Planet Rugby

Sarries claim spoils against Tigers

14th October 2007 16:46

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census johnston saracens v leicester

Johnston on the charge for Sarries

Saracens secured an impressive 26-19 victory over Guinness Premiership holders Leicester at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

The hosts punished their stuttering visitors' unforced errors to claim the four points that moves them up to second place in the league table.

Decisive second-half scores from Kris Chesney and Adam Powell sealed victory after Richard Haughton touched down in the first half, with Glen Jackson adding a conversion and three penalties.

Leicester got over the line twice, when Jordan Crane and Boris Stankovich scored from lineout drives, with recalled fly-half Paul Burke adding three penalties.

And it seems the end of the World Cup and the arrival of Argentinean coach Marcelo Loffreda cannot come soon enough for the Tigers, who were lucky to escape a heavier mauling from an enterprising Saracens outfit.

Last weekend's second defeat in 40 games at Welford Road, a thumping one at the hands of leaders Gloucester, prompted major surgery to the Leicester team, most notably at fly-half with Andy Goode axed in favour of Paul Burke.

Other changes included recalls for Sam Vesty, Ayoola Erinle, Martin Castrogiovanni and a first Premiership start for scrum-half Ben Youngs, the 18-year-old son of former England number nine Nick Youngs.

Saracens had a much more settled look with Paul Gustard's return in the back-row the only difference to the side that won on the road against Worcester.

They trailed for most of the first period as Leicester somehow clung to a lead chiselled out with a third-minute try from a lineout drive and two penalties from Burke.

Crane was forced over in the left-hand corner from an ominous Leicester rumble to the line before Jackson got Saracens on the board with a ninth-minute penalty.

The fly-half missed two more kickable shots and was held up over the line from one of a number of promising attacks prompted by Neil de Kock as Leicester held on and then increased their lead with a pair of penalties from Burke around the half-hour.

But the Tigers cracked three minutes before the break when skipper Louis Deacon was sin-binned for reaching over a ruck to grab the ball inches from their line.

Jackson added three points from the resulting penalty and Saracens were level moments before the interval when Edd Thrower's cut inside and offload gave Haughton the room to hurdle a tackle and race over in the corner.

Jackson's third penalty nudged Saracens in front for the first time although they had a let-off when unmarked wing Johne Murphy could not hold Burke's cross-kick ten metres out.

But the hosts finally pulled away by punishing Leicester's errors with two tries in three minutes midway through the half.

A promising attack appeared to have broken down in the Leicester 22, only for the visitors to give the ball away and see it moved quickly for hooker Matt Cairns to put Chesney into the corner.

Then another move petered out deep in Saracens' territory, centre Powell kicked ahead and overhauled the diving Burke to win the race to the line with Jackson converting from wide on the left.

Prop Stankovich was then driven over from a line-out late in the game but Burke could not convert and, despite some inventive touches from Geordan Murphy in attack, they were kept at arm's length for the final six minutes.

The Tigers' only reward was a losing bonus-point earned by Burke's third successful penalty 30 seconds from time.

The scorers:

For Saracens:

Tries: Haughton, Chesney, Powell

Con: Jackson

Pen: Jackson 3

For Leicester:

Tries: Crane, Stankovich

Pen: Burke 2

Saracens: 15 Richard Haughton, 14 Edd Thrower, 13 Kevin Sorrell, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Rodd Penney, 10 Glen Jackson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Richard Hill, 6 Paul Gustard, 5 Hugh Vyvyan, 4 Kris Chesney, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Matt Cairns, 1 Kevin Yates.

Replacements: 16 Andy Kyriacou, 17 Tom Mercey, 18 Iain Fullarton, 19 Dave Seymour, 20 Alan Dickens, 21 Gordon Ross, 22 Noah Cato.

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Ollie Smith, 12 Sam Vesty, 11 Ayoola Erinle, 10 Paul Burke, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Luke Abraham, 6 Brett Deacon, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Louis Deacon (c), 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Mefin Davies, 1 Boris Stankovich.

Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 David Young, 18 James Hamilton, 19 Tom Croft, 20 Christophe Laussucq, 21 Matt Cornwell, 22 Tom Varndell.

Referee: David Rose

Touch judges: Robin Goodliffe, David Kurk

Television match official: Bob Ockenden

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