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Williams points the way in Premiership draw

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A last-minute penalty by Owen Williams gave Leicester Tigers a share of the spoils as they battled out a 21-21 Aviva Premiership draw with Saracens at Welford Road on Sunday afternoon.

Fly-half Williams kicked all of the Leicester points in an attritional contest played in heavy rain. The last of his seven penalties came with the final kick of the game to secure the two points.
 
His opposite number, Charlie Hodgson, the England international, kicked seven penalties of his own, including a 500th Premiership penalty of his career.
 
There was very little running rugby and try-scoring opportunities for either side on a grey and wet autumn afternoon, with the boot very much to the fore.
 
It was the type of contest made for All Black Brad Thorn, who captained Tigers for the first time and was joined in the second row by Graham Kitchener after he was released from England duty earlier in the week.
 
Dan Cole made his first start since January after recovering from a neck injury. He was joined in the front row by hooker Harry Thacker on his first Aviva Premiership start and Italy international Michele Rizzo. Tigers welcomed back Blaine Scully from international duty with USA and Mathew Tait made his 50th Tigers appearance.
 
It was a hugely physical opening to the game and Thorn made his presence felt with an early carry that dazed Saracens back-rower Jacques Burger.
 
The defences were on top in the opening 10 minutes, and the first scoring opportunity came through a scrum penalty for the visitors. Charlie Hodgson landed his kick from 40m to give Saracens a 3-0 lead.
 
Saracens went down to 14 men in the 11th minute when Marcelo Bosch was sent to the sin bin for a tip tackle on Scully. Bosch and Strettle joined forces to tackle the Tigers wing but referee Tim Wigglesworth said the Argentina international failed to bring him back to ground safely and reached for the yellow card.
 
Alistair Hargreaves was then pinged for playing the ball on the floor but Williams’ kick went wide of the left post. Julian Salvi was then ruled to have blocked Chris Ashton’s kick chase but Hodgson was wide with his penalty attempt.
 
There was little running rugby in the opening quarter with both teams kicking for territory.

It was a tactic that was working for Saracen, Hodgson doubling their advantage with his second penalty after Cole came in at the side of a maul.
 
Tigers were then awarded a penalty on halfway as Saracens collapsed a scrum, which Williams landed with the aid of the right-hand post to put Tigers’ first points on the board.

As play restarted Bosch returned to the action following his yellow card.
 
Good work by David Mele saw the scrum-half steal possession at the back of a Saracens scrum. Richard Wigglesworth’s tackle was high as he attempted to regain possession and Williams levelled the scores with the penalty.
 
Tigers conceded a second maul penalty moments later and Hodgson landed his kick to put Sarries into a 9-6 lead eight minutes before the break. It was Hodgson’s 500th penalty in Premiership competition.
 
Hodgson added a fourth penalty after Scully failed to roll from the tackle to put the visitors 12-6 ahead as heavy rain fell on Welford Road.
 
The Saracens defence then went offside on the edge of their 22 but Williams pushed his penalty across the posts as Sarries held a 12-6 half-time lead.
 
Tommy Bell was introduced for Scully at half-time for his first Aviva Premiership appearance.
 
Burger blocked Tait as he attempted to field his own up-and-under giving Williams a long-distance penalty early in the second period, which he landed to halve the deficit.
 
Saracens were awarded a penalty at the first scrum of the second half, and Hodgson turned down a kick at the posts to take the visitors up to the Tigers 22. Sarries secured possession, Tigers were whistled for dragging down the drive, and this time Hodgson took on the kick and gave Saracens a 15-9 advantage.
 
At the other end Tigers set up a catch and drive of their own and won the penalty as Mouritz Botha went offside, and Williams landed his fourth penalty to leave Tigers 15-12 behind with 30 minutes remaining.
 
The covering Tigers defence had to be alert when Saracens swooped on Miles Benjamin's knock-on and created an overlap on the left but Tait and Bell closed out the space for David Strettle and forced the winger into touch.
 
However, Saracens were the next to score, Hodgson converting a scrum penalty to restore their six-point lead.
 
Tigers were awarded a penalty at the restart and Salvi almost took advantage but spilled possession just as he looked to make the line break. Play came back for the penalty and Williams halved the deficit again. Saracens led 18-15 midway going into the final quarter.
 
Welford Road was in full voice as a catch and drive took Tigers to 8m of the Saracens line but Jackson Wray prevented Crane recycling the ball and the chance went away.
 
Fraser Balmain was introduced for Cole after 65 minutes and won a penalty at his first scrum. It took Tigers from their own 22 to that of Saracens where Graham Kitchener was pulled down in the air and Williams’ kick levelled the scores at 18-18. It set up a tense final 10 minutes.
 
Hodgson kicked Saracens into a 21-18 lead with five minutes remaining after Kitchener was ruled not have rolled from a tackle.
 
A mistake by Strettle, kicking the ball dead from inside his own half, gave Tigers a scrum 30m from the Sarries line and one last attacking opportunity. Tigers won the penalty at the scrum to give Williams a chance to level the scores, which he accepted with the last kick of an absorbing game.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 6-12 SAR

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 21-21 SAR

Attendance

21,680

Referee

Tim Wigglesworth

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
21

Full Time

Saracens
Saracens
21

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Saracens
Possession
57%
43%
Territory
58%
42%
Penalties Conceded
11
14
Yellow Cards
0
1
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
59/61 97%
92/99 93%
Scrums Won
5/5 100%
7/9 78%
Lineouts Won
13/13 0%
9/9 0%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Saracens
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Mathew Tait
14Blaine Scully
13Matt Smith
12Anthony Allen
11Miles Benjamin
10Owen Williams7P
9David Mele
1Michele Rizzo
2Harry Thacker
3Dan Cole
4
5Graham Kitchener
6Jamie Gibson
7Julian Salvi
8
16Jake Farnworth
17Tom Bristow
18Fraser Balmain
19
20Paul Grant
21George Tresidder
22
23Tommy Bell

Tigers Lineup

Starting XV

Blaine Scully
14
Blaine Scully
Anthony Allen
12
Anthony Allen
Miles Benjamin
11
Miles Benjamin
Owen Williams
10
Owen Williams
David Mele
9
David Mele
4
Jamie Gibson
6
Jamie Gibson
Julian Salvi
7
Julian Salvi
8

Subs

Jake Farnworth
16
Jake Farnworth
Tom Bristow
17
Tom Bristow
Fraser Balmain
18
Fraser Balmain
19
Paul Grant
20
Paul Grant
George Tresidder
21
George Tresidder
22
Tommy Bell
23
Tommy Bell

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Alex Goode
14
Chris Ashton
13
Marcelo Bosch
12
Chris Wyles
11
David Strettle
10
Charlie Hodgson
9
Richard Wigglesworth
1
Richard Barrington
2
Jamie George
3
Juan Figallo
4
Mouritz Botha
5
Alistair Hargreaves
6
Kelly Brown
7
Jacques Burger
8
Jackson Wray

Subs

16
Brett Sharman
17
Rhys Gill
18
Petrus Du Plessis
19
Jim Hamilton
20
Will Fraser
21
Ben Spencer
22
Duncan Taylor
23
Ben Ransom
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
3
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI2215164534213237394268
4
Saracens
SaracensSAR22141766441824670405568
Form Guide
Form
WLWLW
Last Match
Beat Wasps 38-31
Past Meeting
Lost 13-24
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
WWLLD
Last Match
Draw with Bath Rugby 17-17
Past Meeting
Won 24-13