Planet Rugby

Tigers defeat weakened Saracens

10th May 2014 17:12

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manu tuilagi leicester tigers saracens

Scorer: Manu Tuilagi

A bonus-point win for Leicester Tigers confirmed their third-place finish after defeating a weakened Saracens outfit 31-27.

Sarries took an early 8-3 lead through Ben Spencer's try and Charlie Hodgson's penalty, with Owen Williams responding via the boot for the Tigers.

But when Leicester were awarded a penalty try just before half-time, they never looked back.

Justin Melck was red carded for the London-based side and scores by Manu Tuilagi, Blaine Scully and Graham Kitchener sealed the win.

Saracens were awarded a penalty try themselves and Jack Wilson and Spencer also went over, but their indiscipline ultimately proved costly.

With both sides protecting players for their respective semi-final clashes, it was two much-changed line-ups that went head-to-head at Welford Road. It was the visitors, who have already secured top-spot in the Premiership, that opened the scoring in the first minute through Spencer's touchdown.

Leicester were struggling to get a grip on proceedings and, although Williams reduced the deficit via a penalty, Mark McCall's men were the ones who continued to threaten.

Hodgson made a break through the heart of the hosts' rearguard which led to a Tigers' infringement at the breakdown. The stand-off duly converted the resultant opportunity to give them an 8-3 advantage.

It went from bad to worse for the Midlands' outfit when David Mele, Owen Williams and Geoff Parling went off injured, but they regained their composure and a penalty try moved them ahead at the break.

That was the confidence booster Leicester needed as they came out with renewed vigour in the second period.

The pressure resulted in Michael Tagicakibau being yellow carded and the hosts immediately took advantage when Tuilagi powered over. Melck then saw red before Scully crossed the whitewash to extend their lead to 24-8.

Although Sarries were awarded a penalty try of their own to give them a glimmer of hope, Kitchener effectively ended the game as a contest when he touched down.

Wilson scored for Saracens with a quarter of the game to go and Spencer went over late on, but they were unable to overturn Tigers' lead.

The scorers:

For Leicester:
Tries: Penalty Try, Tuilagi, Scully, KItchener
Cons: Flood 3
Pen: Williams

For Saracens:
Tries: Spencer 2, Penalty Try, Wilson
Cons: Spencer 2
Pen: Hodgson
Yellow Card: Tagicakibau
Red Card: Melck

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Toby Flood, 11 Blaine Scully, 10 Owen Williams, 9 David Mele, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Pablo Matera, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Louis Deacon (c), 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Tom Croft, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Dan Bowden, 23 Adam Thompstone.

Saracens: 15 Ben Ransom, 14 Michael Tagicakibau, 13 Tim Streather, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Jack Wilson, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Nick Fenton-Wells, 7 Justin Melck, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Hayden Smith, 4 Eoin Sheriff, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Jamie George (c), 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Scott Spurling, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 James Johnston, 19 Tom Jubb, 20 Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Nick Tompkins

>Referee: Greg Garner

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