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Tigers slip to defeat at Allianz Park

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Leicester Tigers slipped to a first defeat in six games after going down 22-6 to Saracens at Allianz Park on Saturday afternoon.

Tigers took an early 6-0 lead through two Freddie Burns penalties, but Sarries hit back with three tries in eight minutes either side of the break to take control of the Aviva Premiership clash.
 
The hosts made the most of a yellow card to Tom Youngs three minutes before the break, scoring a try right on half-time through their England No8 Billy Vunipola.

And with Youngs still in the bin at the start of the second period, Marcelo Bosch made the most of the man advantage to finish an overlap shortly after the restart.

Chris Wyles added the third try to move Saracens more than two scores ahead, and while Tigers hammered away at the Saracens defence for large parts of the second-half, they were unable to find a way through, underlined by Sarries making 165 tackles in the game to Leicester's 66.
 
The result left Tigers fourth in the Aviva Premiership table with Sunday’s games to come, while Saracens moved into second in the hunt for a play-off place.
 
Tigers made two changes with Niall Morris and Vereniki Goneva on the wings in place of Adam Thompstone, who was among the replacements, and the injured Miles Benjamin.

Graham Kitchener was included on the bench after recovering from a foot injury and joined internationals Leonardo Ghiraldini, Michele Rizzo and Logovi'i Mulipola on the Tigers bench.
 
Tigers were given an early kick at goal after Saracens were caught offside in midfield and Burns landed his penalty from 45m to give the visitors a 3-0 lead.
 
Tigers opted to kick for position in the early stages while the hosts looked to run with ball in hand at their first opportunity. They created an overlap on the left for Wyles, who clipped a kick back infield intended for his centres that was fielded by Ben Youngs, and Mathew Tait completed the defensive job.

Saracens won a penalty at the game’s first scrum and Hodgson kicked to the corner. But solid defensive work at the lineout halted the drive and won Tigers the scrum put-in.
 
A mistake by Chris Ashton, kicking out on the full, gave Tigers a lineout platform in Saracens territory. Tigers put together a series of phases and won a penalty as Saracens failed to roll from the tackle. Burns landed his kick to double Leicester’s lead.
 
Burns was then called on in defence to mop up a loose ball in his 22 after Kelly Brown charged down Tait’s attempted clearance.
 
A flowing first-phase move off a scrum took Tigers 50m into the Sarries 22. Saracens regrouped and Tigers were pinged for a forward pass to bring the attack to a halt.

George Kruis won an up-and-under to set Sarries on an attack in the Leicester half. Tigers stood firm, forcing Charlie Hodgson to slide a grubber behind the Tigers defence that was mopped up by Tait, who found touch close to halfway.

Tigers were ruled offside giving Sarries their first attempt at goal. Bosch, the Argentina centre who kicked the decisive penalty for Saracens in their Champions Cup win at Racing Metro last week, was wide with his kick. Tigers held a 6-0 lead going into the second quarter.
 
Kelly Brown swooped on Jordan Crane's offload and broke the Tigers defensive line to take Saracens into the Leicester 22. Hodgson switched the attack to the right where Tigers looked short-handed but Saracens captain Alistair Hargreaves knocked-on and the chance went away.
 
Sarries made the most of another piece of loose possession from the Tigers, launching a counterattack from deep. Kruis broke the line, Morris recovered to halt his run on the Leicester 22 and then realigned to make the next tackle and steal possession.
 
It was a frantic period of the game. Next it was Jamie Gibson’s turn to steal possession with some excellent breakdown work. It set Goneva down the left, where he was well tackled by last-man Alex Goode.
 
Seremaia Bai was pinged for a high tackle on Jamie George as the hooker tried to break into the Leicester 22. Goode took over the kicking duties but struck the right post with a relatively simple kick and Sebastian de Chaves fielded the loose ball.

