Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
leicestertigers.comMattioli Woods Welford RoadContact UsTopps Tiles

Tigers take a point from New Year defeat

Figure image
Leicester Tigers had to settle for a losing bonus point after going down to a 16-12 Aviva Premiership defeat to Saracens on New Year's Day.

Fly-half Owen Williams kicked all the points for Tigers with two penalties in each half as Leicester lost their first game at Welford Road since September.
 
An Owen Farrell try midway through the second half proved the difference between the sides. The England fly-half made the most of hesitancy in the Leicester defence to dart over for a try he converted to add to three other penalties.
 
Club captain Tom Youngs and England duo Dan Cole and Ben Youngs returned to the starting line-up. Tom Youngs and Cole lined up alongside Ellis Genge in the front row.

The return of scrum-half Youngs was the only change to the backline. Freddie Burns continued at full-back on his 50th start for the Tigers.
 
It was a stop-start opening to the game, with both sides making early mistakes in steady rain.

It took Manu Tuilagi’s first carry to create space for the Tigers in attack as three Saracens defenders converged to stop him. However, Tuilagi was hurt in the tackle and came off to be replaced by Tom Brady. Peter Betham switched to centre with Brady going onto the wing.
 
Maro Itoje, the Saracens lock, was pinged for pulling down Mike Fitzgerald in the lineout and Williams drilled his kick over to give Tigers a 3-0 lead after 10 minutes.
 
It was a cagey opening quarter, not helped by the weather, with both sets of half-backs looking to kick for field position.
 
It worked for Saracens in the 24th minute. Ben Spencer kicked into the left-hand corner, Itoje stole lineout ball and then won a penalty which Owen Farrell knocked over to level the scores.
 
Brady charged down Marcelo Bosch at the restart and claimed the bouncing ball. But Ben Youngs’s snipe down the side of a ruck was spotted by Itoje and Will Skelton and he was held up 5m from the line.
 
At the other end Brendon O’Connor was pinged for not rolling after his tackle on Jackson Wray and Farrell kicked Sarries into the lead for the first time in the game.
 
Tigers responded quickly. Ben Youngs’s grubber kick forced Alex Goode to concede a lineout near his line that Tigers took quickly. And when Mike Williams charged onto the ball in midfield Skelton felled him with a no-arms tackle, which was punished by Owen Williams to bring Leicester level five minutes before the break.
 
With half-time approaching, Tigers stole scrum ball 5m from their own line and McCaffrey launched a kick deep into Saracens territory. Goode, under pressure from Brady and Ben Youngs, was caught in two minds and eventually ran the ball dead in-goal.
 
With Welford Road in full voice for the scrum, it was collapsed on the Saracens loosehead side but Williams, with the last kick of the half, was wide with his penalty.
 
The kicking continued at the start of the second half, Farrell putting one out on the full before Owen Williams sent a penalty to within 10m of the Sarries line. But the hard hits also continued with much of the play confined to the middle third of the pitch.
 
Tigers were on top at the scrum and won a penalty close to halfway. This time Williams landed his kick, with the help of the crossbar, to move Tigers into a 9-6 lead after 47 minutes.
 
Saracens wing Chris Ashton was replaced by Nathan Earle moments later after a clash of heads with Brady in midfield.
 
It was not a fluid game but the action was intense and compelling. Spencer spilled the ball at the back of a ruck but referee JP Doyle ruled that Lachlan McCaffrey had dived off his feet. However, Farrell missed a simple kick to leave Tigers 9-6 ahead.
 
Brady and O’Connor then combined to win a holding on penalty against Goode but Owen Williams was wide with his kick from the right touchline.
 
Instead, Saracens capitalised on Leicester mistakes to score the decisive try. Owen Williams could not grasp Ben Youngs’s high pass and Brad Barritt grabbed possession before Farrell ghosted through a gap in midfield to score on the left. Farrell converted to move Sarries 13-9 ahead.
 
They had the chance to extend that lead after O’Connor was pinged for holding on. Bosch took on the kick from inside his own half but was short and wide. Farrell was also off target moments later with another penalty as Saracens squeezed the game going into the last 15 minutes.
 
Tigers forced Sarries into a mistake of their own when Roberts charged down Bosch’s kick. He and Brady made ground into the Saracens 22 but the covering defence forced them into touch on the right.
 
It was third time lucky for Saracens with 10 minutes remaining when Farrell landed a simple penalty after a high tackle on Barritt.
 
Itoje conceded a penalty at the restart and Owen Williams landed his kick to bring Tigers back to 16-12.
 
But there was no comeback for the Tigers. Instead, a series of reset scrums in the final five minutes killed time in favour of the visitors to leave Leicester with a losing bonus point from the game.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

LEI 6-6 SAR

FT ScoreFull Time Score

LEI 12-16 SAR

Attendance

25,248

Referee

JP Doyle

Match Stats

Leicester Tigers
Saracens
Possession
56%
44%
Territory
57%
43%
Penalties Conceded
7
13
Yellow Cards
0
0
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
85/90 94%
118/133 89%
Scrums Won
6/6 0%
5/7 29%
Lineouts Won
12/12 100%
10/10 100%

Player Stats

Leicester Tigers
Saracens
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15
14Peter Betham
13
12Manu Tuilagi
11
104P
9Ben Youngs
1Ellis Genge
2Tom Youngs
3Dan Cole
4Ed Slater
5
6Mike Williams
7
8Lachlan McCaffrey
16George McGuigan
17
18Greg Bateman
19Graham Kitchener
20Will Evans
21
22George Worth
23
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
12

Full Time

Saracens
Saracens
16

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
14
Chris Ashton
13
12
11
10
9
Ben Spencer
1
2
3
4
Will Skelton
5
6
7
8

Subs

16
Schalk Brits
17
Hayden Thompson-Stringer
18
Titi Lamositele
19
Jim Hamilton
20
Kelly Brown
21
Neil de Kock
22
Alex Lozowski
23
Nathan Earle
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
3
Saracens
SaracensSAR22161557934523466288377
4
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI22140856744512258486466
Form Guide
Form
WDWDD
Last Match
Draw with Bayonne null-null
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