Corry sent off as Castaignède kick sinks Leicester

Saracens 19 - Leicester 17
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The Independent Online

It was just not Leicester's day. Their No 8 and England captain Martin Corry was sent off in the first half for elbowing Saracens' blindside flanker and international colleague Richard Hill, they lost top spot in the Premiership to Wasps and for good measure Louis Deacon left the field with a suspected fractured cheekbone.

It was just not Leicester's day. Their No 8 and England captain Martin Corry was sent off in the first half for elbowing Saracens' blindside flanker and international colleague Richard Hill, they lost top spot in the Premiership to Wasps and for good measure Louis Deacon left the field with a suspected fractured cheekbone.

Corry's was a foolish act that might well have imperilled his chances of going on the Lions tour to New Zealand. Ordinarily, such an offence would earn the culprit a three-week ban, but when other factors, such as previous offences in the same season, are taken into account then the punishment for a second offence can be increased by between one and 12 weeks.

Corry was cited for a stamping offence against Bath at Welford Road last October and was subsequently banned for two weeks, so with the Lions party due to fly out in five weeks' time, Sir Clive Woodward, the tourists' head coach, will be on tenterhooks awaiting the result of the disciplinary hearing.

It is unlikely that a hearing can be convened this week, so Corry should be able to play against Toulouse in the Heineken Cup semi-final at the Walkers Stadium next Sunday.

The 29th-minute incident left Hill needing treatment to a cut over his right eye, but thankfully was not serious enough to sideline the England flanker, who was making his first start since injuring a knee last October.

With so many Lions on display in this game there was always the chance of an unavoidable clash or two. Leicester had begun with six of the present crop and two, Martin Johnson and Darren Morris, from the 2001 vintage in their 22; Saracens boasted a more modest number - one from each squad. But the presence of so many luminaries did not do much for the standard of the game, which was scrappy in every sense.

Thomas Castaignède's try lifted an unedifying first half, but the second half had precious little to recommend it, except for the furious fighting qualities of the Premiership leaders, who had Johnson sent to the sin bin for scrapping with the Saracens flanker Ben Russell, who was also shown a yellow.

Johnson was the one penalised for the incident from which Castaignède landed the penalty that put Saracens ahead. It proved to be the match-winning kick, keeping alive Saracens' chances of qualifying for Europe, although they have lost Kevin Yates for the rest of the season with a fractured cheekbone.

Saracens: Tries Castaignède; Conversion Castaignède; Penalties Castaignède (4). Leicester: Tries Chuter; Penalties Goode (4).

Saracens: M Bartholomeusz (N Little, 62); B Johnston, K Sorrell, D Harris, T Vaikona; T Castaignède, K Bracken (M Rauluni, 58); K Yates (N Lloyd, 80+3), R Ibanez (M Cairns, 58), B Broster, S Raiwalui (I Fullarton, 73), K Chesney, R Hill (B Russell, 29-36), D Seymour (B Russell, 45), H Vyvyan (capt).

Leicester: S Vesty; G Murphy, M Cornwell, D Gibson, A Tuilagi (T Varndell, 70); A Goode, H Ellis (S Bemand, 70); G Rowntree, G Chuter (J Buckland, 74), J White, M Johnson (capt), L Deacon (L Moody, 12), W Johnson, N Back (H Tuilagi, 79), M Corry.

Referee: C White (Cheltenham).

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