Leicester blown away by Saracens
December 21, 2013
Jack Wilson's early try set the tone
© Getty Images
Saracens made a huge statement about their title ambitions with a brilliant bonus-point win over Leicester Tigers at Allianz Park.
Saracens defied wind and rain to score six tries in inflicting Leicester's heaviest loss in the Premiership. Chris Ashton crossed twice, Jack Wilson, Billy Vunipola and Jackson Wray touched down once and referee Wayne Barnes also awarded a penalty try.
The only blot on a famous afternoon for Saracens was a nasty head injury for England fly-half Owen Farrell, after he was carried off on a stretcher in the 67th minute with his neck in a brace after his head accidentally connected with the hip of Vereniki Goneva while making a tackle. The 22-year-old was unconscious before hitting the ground and 10 minutes elapsed before he was carried from the pitch having kicked three penalties and two conversions in a fine performance.
Leicester's humiliating defeat was compounded by Richard Cockerill's pre-match announcement that Toby Flood has confirmed he will leave the club at the end of the season, with France his most likely destination.
Only four minutes were on the clock when Saracens delivered their opening try with Alex Goode and Richard Wigglesworth combining to start the move. A strong carry from Vunipola and a smart offload by Steve Borthwick created space on the left that was exploited by Wilson, the wing riding a sliding tackle from Pablo Matera to place the ball down.
The lead was extended to 10 points when Farrell landed the conversion and a penalty and England's fly-half was proving just as accurate out of hand, keeping Saracens on the front foot. Lamb and Farrell swapped penalties as Saracens retained control, their forwards bossing the collisions and Farrell playing a smart tactical game.
But the British & Irish Lions star blundered to allow Leicester back into the match as his clearance was charged down by Graham Kitchener, who cantered over. An eventful end to the first half continued with Kitchener being sent to the sin bin for a spear-tackle on Farrell, although it seemed a harsh call from Barnes, and Saracens scoring a second try.
Leicester were stretched once more and centre Chris Wyles, spotting plenty of space on the right, gave Ashton a simple run in with the television match official taking several minutes to decide the pass was backwards. Wyles was involved as Saracens produced a third try four minutes into the second half, making the initial inroads before quick recycling enabled Vunipola to crash through a gaping hole in midfield.
Leicester's problems continued to mount when Terrence Hepetema left the field after taking a bang to the head while tackling Vunipola. As the substitute back had failed to use his arms, he conceded a penalty in the process that was slotted by Farrell. Saracens led 28-10 but with the wind at their backs, Leicester were finally able to gain a foothold in the mach, only to be met by some outstanding defence.
Farrell was carried from the pitch and Saracens responded when scrum-half Neil de Kock broke from a scrum and supplied the scoring pass to fellow substitute Wray. Further humiliation came in the shape of a penalty try from a scrum after Thomas Waldrom had been sin-binned, before Ashton completed the rout with three minutes left.
Chris Ashton bagged two tries for Saracens © Getty Images
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