Leicester Tigers 21-21 Saracens, match report

Former Scotland captain Kelly Brown outjumps Brad Thorn to secure lineout ball for Saracens. Picture: Getty
Former Scotland captain Kelly Brown outjumps Brad Thorn to secure lineout ball for Saracens. Picture: Getty
Share this article
1
Have your say

STAND-OFF Owen Williams earned a 21-21 draw for Leicester Tigers with the last kick of a dour Aviva Premiership match at Welford Road.

The 22-year-old Welshman kept his cool to slot his seventh penalty on an afternoon when former England fly-half Charlie Hodgson kicked seven for Saracens.

The two points put Saracens in joint second place with Exeter and Bath, while Leicester go level on points with Sale and Gloucester.

Saracens centre Marcelo Bosch was the only player to get a yellow card on a rain-soaked afternoon when, with so much at stake, neither side were prepared to take any risks and instead relied on the boots of Williams and Hodgson.

Saracens led 12-6 after a hard-fought first half, thanks to Hodgson, who kicked four penalties from five attempts.

His opposite number, Williams, did not fare so well, slotting two from four and would have kicked himself for missing one from bang in front of the posts.

With so much at stake neither side took any risks and, as a result, not a single chance was created in the first half. The biggest talking point of the half was the yellow card shown to Bosch, who, along with David Strettle, picked up Leicester winger Blaine Scully and dumped him on his back.

After consulting the TMO and watching several replays, referee Tim Wigglesworth sin-binned Bosch but could easily have shown a yellow to Strettle too.

CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN

Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning

• You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google +

Leicester failed to take advantage and the score was 3-3 during the ten minutes Bosch was off the field.

Hodgson kicked penalties in the tenth, 20th, 32nd and 34th minutes, while Williams replied in the 23rd and 29th minutes.

It was more of the same after the interval, with Williams and Hodgson swapping punches and Saracens keeping their nose ahead.

Williams slotted three penalties in the third quarter, the first a monster from 50 metres, but Hodgson hit back with two of his own and constantly pegged Leicester back with diagonal kicks to touch as the rain poured down.

The second of those, in the 57th minute, came after Saracens had a chance to pull clear after winning a penalty at a scrum near Leicester’s line.

They could have gone for the try, either through another scrum or a lineout and drive but chose the safe option of Hodgson’s boot.

And minutes later, Leicester were back on level terms after Williams kicked his fifth and sixth penalties.

Hodgson put Saracens ahead yet again with five minutes left with a simple penalty but Williams equalised right on full time with his seventh after Saracens had been penalised at a scrum, awarded after Strettle’s kick had gone dead.

But Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall believes the officials robbed his side by giving the penalty to the wrong side.

Saracens destroyed Leicester’s scrum 30 metres from their own line, replacement loosehead Rhys Gill catapulting the Tigers tighthead, Fraser Balmain, upwards.

But the touch judge penalised Gill for not scrummaging squarely.

McCall said: “I thought it was a penalty for us, it’s obvious to most people who have watched it. You are required to stay square, which he [Gill] did. Their tighthead is under pressure and he goes three metres in the air so you have nothing to scrummage against. Most people could see what happened.”

SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS

• Download your free 30-day trial for our iPad, Android and Kindle apps

Keep up to date with all aspects of Scottish life with The Scotsman iPhone app, completely free to download and use