Matt Smith was then alert to an exchange of passes between Chris Ashton and Richard Wigglesworth to intercept the ball running back to his own line. However, Tom Youngs was pinged for tackling Ashton without the ball and received a yellow card three minutes before the break. It proved a pivotal moment in the game.
 
Ghiraldini came on for Goneva as Saracens opted for the 5m scrum.
 
Tigers were pinged at three successive scrums prompting referee Matthew Carley to issue a warning to the front row. Billy Vunipola picked up at the fourth scrum and had the legs to drive over for the opening try. Hodgson, Saracen’s third kicker of the game, landed the conversion with the last kick of the half to give the hosts a 7-6 lead.
 
Tigers came under pressure right at the start of the second half as Saracens won the kick-off. Ashton’s angled run to the right corner was stopped by Smith and Tait but Sarries switched the play to the opposite corner where Bosch crossed for the hosts second try. Ayerza was hurt as he attempted to make a last-ditch tackle and was helped from the pitch and Hodgson landed the conversion to move Sarries 14-6 ahead.
 
Tom Youngs returned to the pitch moments later, but Tigers were unable to prevent Saracens crossing for a third try of the game in the 48th minute.

Goode and Hodgson worked on opening on left where Wyles held off the Tigers defender to score at the corner.

Tigers kicked a penalty to the corner as they looked for a reply. The drive was well defended but Tigers worked the ball to Goneva who offloaded out of the tackle for Burns, who was tackled into touch just short of the line.

Instead, Hodgson put Sarries further ahead with a penalty after Gibson was pinged as he tried to steal possession in the shadow of his posts.

Tigers enjoyed a long period of possession in the final quarter as they probed for an opening in the Sarries defence. One promising attack came to an end when Burns’ pass evaded Kitchener’s grasp into touch before Goneva passed forward out of a tackle just as he looked certain to cross the whitewash.

Tigers finished the game with 14 men when Goneva was shown a yellow card for an offence spotted by the touch judge as Saracens closed out the game in Leicester territory.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

SAR 7-6 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

SAR 22-6 LEI

Attendance

9,982

Referee

Matthew Carley

Match Stats

Saracens
Leicester Tigers
Possession
39%
61%
Territory
38%
62%
Penalties Conceded
12
15
Yellow Cards
0
2
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
165/185 89%
78/90 87%
Scrums Won
12/12 100%
6/6 100%
Lineouts Won
12/12 0%
17/17 0%

Player Stats

Saracens
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15
14Niall Morris
13
12Seremaia Bai
11
102P
9Ben Youngs
1Marcos Ayerza
2Tom Youngs
3Dan Cole
4Sebastian De Chaves
5Geoff Parling
6Jamie Gibson
7Julian Salvi
8
16
17Michele Rizzo
18Logovi'i Mulipola
19Graham Kitchener
20Laurence Pearce
21
22Tommy Bell
23
Saracens
Saracens
22

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
6

Tigers Lineup

Starting XV

Niall Morris
14
Niall Morris
Seremaia Bai
12
Seremaia Bai
11
10
Marcos Ayerza
1
Marcos Ayerza
Sebastian De Chaves
4
Sebastian De Chaves
Geoff Parling
5
Geoff Parling
Jamie Gibson
6
Jamie Gibson
Julian Salvi
7
Julian Salvi
8

Subs

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
14
Chris Ashton
13
12
11
10
Charlie Hodgson
9
Richard Wigglesworth
1
2
3
4
5
Alistair Hargreaves
6
7
Kelly Brown
8

Subs

16
17
18
19
20
Ernst Joubert
21
Neil de Kock
22
23
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
3
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI2215164534213237394268
4
Saracens
SaracensSAR22141766441824670405568
Form Guide
Form
WWLLD
Last Match
Draw with Bath Rugby 17-17
Past Meeting
Won 24-13
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
DWDDD
Last Match
Draw with Brive null-null
Past Meeting
Lost 13-24