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  • Gallagher Premiership
    Rugby

    Sun 25 Nov

    KO 15H00

    Leicester Tigers-logo
    vs
    Saracens Men-logo

    22-27

    Venue: Welford Road

“But, it was also a huge experience for some of the younger players to be part of a winning side in those circumstances.”

Mark Mccall

Saracens overcame a second-half fightback from Leicester Tigers to maintain their unbeaten run with a 27-22 win at Welford Road.

Three superb first-half tries from Ben Spencer, Alex Lewington and Alex Lozowski cancelled out Joe Ford’s early kick before Brendon O’Connor powered over for the hosts on 47 minutes.

Spencer stretched Sarries’ lead to 14 but soon after the Tigers sparked into life. With Ben Earl and Schalk Burger in the sin bin, O’Connor grabbed his second and Matt Smith danced his way into the corner.

Ford dragged his conversion wide meaning Leicester remained two points behind, though Spencer’s second penalty of the match settled the topsy turvy affair.

In an opening 20 minutes which lacked points on the scoreboard bar Ford’s fifth-minute penalty, it certainly wasn’t without incident.

Leicester flew out the blocks and put 16 phases together before the fly-half’s strike and Saracens’ response was physical but without reward.

Then came the first of two conversions between referee Karl Dickson and Television Match Official David Rose – both ending with a ‘no try’ decision.

Wales international Jonah Holmes weaved his way down the left and was denied by an excellent Max Malins cover tackle and moments later centre Gareth Owen was penalised for not releasing ahead of him dotting down.

Ford followed with a hooked drop goal effort before Sarries turned the heat up on a cold afternoon in Leicestershire.

The Men in Black made 349 metres in the first period, helped by three tries in six minutes; Spencer sprinting in from his own half to kick things off.

Malins produced an unbelievable bit of magic shortly after. The young 10 carved through the Tigers defence, turning the shoulders of several green shirts and slightly stumbling, he spotted Lewington in acres of room and delivered a pinpoint 45-metre pass from right-to-left for the winger score his ninth in 11 games for the club.

The two efforts displayed pace in abundance, but they were to be trumped by winger-for-the-day Lozowski. The 25-year-old set off 50 metres from the line and managed to avoid all opposition until his slide close to the posts.

Leicester used the interval to rally and they began the second 40 much like the opening; this time their intensity led to O’Connor barging his way over with his forwards providing the platform.

Spencer extended Saracens advantage with a simple tee-shot before another TMO visit. Earl prevented a possible try, slapping down a last-gasp pass and he was sent to the bin and Burger wasn’t too far behind joining him.

Against 13, O’Connor bagged a second in similar circumstances prior to Smith’s brilliant effort. Spreading the ball to the left, Owen’s grubber was picked up by the replacement who scampered past the covering defenders in red to make it a two-point game.

Sarries retained their lead due to Ford’s missed conversion and Spencer kept the scoreboard ticking with a retaken penalty after the first was charged down.

Tigers had one final rush to the away side’s line in the dying embers but a great turnover from Earl with the clock in the red ended an epic Gallagher Premiership battle.

Leicester Tigers
Worth (Smith 28), Thompstone, Owen, Eastmond, Holmes, Ford (Hardwick 72), Harrison (White 63); Bateman (Gigena 78), Youngs (Kerr 36), Cole (Cortes 78), Spencer, Kitchener (Wells 58), Williams (Fitzgerald 55), O’Connor, Kalamafoni. Replacements: Kerr, Gigena, Cortes, Wells, Fitzgerald, White, Hardwick, Smith.

Tries: O’Connor 47, 67, Smith 70
Cons: Ford (2)
Pens: Ford

Saracens
Goode, Lozowski, Tompkins, Barritt, Lewington, Malins, Spencer; Barrington (Thompson-Stringer 63-65), Tolofua, (Woolstencroft 50), Judge (Sasagi 57), Day (Clark 50), Skelton (Kpoku 69), Rhodes, Burger, Wray (Earl 41). Replacements: Woolstencroft, Thompson-Stringer, Sasagi, Kpoku, Clark, Earl, Whiteley, Gallagher.

Tries: Spencer, Lewington, Lozowski
Cons: Spencer (3)
Pens: Spencer (2)
Sin bin: Earl 64, Burger 67

Match highlights

Highlights | Leicester Tigers 22-27 Saracens Men (Round 8)

Highlights | Leicester Tigers 22-27 Saracens Men (Round 8)

Duration 1m

Highlights of Saracens' nail-biting 27-22 victory over Leicester Tigers at Welford Road in the Gallagher Premiership.

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