Saracens 49 Leicester 10 match report: Toby Flood leaves and Sarries gates open

Record defeat for Leicester follows confirmation they will lose their England fly-half to France

Allianz Park

The confirmation that their captain and England fly-half Toby Flood will be leaving for a French club next summer was by no means Leicester’s worst news yesterday. The League champions have been busy scouting out replacements for Flood for a while, with Rhys Priestland and Freddie Burns possible candidates. No, the loss here – a record margin of defeat in the Premiership for Leicester – was more immediately hurtful. Six tries to one was a hammering, even if it might be an irrelevance come the end of season shakedown.

Flood, 28, who has 60 caps, is thought to be heading for Toulouse or Toulon, and therefore turning his back on England selection in the year before a home World Cup; no easy decision, but Saracens’ Owen Farrell appears the national coach Stuart Lancaster’s first choice, with Burns and Bath’s George Ford among the back-up. “We put our best offer forward,” said Richard Cockerill, the Leicester director of rugby. “I don’t think it’s a monetary thing, Floody wants to do something different and sees his England chances limited.”

Flood sat out this match – uncomfortably all round, as he had a strained muscle in the backside – while Farrell failed to finish it. The feisty Saracen flew out of defence to make a tackle on Ryan Lamb as the second of two Leicester mauls in quick succession was being held at bay midway through the second half, and his head collided with the supporting Niki Goneva’s hip.

Cockerkill chose against fielding the same team who had fought out the past fortnight’s back to back European wins over Montpellier – exertions greater than Saracens’ in overcoming the Italians of Zebre. The Tigers omitted their England front rowers Dan Cole and Tom Youngs – the latter on the bench; the former all together, in compliance with the elite player agreement that obliges a rest once in the next three matches if Lancaster wants it. Leicester then lost Matt Smith and Terence Hepetema within nine minutes of each other early in the second half to add two more centres to the absent Manu Tuilagi, Anthony Allen and Dan Bowden; this coincided, moreover, with what Cockerill described as the “key” incident of Graham Kitchener’s yellow card in the 39th minute.

Sarries were 13-10 up at the time – a try by Jack Wilson plus Farrell’s conversion and two penalties set against Kitchener’s chargedown try to punish a dawdling Farrell, and Lamb’s penalty and conversion. Kitchener tackled Farrell after the ball had been passed and although there was an element of the “tip” about it, there seemed no danger of injury as the fly-half landed on his back. Indeed, Farrell jumped up immediately to have a moan about it. In Kitchener’s absence, Saracens scored 15 unanswered points: a try by Chris Ashton with its own controversial note; another try on 45 minutes by Billy Vunipola and a conversion and penalty by Farrell. The Ashton score – Saracens’ England wing would run in a second with four minutes to go – came from an apparent forward pass by Chris Wyles that was subjected to umpteen reviews by the television match official before the referee Wayne Barnes okayed it.

“Saracens played very well, we couldn’t cope with their power,” said Cockerill. “But if that [Kitchener’s] was a yellow card the lawmakers are kidding themselves, the game’s soft. Also, we were driving a maul in the second half, Ben Youngs pulls a bloke [Steve Borthwick] who’s 6ft 8in out, throws him on the floor and it’s a penalty. Is that where we’re getting to with the game? The lawmakers are having a laugh, it’s a joke.” Sarries’ Mark McCall thought Kitchener’s yellow card, as a minimum, was justified, arguing the Leicester lock had not brought Farrell to ground safely.

Saracens’s celebrations of a penalty try at a scrum for 42-10 in the 73rd minute riled Leicester; but either side of that Neil de Kock’s vivacious substitute cameo for the home team was a stand-out effort; the scrum-half ran brilliantly from a scrum for Jackson Wray to finish and then gave the final pass for Ashton’s concluding try. It all outstripped Leicester’s 45-17 loss to Wasps in 1998, as well as ending a run of six wins in all competitions for the Tigers, while Saracens stretched their similar streak to eight.


Saracens: A Goode (B Ransom, 70); C Ashton, T Streather, C Wyles, J Wilson; O Farrell (C Hodgson, 68), R Wigglesworth (N de Kock, 54); R Barrington (M Vunipola, 41), J George, M Stevens (J Johnston, 54), S Borthwick (capt), A Hargreaves (G Kruis, 57), B Vunipola, K Brown, E Joubert (J Wray, 67).

Leicester Tigers: M Tait; N Morris, N Goneva, M Smith (T Hepetema, 41, A Thompstone, 50), M Benjamin; R Lamb, B Youngs (D Mele, 66); B Stankovich (M Ayerza, 46), N Briggs (T Youngs 46), F Balmain (J Schuster 46), E Slater, G Kitchener (S de Chaves, 73), J Gibson, P Matera (T Waldrom, 54), J Crane (capt).

Referee: W Barnes (London).

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments