George Ford inspires Leicester to 27-14 win over Northampton in semi-final

George Ford contributed with 22 points
George Ford contributed with 22 points

Leicester Tigers 27-14 Northampton Saints, Mattioli Woods Welford Road

George Ford kicked 22 points as Leicester Tigers defeated Northampton Saints 27-14 in the semi-final of the Gallagher Premiership at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Saturday.

Leicester will now face Saracens in the final of the competition scheduled at Twickenham Stadium on 18th June.

Leicester suffered early setback as Dan Kelly was replaced in the 2nd minute with Freddie Burns coming off the bench. Dan Biggar started the proceedings with a penalty kick in the right corner as Northampton raced to a 0-3 lead in the 6th minute.

The scores were levelled at the start of the second quarter after the Tigers won a penalty at the breakdown and Ford kicked to perfection to make it 3-3 and they went on to seize the lead in the 32nd minute after another scrum penalty which Ford converted to perfection making it 6-3.

As the break was approaching, the home side lost Guy Porter to yellow card for a high tackle and Biggar kicked a three-pointer to ensure the teams were unseparated at the end of the opening half.

With the numerical advantage on their side, the Saints got the game's first try early in the second half as Api Ratuniyarawa was held near the try line but eventually Tommy Freeman forced over the line to make but Biggar missed the conversion to make it 6-11.

Just as Leicester returned to full strength, they soon seized the lead as Ford spotted the space to score a solo try and he also followed with the conversion to make it 13-11.

As Skosan went for the left corner, Porter with a superb tackle prevented the score and Northampton missed a chance to go in front as James Grayson missed a penalty chance in the 55th minute but he made amends three minutes later with a three-pointer as the scoreline became 13-14.

Northampton missed another opportunity as Rory Hutchison missed a clearance kick from Ford, who landed his third penalty of the game in the 63rd minute to make it 16-14. Northampton's chances were hampered as Oisin Heffernan was sin-binned for a high tackle but Ford missed a penalty chance as the gap remained at two points.

With 12 minutes left in the game, a well timed pass from Ford allowed Freddie Steward to dot down. Though Ford missed the conversion, he ensured Leicester sailed through with a penalty kick and a drop goal in the closing stage to complete a 13-point victory.

Team line up:

Leicester Tigers: Steward; Potter, Moroni, Kelly, Porter; Ford, Youngs; Genge (c), Montoya, Cole; Wells, Green, Liebenberg, Reffell, Wiese.

Reserves: Clare, Leatigaga, Heyes, Chessum, Martin, Van Poortvliet, Burns, Nadolo.

Northampton Saints: Freeman; Proctor, Dingwall, Hutchinson, Skosan; Biggar, Mitchell; Iyogun, Matavesi, Painter; Coles, Ratuniyarawa, Lawes, Ludlam (c), Augustus.

Reserves: Haywood, Waller, Heffernan, Ribbans, Hinkley, James, Grayson, Francis.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

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