Planet Rugby

Tigers march into final

12th May 2012 17:06

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SKY_MOBILE alesana tuilagi leicester v saracens premiership semi-final

First try: Alesana Tuilagi

Leicester outscored Saracens two tries to none to claim a place in the Aviva Premiership Final with a 24-15 win at Welford Road on Saturday.

Tigers will now face Harlequins, who earlier beat Northampton, in the Twickenham final on 26 May.

It was the first game between these two at Welford Road since the visitors' famous 50-25 thrashing of the Tigers in September 2011.

But this match was unsurprisingly an altogether tighter affair with Leicester taking a 13-12 lead at half-time through a converted Alesana Tuilagi touchdown and two George Ford penalties.

Owen Farrell kicked all of Sarries' first-half points, but Leicester edged their way to victory in the second 40 through Steve Mafi's try and two more Ford kicks, despite Farrell briefly cutting the gap.

Toby Flood pulled out before kick-off and Ford came in as his replacement. Julian Salvi was also ruled out and there was an air of uncertainty about Leicester's game early on.

Saracens initially dominated and deservedly went three points in front through the boot of Farrell. The hosts' fly-half levelled the scores before David Strettle crossed the whitewash, only to knock-on over the line. It was to prove costly.

Although the visiting centre added another three-pointer, Leicester took the lead when Ford's beautifully timed pass sent the elder Tuilagi clear.

Despite that setback, the visitors continued to control territory, and Farrell reduced the deficit to one point. The England international added a fourth from the tee, but Ford responded.

Unlike the opening period, the hosts dominated the initial stages of the second half and scored a second touchdown through Mafi, with another move instigated by fly-half Ford.

Ford and Farrell then traded penalties as Leicester led by six points before the home side's number ten sealed the victory with his fourth three-pointer, booking their spot in the final.

The scorers:

For Leicester:
Tries: A Tuilagi, Mafi
Con: Ford
Pens: Ford 4

For Saracens:
Pens: Farrell 5

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy (capt), 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Craig Newby, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 George Skivington, 3 Dan Cole, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Ben Woods, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Scott Hamilton.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 David Strettle, 13 Owen Farrell, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 John Smit, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Hugh Vyvyan, 20 George Kruis, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Adam Powell, 23 James Short.

Referee: Dave Pearson

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