his fitness against London Welsh last Saturday.

Substitute: The Northampton forward Courtney Lawes is in Stuart Lancaster's plans

Substitute: The Northampton forward Courtney Lawes is in Stuart Lancaster's plans

Lawes takes over from Saracens second row Mouritz Botha in one of two changes from last Saturday’s defeat by South Africa.

He wil be joined on the bench by Freddie Burns, the Gloucester fly-half, who is expected to come in for the injured Toby Flood. Owen Farrell will start at 10.

England are confident that prop Alex Corbisiero will be fit despite knee trouble against South Africa.

Brad Barritt has urged his England colleagues to look upon the All Blacks as ‘just humans with two legs and arms’. The South African-born centre is also urging England not to think Richie McCaw’s team are ‘gods of the rugby pitch’.

The world champions may be unbeaten in 20 games and have not lost to England since 2003, but Barritt is using a simple philosophy.

Take this: Lawes passes the ball during the England training session held at Pennyhill Park on Tuesday

Take this: Lawes passes the ball during the England training session held at Pennyhill Park on Tuesday

‘They’re just humans with two legs and two arms, albeit performing to the optimum level,’ he said. ‘We need to really impose what we can on them and not give them any status that’s going to help them.’

The Saracens centre is a familiar opponent for New Zealand’s expected midfield pairing of Conrad Smith and Ma’a Nonu, saying: ‘I must have played against them three or four times for Natal Sharks. I don’t think you put any player on a pedestal. No team’s invincible.’

ENGLAND SQUAD

Probable: Goode (Saracens);
Ashton (Saracens), Tuilagi (Leicester), Barritt (Saracens), Brown
(Harlequins); Farrell (Saracens), B Youngs (Leicester); Corbisiero
(London Irish), T Youngs (Leicester), Cole (Leicester); Parling
(Leicester), Launchbury (Wasps); Wood (Northampton), Morgan
(Gloucester), Robshaw (Harlequins, capt). Substitutes: Paice (London
Irish), Vunipola (Saracens), Wilson (Bath), Lawes (Northampton), Haskell
(Wasps), Care (Harlequins), Joseph (London Irish), Burns (Gloucester).

Gloucester 29 Sale Sharks 3: Match report

Gloucester 29 Sale 3: Burns puts the boot in but Edmonds injury overshadows win

PUBLISHED:

16:07 GMT, 24 November 2012

|

UPDATED:

16:07 GMT, 24 November 2012

Gloucester climbed up to third place in the Aviva Premiership as they inflicted the eighth league defeat of the season on bottom side Sale Sharks.

Two tries, one from Akapusi Qera and the other a penalty touchdown, in the last quarter ended a match which failed to inspire.

Home fly-half Freddie Burns booted five penalties in the opening 24 minutes and converted both tries against a solitary penalty from ex-England ace Danny Cipriani for Sale.

Steady Freddie: Burns was in fine form with the boot for Gloucester

Steady Freddie: Burns was in fine form with the boot for Gloucester

But the win was marred by a serious-looking neck injury to the home side's Australia hooker Huia Edmonds 10 minutes into the second half.

Gloucester have not lost at Kingsholm since Northampton beat them on September 1 as they went in search of a a seventh home victory.

It was down to sloppy Sale errors and the precise boot of Burns, this season's top points scorer in the Premiership, that Gloucester went clear early on.

The Sharks, looking for a second league victory of the season after breaking their duck with a 21-9 win over London Irish earlier this month, were never in it.

Burns put the Cherry and Whites in front after five minutes with the first of his five penalties in the opening period.

And the fly-half showed plenty of confidence to nail his next four kicks, two from 40metres, one from 45m and the other way out on the left from about 50m.

Concerned: Huia Edmonds is carried off the pitch on a stretcher

Concerned: Huia Edmonds is carried off the pitch on a stretcher

There were no clear-cut try-scoring chances from either side during a dull first period until Sale had a chance in the final six minutes.

They were desperate to get back into the game at 15-0 down and, instead of going for goal when awarded a penalty, tried a kick to touch and attacking line-out.

The drive took them close, but when British Lions scrum-half Dwayne Peel fed No 8 Andy Powell, the ex-Wales international dropped the ball.

Cipriani got Sale on the board with a 25m penalty, but after the break and despite some good drives from big centre Sam Tuitupou, handling mistakes again let the Sharks down.

The match was held up 10 minutes into the second half for the worrying injury to Edmonds after Sale's pack drove into a maul near the home line.

Edmonds fell to the ground as medics raced on to the pitch and spent six minutes treating him before the hooker was stretchered off with his neck in a brace.

Sale got back into it the quicker from the restart, but lost their way as Gloucester regained the initiative and, to the relief of the home support, put themselves almost out of sight with 17 minutes remaining.

