Mar 10, 2017
Disappointment for Sarries in Anglo-Welsh Semi Final
It wasn’t to be for Saracens as Don Barrell and Ian Vass’ young side went down 10-32 to a spirited Tigers’ performance at Allianz Park in the Anglo Welsh Cup semi final.
Despite two fine tries Saracens were unable to contain the Tigers who dominated in parts and took their chances in others to secure the win.
The opening ten minutes of the game saw Leicester enjoy their fair share of possession and it was the Tigers who were first on the score board; a high cross field kick from Freddie Burns causing confusion in defence before full back George Worth was able to scramble on to the loose ball and score.
The score looked to energise Saracens though and the men in black had their first chance at points in the half when Leicester were penalised for a dangerous tackle. Whiteley's kick hit the posts but the rebound put Saracens on the attack. Samu Vunisa showcased his power with a strong carry and Sarries were able to move through the phases into the Leicester 22 before a loose pass to ground disrupted their attacking rhythm.
As the half wore on Leicester maintained their attacking edge, forcing some strong defending from an under pressure Sarries. A penalty allowed Leicester to extend their lead to 10 points just before the half hour mark.
With Saracens still looking for a way into the game before the half time whistle Henry Taylor demonstrated his pace to make a stunning break from the half way line. With the crowd in full voice a score seemed to be on the cards. Taylor offloaded to Conlon who got within inches of the line before being brought down by the Leicester defence. It was not enough however to stop Sarries taking the five points as Taylor collected the ball to score. Whiteley was unable to convert but Sarries had sliced the Tiger’s lead by half.
It was Leicester who would have the final say in the half however. Harry Thacker making a break from midfield and, with the Sarries defence at sixes and sevens, offloading to Luke Hamilton who raced away to score. Burns converted to make it 17-5 to the visitors at the break.
Leicester started the second half as they had finished the first. Ellis Genge the try scorer this time as the Tigers found numbers on the far wing and Genge pushed his way over the line. Burns wasn’t able to add the conversion but the Tigers looked in control.
Leicester had Sarries rattled and the visitors looked to be in for a fourth try minutes later after charging down a Sarries clearance. Centre Jack Roberts was the one to ground the ball but a foot in touch however saw the score ruled out by the TMO.
The game looked to be going the way of the visitors as Leicester continued to enjoy both possession and territory but just before the hour mark Saracens struck back with another fine score. Mike Ellery the architect as he sprinted away from the defence before offloading to Matt Gallagher who crossed in the corner. Lozowski, on for Tom Whiteley, couldn’t add the extras.
Desperate to cut the Tigers’ lead Saracens continued to go on the attack however the men in black failed to find a way through the Leicester defence and were delivered a real sucker punch when, in the midst of a Saracens attack in the heart of the Leicester 22, Freddie Burns intercepted a pass and raced the length of the pitch to score. Burns converted his try leaving Saracens with ten minutes on the clock and with something of a mountain to climb.
Sarries continued to display their never say die attitude however, pushing forward on the hunt for another score. Veteran Neil de Kock came close with a break down the touch line only for his chip to land in touch and Titi Lamositele nearly found his way through in the dying seconds only to be pulled back for offside with the clock at zero as Leicester closed out the win to book their place in the final.
15 Matt Gallagher; 14 Mike Ellery, 13 Tim Streather (c), 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Nathan Earle (Perkins 69’); 10 Tom Whiteley (Lozowski 51’), 9 Henry Taylor (De Kock 51’); 1 Richard Barrington (Thompson-Stringer 49’), 2 Jared Saunders (Lindsay 64’), 3 Vincent Koch (Lamositele 49’); 4 Fa’atiga Lemalu, 5 Mark Flanagan (Isiekwe 56’), 6 Kelly Brown, 7 Joel Conlon, 8 Samu Vunisa (Burger 49’)
REPLACEMENTS: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Neil De Kock, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 George Perkins
Tries: Taylor, Gallagher