Apr 13, 2015
Saracens beat Leicester - Match Review
Saracens extend their unbeaten run to seven games on Saturday, when they beat Leicester Tigers 22-6 at a sold-out Allianz Park.
Mark McCall's side scored 22 unanswered points in a game where Saracens' defensive qualities came to the fore.
Here, we take a look at some of Saracens key performers:
Our Kelly Ignites Sarries Fuse
In the first half Saracens struggled to gain any semblance of territory in the Tigers half, with the infamous 'Barnet Breeze' and the tactical nous of Leicester half-back Ben Youngs and Freddie Burns pinning Mark McCall's side deep into their own half.
Saracens needed some relief, and it came in the shape of the of an opportune intercept from Scotland flanker Kelly Brown, who showed some impressive pace to race away before being hauled down by the Leicester cover defence. Sarries failed to turn his break into points, but the Men in Black continued to camp in the Tigers half for the remainder of the first forty minutes after Brown's intervention.
Brown had a superb game. In attack, he was dynamic and carried well. In defence he was a pillar of strength. Brown is renowned for his work rate and industry, and this was personified in his performance on Saturday with the flanker making 18 tackles, plus one fine try saver on Tigers outside half, Freddie Burns.
Charlie cuts down Tigers
Saracens evergreen outside half Charlie Hodgson's form shows no signs of letting up. In attack, Hodgson once again produced a masterclass of tactical kicking and silky distribution.
He played a key role in both of Saracens' second half tries, with his sumptuous delayed pass in the build-up to Chris Wyles' 48th minute score a particular highlight. Hodgson though is a complete player, and his defensive work on Saturday afternoon must not be understated. Up against a opposite number renowned for some silky full-back and a pair of of Fijian battering rams in the shape of Seremaia Bai and Vereniki Goneva constantly occupying Hodgson's defensive channel, the 34-year old fly-half was solid in defence. Hodgson made 12 tackles, with Saracens defensive lieutenant Brad Barritt also making a dozen hits beside the Premiership all-time leading points scorer.
Ashton in red-hot form
Chris Ashton will always tell you, that he lives and breaths crossing the whitewash for a five pointer (or four pointer in a his Rugby League days).
Ashton didn't add to his 13 tries scored this season, but the England wing was a constant thorn in the Leicester side. Ashton made 77 metres in his foray's down the right wing, and was once again insatiable in his kick chase work. It was from another kick chase that Ashton's work rate forced Tigers hooker Tom Youngs to cynically block him from cutting down Leicester full-back Mathew Tait. Youngs was yellow carded, and Saracens would ultimately score a first half try to lead at the break as a result.
Facing Leicester? The importance of being Ernst
Ernst Joubert has always reserved some of his finest performance's in a Saracens shirt when faced with the challenge of the Leicester Tigers.
Who can forget the way the classy South African loose forward led in the absence of Steve Borthwick Saracens in a heartbreaking loss to the Tigers in the 2010 Premiership Final. A year later, Joubert was bloodied, yet unbowed when lifting the Premiership trophy to make up for the agony of a year earlier in Saracens Premiership win. He was also crossed for a brace of tries in Saracens 50-25 win at Welford Road 2011 in a landmark win at the East Midland side.
Joubert is still a figure of strength for Saracens, and he proved this in a 28 minute cameo from the bench on Saturday. Joubert made 12 tackles during his limited spell on the field. He led from the front as Saracens defended for the majority of his time on the pitch. Still a class act.