Saracens produced a fantastic second half comeback to earn a bonus point 32-27 victory at Leicester Tigers on Saturday night.
Trailing 17-6 at the interval, four second half tries gave Saracens their second bonus point victory at Welford Road in successive years.
A brace from David Strettle and scores from James Short and Chris Wyles gave the visitors a victory that looked unlikely at the break after the Tigers had twice crossed the line in the opening 40 minutes.
Charlie Hodgson had given the visitors the lead with an early penalty on a bitterly cold evening at Welford Road, and it was a lead they held until midway through the first half until George Ford found his range with a penalty after missing two early efforts.
The Tigers then scored their first try after the half after sustained pressure in the Sarries 22 ended with Julian Salvi going over from close range, Ford converted. The Tigers fly-half then set up the second deep in his own half when he dummied to kick but set his backline free to go the length of the field with Dan Bowden applying the finishing touches.
The conversion meant Sarries faced a 14 point deficit but Hodgson’s penalty late in the half reduced that gap at the interval.
The visitors chipped away at that lead 10 minutes into the second period when patient build-up play created the chance for David Strettle to dance his way through the Leicester defence to score. Hodgson converted.
The Tigers lead was wiped out minutes later when again, patient play in the build-up created the opportunity for James Short to go over in the corner. Hodgson’s conversion hit the upright but it meant that the visitors held a one point lead going into the final quarter of the match.
That lead was extended with 15 minutes left on the clock when powerful runs from replacements Nick Auterac and George Kruis ended with the ball worked wide to Strettle to score his second of the match. Hodgson converted.
A the Leicester waves of attacked kept piling forward in the final 10 minutes, the Sarries defence worked harder and harder but they couldn’t prevent Ford from bringing his side back to within a score when he struck a penalty with eight minutes to go.
But it was hope that was short-lived as again, a perfect build up from the visitors who went through the phases and worked the opening for Chris Wyles to score. Hodgson added the extra two points.
Tigers went in search of a losing bonus point in the closing stages and they got just that when the home side were awarded a penalty try with Strettle adjudged to have deliberately knocked on 10 metres from the line with four Tigers players waiting for the pass outside him.