- Tigers two-year wait for a trophy comes to an end
- LV= Cup continues to play crucial role as development competition
Photo: Getty Images
Leicester claimed the first major silverware of the season after a 26-14 win over Northampton Saints in the final of the LV= Cup.
It ended Tigers’ two-year wait for a trophy and results in automatic qualification for next season’s Heineken Cup.
The LV= Cup has once again proved a hugely successful vehicle in promoting up-and-coming English talent and George Ford, who turned 19 on Monday, once again demonstrated the class that saw him named as the IRB’s Young Player of the Year in 2011.
Ford was as nerveless as ever in front of goal, contributing 16 points with his trusty boot, and controlled the game well in open play.
But the Tigers’ two tries were scored by overseas players in form of man-of-the-match, lock Steve Mafi, and wing Scott Hamilton.
Saints got off to a bright and breezy start that reflected the weather at Sixways Stadium, and were quickly 6-0 up thanks to two penalties from fly-half Stephen Myler.
Ford responded with his first attempt at goal in the 15th-minute and the two number tens continued to trade kicks until Mafi forced his way over in the corner for a try that Ford improved for a 16-9 lead at half-time.
Saints pressure at the start of the second half came to nothing in the face of fierce resistance from the Tigers rearguard, and it was Richard Cockerill’s men who got the next points on the board through a further Ford penalty.
The result of the final was effectively settled in the 49th-minute when Hamilton intercepted Myler’s pass and raced 80 metres for Leicester’s second try.
Saints piled forward and took advantage of Geordan Murphy’s yellow card to register a try through Christian Day, the final scoring act of an exciting final.