Goode finds range to fell Saracens

Leicester 21 - Saracens 9
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The Independent Online

One of these days the Saracens' owner, Nigel Wray, will begin to address the law of diminishing returns. How else can he explain the constant underachievement of his teams, despite the huge amount of money that has been expended on equipping Sarries with a whole army of players with international experience?

One of these days the Saracens' owner, Nigel Wray, will begin to address the law of diminishing returns. How else can he explain the constant underachievement of his teams, despite the huge amount of money that has been expended on equipping Sarries with a whole army of players with international experience?

So rarely do they deliver, that it was no surprise when Saracens failed to make the most of a rare opportunity to turn Leicester over, despite the home side starting without 11 of their first-choice squad, against a visiting line-up, all 15 of whom had represented their country at some level, and which was missing only the injured Richard Hill and Kyran Bracken.

Saracens started well enough by exposing Leicester's weakness at loose-head prop, where Michael Holford struggled to contain the vastly more experienced Cobus Visagie. Even when they appeared to have a recognisable game plan, Saracens dropped the ball or squandered good attacking positions by not attending to the basics of sure handling, protecting possession at the breakdown and making sure-footed decisions.

While speculation on Leicester's plan to ground-share with Leicester City Football Club next season remains a warm topic in the city, the team kept up their hot streak. In spite of their difficulties at the set piece, Leicester handed Saracens a lesson in how to make the best of what you have.

A penalty by Andy Goode and a try from Tom Varndell against two penalties from Robbie Kydd, put Leicester in front 8-6 at the break. In the second half it was all Leicester, in spite of Glen Jackson's penalty. Two more Goode penalties and a try for the returning Ollie Smith, converted by Goode, took Leicester eight points clear at the top of the Premiership table. They deserve no less.

Leicester: Tries Varndell, Smith; Conversion Goode; Penalties Goode 3. Saracens: Penalties Kydd 2, Jackson.

Leicester: S Vesty; A Healey, D Hipkiss (O Smith, 45), D Gibson, T Varndell (L Lloyd, 62); A Goode, S Bemand; M Holford, R Cockerill, D Morris, M Johnson (capt), L Deacon, B Deacon (J Buckland, 84), N Back, H Tuilagi (W Johnson, 69).

Saracens: R Kydd (G Jackson, 69); R Haughton, B Johnston, K Sorrell, T Castaignède; M Bartholomeusz (T Vaikona, 81), M Williams (M Rauluni, 65); K Yates (M Lloyd, 65), M Cairns, C Visagie, S Raiwalui (K Chesney, 58), I Fullarton, T Randell, B Skirving (D Seymour, h-t), H Vyvyan (capt).

Referee: D Pearson (Northumberland).

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