Planet Rugby

Try-less draw at Wembley

15th September 2012 17:31

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Ernst Joubert of Saracens takes on the Leicester Tigers defence

No way through: Defence ruled at Wembley

There was nothing to separate Premiership heavyweights Saracens and Leicester Tigers in a hard-fought 9-9 draw in front of a healthy Wembley Stadium crowd in London on Saturday.

We'd seen tries aplenty in front of more than 60,000 at Twickenham on the opening day, but the 50,000 in attendance at the home of English football witnessed a game that was dominated by mean defence and the battle in midfield.

Though a low-scoring encounter, Leicester racked up a point a minute following the kick off courtesy of two Toby Flood penalty goals to establish an early lead.

Flood then made it 9-0 on the half-hour as the Tigers continued to capitalise on poor discipline from their opponents, before Owen Farrell, with his father looking on from the stands, got Sarries off the mark with a three-pointer of his own as the first half edged to a close.

Though Sarries would rue two missed attempts from Farrell in the first half that may have altered the outcome of this contest.

Following his introduction from the bench, Charlie Hodgson took over the Saracens kicking duties in the second half, and he was on target with a quickfire double just before the hour to level the scores.

As the game approached the closing stages, both sides sought to eat up the territory and carve out an opportunity to knock off over a drop-goal, that may have won them the game.

A close-range attempt from Hodgson in front of the posts in the 77th minute drifted to the right of the sticks, and that proved to be Sarries' final opportunity to win the match.

But a determined gallop forward from Flood in the final possession of the game allowed Leicester the opportunity to knock over a winner, but his long-range drop goal attempt, though handsome, was off target.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Pens: Farrell, Hodgson

For Leicester:
Pens: Flood 3

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 James Short, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Jackson Wray, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20 Will Fraser, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Chris Wyles.

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy (c), 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Graham Kitchener, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Rob Andrew, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Patrick Phibbs, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.

Venue: Wembley Stadium
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Paul Dix
Television match official: Graham Hughes
Timekeeper: David Hudson
Assessor: Brian Campsall

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