A sold out Allianz Park was treated to a six try demolition of reigning Aviva Premiership Champions Leicester Tigers, as Saracens ran out 49-10 winners to extend their lead at the summit of the Premiership table to three points.
Saracens were dealt a blow moments before kick-off when Argentine international pulled out with illness, to be replaced by Tim Streather.
Saracens were playing with a huge breeze behind their backs with half-backs Owen Farrell and Richard Wigglesworth looking to pin the Tigers in their own 22-metre zone at every opportunity.
The opening exchanges were dominated by the home side, as Leicester toiled to find any semblance of territory with outside half Ryan Lamb struggling to turn the Sarries back three, and it came as no surprise when Saracens scored the games first try, when Jack Wilson crossed for his fourth try in as many starts in sixth minute.
After a stray kick from full-back Matthew Tait, opposite number Alex Goode spilled the ball backwards. Luckily for Goode, the ever aware Richard Wigglesworth hovered the ball up and accelerated past some of the Leicester forwards to take his side into the Tigers half – Saracens recycled the ball, and after an expert offload from captain Steve Borthwick, Chris Ashton, Owen Farrell and Alex Goode combined to find Wilson who finished well. Farrell added the extras with well taken kick from the western touchline.
Four minutes later Saracens extended their lead with a penalty kick from the metronomic Farrell, after late inclusion Tim Streather showed great evasion and ingenuity to chip and chase to earn his side a penalty.
Saracens continued to play for territory and really should have added to their points tally with their dominance, but in slippery conditions the Men in Black repeatedly coughed up possession. Saracens prolificacy was duly punished by the Tigers firstly with a Ryan Lamb penalty and then in the 35th minute a Graham Kitchener try. The Tigers second rower charged down Owen Farrell’s clearance and did well to re-gather in wet conditions to score.
Kitchener and Farrell would be reacquainted not long after the lock forwards try, as the 24-year-old second rower was yellow carded for a late hit on Saracens outside half.
With the numerical advantage Saracens sniffed blood, and right on half-time Chris Ashton finished with aplomb to score in the right hand corner. Farrell missed the conversion as Saracens led at the break 18-10.
At the break Mark McCall replaced Richard Barrington (who had another strong performance) with Mako Vunipola with Saracens lucky to have seen the strong winds and swirling rain calm down in the interim period and the home side, who average over 30 points a game at Allianz Park, scored their third the of the afternoon as Billy Vunipola scored his second consecutive try in as many games in the 44th minute.
In the build-up to the blindside flanker’s score, Richard Wigglesworth jinked his way through the heart of the Tigers defence, the ball was recycled quickly after Jack Wilson exchanged passes with Chris Wyles – Wigglesworth fed the younger Vunipola, who crashed over the retreating Leicester defenders. Owen Farrell made no mistake with a routine conversion.
Owen Farrell added another penalty in the 49th minute as Leicester’s frustration continued as they repeatedly came away from Saracens red zone with nothing to show for their efforts thanks to some resolute defending from the home side, typified by centre Chris Wyles’ try saving tackle on Miles Benjamin.
In the 67th minute the game was stopped as Owen Farrell received treatment for head injury.
Right from the restart Saracens secured the bonus point.
Replacement scrum-half Neil de Kock rolled back the years with a scorching break from the base of the scrum to feed Jackson Wray, who went over to score.
It went from bad to worse for the Tigers as replacement Thomas Waldrom was sin-binned for killing the ball, from the resulting penalty captain Steve Borthwick asked for the scrum, and sensing another try his decision was immediately vindicated as referee Wayne Barnes awarded a penalty try.
In the closing moments Chris Ashton crossed for his second try of the day, with Charlie Hodgson adding the extras to send Saracens fans a six try early Christmas present.
Tries Wilson (6); Ashton( 40 and 77); B.Vunipola (44); Wray (68);Pen try (72).
Cons Farrell 2. Hodgson 3.
Penalties Farrell 3;
Saracens: A.Goode(rep Ransom 70 mins) C.Ashton,T.Streather; C. Wyles, J.Wilson;O. Farrell( Hodgson 67);R. Wigglesworth(De Kock 54);R. Barrington( M.Vunipola 41);J.George, M.Stevens( Johnston 54); S.Borthwick (capt), A.Hargreaves( Kruis 56);B. Vunipola,K. Brown,E. Joubert(Wray 67).
Replacements: Brits, M. Vunipola, Johnston, Kruis, Wray, De Kock, Hodgson, Ransom.
Leicester: Tait; Morris, Goneva, Smith, Benjamin; Lamb, B. Youngs; Stankovich, Briggs, Balmain; Slater, Kitchener; Gibson, Matera, Crane (capt).
Replacements: T. Youngs, Ayerza, Schuster, De Chaves, Waldrom, Mele, Hepetema, Thompstone.
Referee; Wayne Barnes