Premiership: Saracens back on top with 33-10 win against Leicester Tigers
|Saracens (5) 33|
|Tries: Wigglesworth, Woolstencroft, Spencer, Strettle Cons: Goode 2 Pens: Lozowski 2, Goode|
|Leicester (10) 10|
|Try: Holmes Con: Toomua Pen: Toomua|
Saracens picked up a late bonus-point win over Leicester to return to the top of Premiership on points difference.
Late tries by Ben Spencer and David Strettle ensured they took the five points needed to overhaul Exeter.
But the defending champions had to come from 10-5 behind at the break as Richard Wigglesworth and Tom Woolstencroft also crossed.
Jonah Holmes' try had helped Leicester lead but they were unable to add any points in the second half.
Saracens and Exeter are now level on 52 points after 13 games, with Sarries having won 11 to Chiefs' 10. Mark McCall's men also have a points difference of +135 to Exeter's +131.
But for long periods against Leicester, who were playing their 500th Premiership match, it looked like they would miss the chance to regain top spot.
Tigers led up until the final quarter with Holmes' converted score from George Worth's burst the only try of the first half.
But mistakes, including two missed penalties from Matt Toomua, and a lack of discipline allowed Sarries to turn the screw in the last 20 minutes.
Alex Lozowski's two penalties edged them ahead at 11-10 before replacement hooker Woolstencroft's first Premiership try opened up some space on the scoreboard after Nick Isiekwe set up the rolling maul.
As Leicester chased a losing bonus point by trying to counter from their own 22, Spencer and Strettle capitalised on turnovers for the third and fourth tries.
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:
"We didn't target or particularly have a focus on the bonus point today. Our intention in this period is to help some of the younger boys along in terms of exposure, and they've shown what they can do.
"We wanted to build on the momentum we've managed to build since the defeat at Sale, and the boys have shown what they're all about.
Guys like Matt Gallagher, who I'm absolutely delighted for, is a great example of what we want to do with our guys in terms of development.
"These periods are crucial for us. We don't really care what the league table looks like at this stage; there's still a long way to go, and our aim in these few weeks is to give lads a platform to play."
Leicester head coach Geordan Murphy told BBC Radio Leicester:
"The last 10 minutes skews our performance and I thought we did a reasonable job and played some good rugby in the first half.
"We probably should have been further ahead and Matt Toomua missed a couple of kicks to push us out to 16 points.
"They came out at us in the second half and ground it out. They're that good that they pinned us back in our own territory when I felt we could still come away with something late on.
"We've got to learn the lessons pretty quickly and I want the guys who made mistakes to put their hands up and be accountable.
"Conceding those two late tries really skews the feeling among the group tonight."
Saracens: Gallagher; Strettle, Lozowski, Barritt, Lewington; Goode, Wigglesworth; Barrington, Christopher, Koch, Day, Isiekwe, Clark, Earl, Wray.
Replacements: Woolstencroft, Adams-Hale, Lamositele, Skelton, Rhodes, Spencer, Malins, Tompkins.
Leicester: Worth; Holmes, Owen, Eastmond, Varndell; Toomua, White; Bateman, Youngs (capt), Cole, Fitzgerald, Kitchener, Williams, O'Connor, Kalamafoni.
Replacements: Kerr, Gigena, Heyes, Evans, Wells, Harrison, Hardwick, Aspland-Robinson.
Referee: Tom Foley.
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