Joubert double helps Sarries hammer Leicester

Leicester Tigers 25 Saracens 50
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The Independent Online

This one-sided romp was a far cry from May's Premiership final at Twickenham, in which Saracens needed desperate defence in the last few minutes to beat Leicester.

Here, the Tigers were down and nearly out by the 46th minute, after the hooker Jamie George had gone over at the right corner for Saracens' fourth try and a lead of 35-11. "Remember you are Tigers," came a desperate cry from the main stand and, fortified by fired-up substitutes, the home team scored a try, through the Australian No 8 Julian Salvi. But Saracens scored two more tries, through the No 8 Ernst Joubert and centre Brad Barritt, before Leicester collected a late consolation via flanker Ben Woods.

Leicester have only one win this season and their fans expect more than the flimsy defence which helped Saracens, led by Charlie Hodgson at fly-half, to win by six tries to three. The very small consolation for Leicester was that this was not their heaviest defeat in the Premiership – that was 45-17 at Waspsin 1998.

The Tigers looked drained. They have 12 players on World Cup duty and injuries have taken away the experienced forwards Jordan Crane, Craig Newby, George Skivington and Julian White. They have also lost the promising prop Kieran Brookes, who suffered a serious foot injury last week.

Though Saracens have eight players at the World Cup, they have a much more settled team and Hodgson ran the phases to keep them in charge. He scored the first try in the 19th minute, finishing off a move despite calls from Leicester that Mouritz Botha had obstructed a defender. The referee, Greg Garner, ignored their pleas. Hodgson kicked the conversion to add to three penaltiesto one by Billy Twelvetrees.

A second penalty from Twelvetrees raised Leicester's hopes, only for more soft defence to let Joubert break through and score by the posts. Hodgson converted for a lead of 23-6.

Leicester needed a lift and they managed a response just before the interval, when good line-out possession was followed by some swift handling to give the wing Niall Morris a chance out wide that he took.

However, Saracens returned after the interval to dominate. Owen Farrell ran through some more sloppy defence and he was followed over the Leicester line by George, after the phase play of the visitors had left the Tigers on their knees.

Leicester Tigers S Hamilton; M Smith, B Twelvetrees, A Allen (M Tait, 19; J Staunton, 72), N Morris; G Ford, J Grindal (M Young, 51); B Stankovich (J Harris, 77), G Chuter (capt; T Youngs, 51), M Holford (P Bucknall, 52), E Slater, G Kitchener, S Mafi (T Armes, 79), B Woods, J Salvi.

Saracens A Goode; D Strettle (J Short, 54), B Barritt, O Farrell, J Maddock; C Hodgson (A Powell, 63), N de Kock (B Spencer, 54); R Gill (D Carstens, 54), J George (H Allen, 72), C Nieto (M Vunipola, 54), S Borthwick (capt; G Kruis, 53), M Botha, J Wray, W Fraser (A Saull, 61), E Joubert.

Referee G Garner (Warwickshire).

Leicester Tigers

Tries: Morris, Salvi, Woods

Cons: Twelvetrees 2

Pens: Twelvetrees 2

Saracens

Tries: Hodgson, Joubert 2, Farrell, George, Barritt

Cons: Hodgson 3, Farrell

Pens: Hodgson 3, Farrell

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