Planet Rugby

Saracens wrestle crown off Leicester

28th May 2011 14:03

Share:

saracens champions

Party time: Saracens

Saracens exacted revenge for last season's heartbreaking defeat by overcoming Leicester 22-18 in the Aviva Premiership Final in London.

Like in 2010, there was a dramatic finish to events at Twickenham as Tigers launched a 25-phase assault at their rivals. But the Men in Black this time stood firm thanks to some fine defence.

Saracens deserved their win in truth and their title triumph was down to tireless tackling, hunger, and the probably the hurt of last year's wounds.

Nerves were most definitely on show during the early sparring, with both teams resorting to sending the ball skywards before settling into their respective games. Saracens found their stride first and silenced those who have been labelling them boring, putting on an entertaining brand that had the Tigers at sixes and sevens.

It was apparent that Mark McCall's side were winning all of the mini-battles around the pitch and were deserving of their 16-9 half-time lead.

The pressure they were applying on the Leicester whitewash all began when Brad Barritt made inroads before offloading to a surging Neil de Kock, who had secured his starting spot via a toss of a coin. Richard Wiggleworth was subsequently sitting on the bench and just like clockwork appeared on 50 minutes. Speaking of scrum-halves, that aforementioned passage led to the opposing Ben Youngs being sent to the bin for an infringement at the breakdown, just as Saracens were motoring.

Owen Farrell knocked over the resulting three points to open the game's account but on nine minutes, Leicester hit back through the boot of England number ten Toby Flood.

Flood then went on to push Leicester ahead on 18 minutes following a mix-up between Schalk Brits and De Kock on the ground. However that advantage did not last long, as George Chuter then infringed to allow Farrell the chance to level matters. He did.

Despite the scores being tied up there was still the sense that Saracens were very much on top, and that was rewarded just before the half-hour when Brits claimed a quick line-out and set about finding Marcos Ayerza in the defensive line. The South African hooker took the Argentine on the outside with relative ease before feeding wing James Short for the try.

Richard Cockerill was left looking perplexed while Brendan Venter and McCall sat purring in the stands as two more Farrell penalties to one from Flood ended an entertaining half.

Upon the resumption, Saracens continued to dominate during the early stages and their imperious fly-half Farrell was on-target again to kick them ten points clear. But Flood once again reduced the arrears with two more penalties for his side.

The playmaking duo traded three pointers and in a dramatic finish to the contest, which saw Leicester pound the opposition line for several minutes. But their efforts proved fruitless.

Finally the inevitable happened as a penalty awarded by referee Wayne Barnes against the Midlands side for holding on sparked scenes of jubilation amongst the Saracens players, coaches and fans as they claimed their first trophy since 1998.

Man-of-the-match: Credit to Owen Farrell for his faultless kicking display but the award goes to Schalk Brits for an incredible effort for Saracens. He ran all day for his side.

The scorers:

For Leicester:
Pen: Flood 6

For Saracens:
Try: Short
Con: Farrell
Pen: Farrell 5

Leicester: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Craig Newby (capt), 6 Tom Croft, 5 George Skivington, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 James Grindal, 22 Jeremy Staunton, 23 Billy Twelvetrees.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 David Strettle, 13 Chris Wyles, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 James Short, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Matt Stevens.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Hugh Vyvyan, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Noah Cato.

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Dave Pearson, Stuart Terheege
Television match official: Graham Hughes

By Adam Kyriacou

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs Australia08:35
Argentina vs South Africa20:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse vs CastresToulouse vs Castres Preview
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs Grenoble18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 22
Pumas vs GriquasPumas vs Griquas Preview
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Friday , August 22
Waikato vs CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Preview
Hawkes Bay vs TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Preview
Saturday , August 23
Northland vs Wellington14:35
Counties Manukau vs Otago16:35
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs Auckland14:35
Bay Of Plenty vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Southland 34 - 23 Bay Of Plenty
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki 9 - 9 Counties ManukauTaranaki vs Counties Manukau Report
More ITM Cup results
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 9
Griquas 24 - 31 SharksGriquas vs Sharks Report
Pumas 28 - 21 CheetahsPumas vs Cheetahs Report
Lions 41 - 13 Blue BullsLions vs Blue Bulls Report
Friday , August 8
Eastern Province Kings 16 - 35 Western ProvinceEastern Province Kings vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00