Jan 02, 2016
Forward dominance too much for Tigers
Saracens recorded their fourth try scoring bonus point win of the Aviva Premiership season, after despatching Leicester Tigers 26-6 in a powerful forward display at Allianz Park.
The reigning Premiership champions destroyed the in-form Tigers pack with tighthead Petrus Du Plessis at the heart of a demanding scrummaging performance that left Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill to concede that his side had been “stuffed” by the north Londoners.
Three times referee Greg Garner awarded Saracens a penalty try, a Premiership first, whilst replacement hooker Jamie George crossed for a second half try on the back of another devastating driving maul.
The visitor started the game well, with fly half Freddie Burns repeatedly grubber kicking to turn around Sarries back three.
It was Freddie Burns who scored the game’s first points. The former Gloucester pivot sent over a penalty after Saracens were penalised at the breakdown.
Despite the Tigers aggressive start to the game, Saracens remained calm and looked to use the strength of their set-piece as a way to hammer home their superiority.
The visitors were pinged for infringing at scrum-time as Sarries (with 13-men in the maul) marched the Leicester pack back 25 metres until they had no option but to collapse the maul.
Referee Greg Garner ran under the posts to award the penalty try, Charlie Hodgson added the extras as Sarries opened up a 7-3 lead after 11 minutes.
The visitor’s problems were compounded when they lost the influential duo of Tom Croft and skipper Ed Slater, to injury. As the first half drew to a close, Charlie Hodgson was given an opportunity to extend Sarries' lead off the tee after Leicester were penalised at the breakdown for going offside only for the experienced fly-half to send the ball wide of the posts. Alex Goode then had a chance to extend his side;s lead, but again, the kick was wayward as Sarries headed into the break with a 7-6 lead.
Sarries were immediately on the attack at the start of the second half. McCall’s side looked to play a more expansive game in awful conditions, with the wind now behind their backs.
After Charlie Hodgson forced Tigers full-back Telusa Veainu into conceding a lineout five metres from his own line, Saracens would cross for their second try of the game.
The home side won the lineout and into the catch-and-drive, forcing their way over the line for replacement Jamie George to touch down. Hodgson couldn’t navigate the Barnet Breeze to add the extras.
The second half was certainly Saracens’. The Men in Black sensed blood, and with forwards such as Petrus Du Plessis, locks Maro Itoje and George Kruis plus the Vunipola brothers all wreaking havoc amongst the Tigers eight, skipper Brad Barritt repeatedly called for scrums or catch and drives to hammer home his side’s superiority.
And with 13 minutes of the second half gone Sarries turned down another kick at the posts to line up for the scrum, forcing a desperate Tigers pack to pull down the maul with the referee pointing for the second penalty try of the afternoon. Hodgson added the conversion to make it 19-6.
Owen Farrell replaced Hodgson, and Saracens pushed for the bonus point try, with Maro Itoje being held up as Sarries hunted another score.
Sarries continued to build pressure at the set-piece. The visitors then lost England prop Dan Cole to the sin-bin after repeated scrum infringements, before the north Londoners' recorded a record breaking third penalty try of the game.
Farrell converted to extend the lead to 26-6 with what proved to be the final score of the game.
15 Alex Goode;14 Chris Ashton;13 Marcelo Bosch;12 Brad Barritt ©; 11 Chris Wyles;10 Charlie Hodgson;9 Richard Wigglesworth;1 Mako Vunipola;2 Schalk Brits;3 Petrus Du Plessis;4 Maro Itoje; 5 George Kruis;6 Michael Rhodes;7 Will Fraser;8 Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George;17 Rhys Gill;18 Titi Lamositele;19 Jim Hamilton; 20 Jackson Wray;21 Neil De Kock;22 Owen Farrell;23 Duncan Taylor.
Scores Tries George(43); Pentries X 3 (11;55;67)
Cons Hodgson X 2; Farrell.
Replacements used George for Brits(41);Gill for M.Vunipola(58);Lamositele for Du Plessis(70);Hamilton for Itoje(70); Wray for Rhodes(56);De Kock for Wigglesworth(56);Farrell for Hodgson(56; Taylor for Wyles(70).
15 Telusa Veainu;14 Gonzalo Camacho;13 Mathew Tait;12 Seremaia Bai;11 Vereniki Goneva;10 Freddie Burns;9 Sam Harrison;1 Marcos Ayerza;2 Harry Thacker;3 Fraser Balmain;4 Dom Barrow;5 Graham Kitchener;6 Ed Slater (c);7 Tom Croft;8 Laurence Pearce.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs; 17 Logovi'i Mulipola;18 Dan Cole;19 Mike Fitzgerald; 20 Lachlan McCaffrey;21 Ben Youngs;22 Owen Williams;23 Adam Thompstone.
Scores Penalties Burns X 2.
Replacements used Munipola for Ayerza(54);Cole for Balmain(54); Fitzgerald for Slater (30); McCaffrey for Croft (22); B.Youngs for Harrison(63);Williams for Bai(47).