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The Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2011

The Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2011

Saracens had waited 135 years for their first English title but as the clock ticked into the red at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2011, they knew they would have to wait a little longer.

Leicester Tigers were trailing 22-18 in search of their third straight championship as they kicked a penalty to the corner inside the last minute at Twickenham and secured the lineout.
 
After a resolute Saracens defence repelled 32 phases, Tigers took a quick tap-and-go penalty into contact only to infringe at the ensuing ruck and allow Mark McCall’s side to claim a historic triumph.
 
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It was a fitting finale to a hard-fought encounter as Saracens gained revenge for the 2010 showpiece when Dan Hipkiss’ late try had secured Leicester a dramatic ninth Premiership Rugby title.
 
Flanker Jacques Burger admitted that the heartbreak of the previous year had inspired his side to give Tigers no quarter in the thrilling final stages.
 
“I can’t lie – the 2010 final did go through my head, it would have been heartbreaking if there was a repeat of last year,” he said.
 
“You learn from your mistakes and last year we learned you can't give a good team like Leicester one minute.”
 
For Saracens chairman Nigel Wray, the victory was an emotional culmination of 15 years of patient yet often painstaking work in support of the club he bought as the sport turned professional.
 
“If I'd known how much it would cost, not just in terms of money but emotionally, of course I wouldn't have done it,” said Wray. “I'd have rolled up as a fan and let someone else do it.
 
“Yet, having done it, you don't regret a damn thing. We're only down on earth once. I'm a lucky bugger to have been able to do it.”
 
Saracens led 16-9 at half-time through James Short’s converted try and three penalties from a then 19-year-old Owen Farrell, while Leicester responded through three penalties of their own from the boot of fly-half Toby Flood.
 
Farrell made it four from four after the break to increase his side’s lead but Flood added two more either side of his opposite number’s fifth to make it 19-15.
 
The future England teammates then exchanged penalties to set up the tense finale as Farrell showed remarkable maturity in a flawless display off the tee.
 
Although Saracens held firm, Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill vowed to reclaim their crown, which they eventually did with their tenth Premiership Rugby title two years later in 2013.
 
“It is disappointing but it is not a failure.” he said. "We have lots of young players and guys coming through, we have had bad injuries but still done really well.”

 
Saracens 22 Leicester Tigers 18

Leicester Tigers: Hamilton (Twelvetrees 75); Agulla, Smith, Allen, A Tuilagi; Flood, Youngs; Ayerza (Stankovich 78), Chuter (Hawkins 68), Castrogiovanni (Cole 53), Mafi (Slater 71), Skivington, Croft, Newby, Crane (Waldrom 49) Replacements not used: Grindal, Staunton
 
Saracens: Goode; Strettle, Wyles, Barritt, Short; Farrell, De Kock(Wigglesworth 50); Stevens (Gill 52), Brits, Nieto (Du Plessis 60), Borthwick, Botha (Vyvyan 55), Brown, Burger, Joubert

Replacements not used: George, Saull, Mordt, Cato
 
Leicester Tigers

Penalties: Flood 6

Saracens
Try: Short
Conversion: Farrell
Penalties: Farrell 5
 
Referee: Wayne Barnes

Attendance: 80,016

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