Allen revels in Premiership triumph
May 25, 2013
Manu Tuilagi's try put the game beyond doubt © Getty Images
Leicester centre Anthony Allen said the heartbreak of losing two Aviva Premiership finals in as many seasons helped power the Tigers to their 37-17 victory over Northampton.
The Tigers overcame their East Midlands rivals in a final tainted by Dylan Hartley's first-half red card which seemed to be due to dissent levelled in the direction of referee Wayne Barnes. However, Leicester showed their experience on the big stage in what was their ninth successive Premiership final to end their losing streak in the competition's showpiece.
Tries from wings Niall Morris and Vereneki Goneva, lock Graham Kitchener and centre Manu Tuilagi, with Toby Flood booting a penalty and conversion before leaving the field with concussion before his replacement George Ford kicked four penalties, sealed the win. Northampton conjured tries from Stephen Myler, Ben Foden and Lee Dickson, with Myler adding one conversion, but it was not to be enough.
"It's a bit overwhelming really," Allen told ESPN. "The last two finals we have come here and lost and it's taken us 12 months to get us back to this point again. The boys did fantastically well today and we kept fighting.
"Saints played well, even with 14 men, and we struggled at times but maybe that was the difference on the day. Those (final) losses and losses build up so to get the win today was fantastic."
Allen, who was named man-of-the-match, also hailed the composure of 20-year-old fly-half George Ford, who replaced captain Flood after he left the field following a crunching tackle by Courtney Lawes.
"Flood is a quality player, he's our captain. Fordy was here last year and he's an experienced campaigner now and I thought he stepped up and had a great game," Allen said. "Coming off the bench early doors is always quite tricky so fair play to Fordy, well done."
Leicester hooker Tom Youngs, who will tour with brother Ben on the Lions tour to Hong Kong and Australia, said the result is a great send off to departing stalwarts, captain and full-back Geordan Murphy and prop Martin Castrogiovanni.
"We work all year and grafted through pre-season so to get to the big stage here and win like that, it's massive," Youngs said. "It wasn't great at times but it was fantastic to pull through and send Geordan Murphy and Castro away like this."
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