Fijian flanker Qera took a short pass from scrum-half Jimmy Cowan to drive over the line from five metres.

It brought some life back into the Cherry and Whites and, with Cipriani now on the bench with an icepack on his knee, Sale's chances were gone.

Gloucester finished on top with their scrum hammering the opposition. And it was after a series of attacking scrums that the visitor's pack collapsed under the pressure on their own line and referee Luke Pearce had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try that finished things off.

Leicester 16 Northampton 12

Leicester 16 Northampton 12: Tigers fail to impress as Ford misfires in front of posts

|

UPDATED:

19:56 GMT, 3 November 2012

Leicester managed to grind out an unspectacular victory over their fierce local rivals at Welford Road.

Tigers could afford for young fly-half George Ford to miss five penalties and still triumph, courtesy of centre Matt Smith's second half try and 11 points by the young number 10.

On another day, Ford's inaccuracy might have proved costly, but Northampton, who were restricted to four Ryan Lamb penalties, lacked the firepower and tactical acumen to punish Leicester.

Main man: Matt Smith helped Leicester to a narrow win

Main man: Matt Smith helped Leicester to a narrow win

Saints led 6-3 just before half-time, but Leicester then scored 10 unanswered points – highlighted by Smith's 53rd minute touchdown – and Northampton could find no way back.

The game, shorn of several England players through a combination of unavailability a week before the autumn Test series opener against Fiji and injuries, never moved out of second gear.

Despite the game's derby status, it lacked aggression for the large part, and once Leicester edged in front they were able to close out the game reasonably comfortably.

Australian flanker Julian Salvi, back in action following a hand injury, was easily the most effective performer on either side, and his workaholic efforts were ultimately rewarded with victory.

Although Leicester's stay at the Premiership summit is likely to prove short-lived, it was a victory they desperately needed following last weekend's narrow loss at Gloucester, and Northampton remain without a win at Welford Road since 2007.

Off form: George Ford

Off form: George Ford

Leicester were without six players on England duty ahead of the forthcoming autumn Tests, but scrum-half Ben Youngs and centre Anthony Allen started after being released by red rose boss Stuart Lancaster.

Injured England forwards Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes highlighted Northampton's list of absentees, but Calum Clark made an immediate return to action in Saints' back-row after completing a 32-week suspension.

Clark was cited and banned for hyper-extending Leicester hooker Rob Hawkins' arm in the LV= Cup final last season, and a quirk of the fixture list meant he made his return to action at the Tigers' lair.

Lamb nudged Northampton into a fourth minute lead through an angled penalty, and Saints dominated early territorial exchanges, culminating in Lamb finding his range again for a 6-0 advantage.

In contrast, Tigers' 19-year-old playmaker Ford – starting instead of an unavailable Toby Flood – missed two penalty chances in two minutes, although he did find his range with a third attempt that cut Northampton's lead.

But Ford missed another penalty seven minutes later, snatching badly at a strike that was well within his range, and Saints stayed in the ascendancy as they chased a rare victory on Leicester soil.

Tigers suffered an injury blow six minutes before the break when their former England lock Louis Deacon's injury-ravaged run continued as he was forced off nursing a shoulder problem that saw him replaced by Ed Slater.

Lamb rifled a drop-goal attempt wide from Saints' next attack, yet for a derby clash often associated with a white-hot atmosphere, the opening 40 minutes proved strangely tepid.

Tussle: Vereniki Goneva of Leicester is tackled by Samu Manoa

Tussle: Vereniki Goneva of Leicester is tackled by Samu Manoa

Ford landed an equalising penalty with the final kick of the half, but entertainment value had been a premium as the teams trooped off level at 6-6.

It took Leicester less than two minutes of the second period to go ahead for the first time, with Saints unable to free themselves from trouble just outside their 22.

Youngs' slick service from the scrum base gave Tigers time and space, and Smith was worked over cleverly from close range by substitute Vereniki Goneva for a try that Ford converted.

Leicester had visibly increased the tempo, and although Lamb completed his penalty hat-trick shortly afterwards, Tigers looked capable for the first time of taking charge.

Ford made it 16-9 in the 53rd minute when Saints hooker Mike Haywood was penalised for a high and late tackle on home skipper Geordan Murphy, which underlined a slow turning of the screw by Leicester.

There was much greater urgency about Leicester than there had been before the break, and with Ford also growing in confidence, Tigers were able to pin their opponents back.

Lamb booted a fourth penalty with six minutes left to set a few nerves jangling in the Leicester camp, but they held on to claim the victory their supremacy in key areas deserved, helped when Lamb was sin-binned three minutes from time for barging Allen off the ball.