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Saracens send Leicester packing

17 Apr 2005
Saracens send Leicester packing

Leicester's problem were exaubrated by the sending-off of No.8 Martin Corry for elbowing Lions team-mate Richard Hill in the face in the 27th minute of an explosive clash.

Indeed, Leicester skipper Martin Johnson and opposing flanker Ben Russell were also sent to the sin-bin for fighting in a game punctuated by off-the-ball incidents.

Corry faces a ban of at least three weeks, which would rule him out of next Sunday's Heineken Cup semi-final against Toulouse and the crucial last round ZP match against – you've guessed it – Wasps on April 30.

Any more than the Rugby Football Union's "entry point" recommendation for the offence throws his participation in the Premiership and European Cup finals into doubt.

All the bad blood distracted attention from Saracens' first win in 10 attempts against the Tigers.

Thomas Castaignède was the Saracens' hero, supplying all the points with a try, conversion and four penalties.

Hooker George Chuter responded with the Leicester try, while Andy Goode kicked four penalties but narrowly missed with a crucial drop-goal effort midway through the second half.

Saracens had handed Hill his first start since October after the England flanker completed his recovery from knee reconstruction.

But even though their chances of finishing in the top three had all but disappeared, they steamed into a physical contest that saw Louis Deacon leave the field 10 minutes into the game after an exchange of blows with lock Kris Chesney.

By then Saracens were three points to the good after Castaignede's opening penalty and the Frenchman added the opening try midway through the half.

The score was created by former rugby league star Tevita Vaikona's off-load in midfield with Dan Harris' assist allowing Castaignede to cut inside Sam Vesty, go under the posts and convert.

Leicester hit back straight away, when Goode found Chuter wide on the left and the hooker dummied past some static defenders on a 25metre gallop to the corner.

The Tigers were on the attack again until Corry's blow on Hill led to both Lions leaving the field – Hill to the blood-bin for 10 minutes and Corry permanently after being shown the red card by White.

Despite being reduced to 14 men, Leicester continued to press and turned their domination into points thanks to Goode's accuracy in front of goal.

The fly-half calmly added penalties in the 31st, 38th and 40th minutes to nudge the Tigers into a 14-10 interval lead.

Although Castaignede responded with a penalty immediately after the break, Goode continued to keep Saracens on the back foot with his kicking out of hand.

He had a drop-goal effort ruled out after referee White consulted the video replay but made no mistake with a 63rd minute penalty from the halfway line.

But the tide turned when Castaignede replied to leave his side trailing by a single point going into the last 15 minutes and the game boiled over again.

Replacement flanker Russell hauled Johnson out of a maul and they traded blows before White sent both to the sin-bin, leaving Leicester with 13 men and Saracens with 14 going into the last 10 minutes.

A fourth Castaignede penalty put his side 19-17 up five minutes from time and, although he missed with a last-minute shot at goal, Leicester had run out of steam until Johnson returned to direct a furious assault in the dying seconds.

The scorers:

For Saracens:Try: CastaignèdeCon: CastaignèdePens: Castaignède 4

For Leicester Tigers: Try: ChuterPens: Goode 4

For more news, try out Saracens v Leicester Tigers

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