Northampton 24-30 Leicester

Teimana Harrison and Harry Thacker

Leicester hooker Harry Thacker (right) scored the first try of the afternoon with a first-half solo effort

Leicester moved closer to securing a top-four finish with a narrow victory over local rivals Northampton.

Tries from Harry Thacker and Vereniki Goneva put the Tigers 17-13 up at the break, with Teimana Harrison replying.

Freddie Burns kicked penalties either side of George Pisi’s score but a penalty from Stephen Myler brought the hosts back to within two points.

Burns then converted his own try to put Leicester 30-21 up before JJ Hanrahan’s late penalty set up a tense finale.

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Leicester remain fourth in the table but are now seven points ahead of fifth-placed Northampton with two games of the regular campaign remaining.

It means Richard Cockerill’s side, who face Racing 92 in next Sunday’s European Champions Cup semi-final, are on the brink of reaching the play-offs for the 12th successive season.

Burns was faultless kicking from the tee, ending with a personal haul of 20 points after his second-half try put Leicester in control.

The Tigers defence had to withstand late pressure as Northampton attacked in search of a late try, but Leicester held on to record just their second away win since mid-December.

Northampton: Tuala; K Pisi, G Pisi, Burrell, Elliott; Myler, Kessell; Waller, Haywood, Brookes; Craig, Day; Lawes, Wood (capt), Harrison

Replacements: Marshall, Ma’afu, Hill, Matfield, Nutley, Hanrahan, Mallinder, Collins

Leicester: Tait (capt); Veainu, Betham, Tuilagi, Goneva; Burns, Youngs; Ayerza, Thacker, Cole; Barrow, Kitchener; Fitzgerald, McCaffrey, Fonua.

Replacements: Bateman, Mulipola, Balmain, Slater, Croft, Harrison, Williams, Thompstone

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