Premiership semi-final: Saracens 44-17 Leicester Tigers

By Steve MarshallBBC Sport
Chris Ashton scores
Chris Ashton scored Saracens' third try within the opening 25 minutes
Saracens (31) 44
Tries: Fraser, Wyles 2, Ashton 2 Con: Farrell 4, Hodgson Pens: Farrell, Hodgson 2
Leicester (0) 17
Tries: Veainu, Barrow Con: Williams 2 Pen: Williams

Saracens remain on course for a domestic and European double after beating Leicester to reach a third successive Premiership final.

The Champions Cup winners were clinical in the first half and led 31-0 thanks to two Chris Wyles tries and efforts from Will Fraser and Chris Ashton.

Telusa Veainu and Dom Barrow threatened a fightback but Ashton's second try sealed victory for Sarries.

Worryingly for England, Manu Tuilagi and Owen Farrell both went off injured.

Saracens will now face Exeter at Twickenham next Saturday, bidding to become the first English side since Wasps in 2004 to claim both the Premiership and European crowns.

Chris Wyles
Chris Wyles scored Saracens' fourth try with the last play of the first half

Saracens' last defeat had come at Leicester back on 20 March and those memories may have threatened to come flooding back when Leicester centre Tuilagi raced in under the posts after only 40 seconds.

But, after consultation with the Television Match Official, referee JP Doyle ruled it out for Barrow playing the ball on the floor and Saracens never looked back.

Flanker Fraser capitalised on some excellent offloading from Schalk Brits and George Kruis to crash over, before Wyles pounced on Leicester fly-half Owen Williams' attempted grubber kick to run the ball in unopposed.

Ashton then went over in the corner for Sarries' third try in the opening 25 minutes, before Wyles intercepted England scrum-half Ben Youngs' pass in the dying seconds of the first half to cross from his own 22.

History repeats itself for Leicester

The trip to Allianz Park was Leicester's 12th successive Premiership semi-final but this loss was their third straight defeat in the last four after being beaten by Northampton and Bath respectively in the last two seasons.

It also had echoes of last year's defeat at The Rec, when they were blown away by the force of the Blue, Black and Whites' attacking and also ended well beaten.

To their credit, Leicester mounted a credible challenge early in the second half, as Veainu raced in and Barrow forced his way over while Saracens had Fraser in the sin-bin, closing to within 14 points of the hosts.

But the Saracens pack battled their way back into the contest and a Charlie Hodgson penalty and Ashton's second try settled any nerves.

Worries for Eddie Jones?

Manu Tuilagi
Manu Tuilagi limped out of the game after around 20 minutes

With the summer tour to Australia looming, England coach Eddie Jones will be concerned by injuries to two of his key backs.

Tuilagi, who only made his England return during the Six Nations after almost two years out of international rugby because of a groin injury and disciplinary issues, limped out of the game with a hamstring injury just as Wyles was scoring Sarries' second try.

And Saracens' England fly-half Owen Farrell, who kicked 11 points, was also forced off in the closing stages after taking a big hit from Leicester prop Ellis Genge, allowing Hodgson to make a farewell appearance at Allianz Park before retiring.

Saracens: Goode; Ashton, Taylor, Barritt (capt), Wyles; Farrell, Wigglesworth; M. Vunipola, Brits, Du Plessis, Itoje, Kruis, Rhodes, Fraser, B. Vunipola.

Replacements: George, Barrington, Figallo, Hamilton, Wray, De Kock, Hodgson, Bosch.

Sin-bin: Fraser (49)

Leicester Tigers: Tait (capt); Veainu, Betham, Tuilagi, Goneva; Williams, B. Youngs; Ayerza, Thacker, Cole, Barrow, Kitchener, Fitzgerald, O'Connor, McCaffrey.

Replacements: Ghiraldini, Genge, Mulipola, Slater, Evans, Kitto, Bell, Thompstone.

Referee: JP Doyle.

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