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Superb Saracens stun sorry Leeds

20 Feb 2011
Superb Saracens stun sorry Leeds

Saracens closed the gap on Aviva Premiership Rugby leaders Leicester with a crushing 39-0 win over bottom club Leeds.

Saracens were 14 points clear in as many minutes and never looked back, collecting the maximum five-point haul early in the second half. Full-back Alex Goode kicked two penalties and converted four of the five tries scored by Michael Tagicakibau, Brad Barritt, James Short, Richard Wigglesworth and Chris Whyles.

Saracens stunned Leeds with a try in the opening minute. Leigh Hinton saw his attempted clearance charged down, the ball rebounded into the in-goal area and centre Tagicakibau won the race to touch down on the left. Goode added the conversion.

Within six minutes, Leeds were in deep trouble as Saracens rolled a maul towards their line, Wigglesworth whipped the ball to his right and Barritt darted over the line between two defenders.

Leeds did not cross the halfway line until the 15th minute, and that attack was snuffed out by Andy Saull only for Saracens to concede a penalty for a high tackle on Scott Barrow. Adrian Jarvis hooked his kick past the near post from the left wing.

It was a harrowing half for the visitors, who spent most of it fighting a rearguard action and, when Steve Thompson went offside in front of his posts, Goode made no mistake with the penalty. The full-back was on target again in the 28th minute as Leeds panicked under pressure, and the jitters were evident in some of the basics with passes knocked on and some kicks from hand collected too easily by the home side.

Leeds did get up a head of steam on 32 minutes, forcing a penalty as Saracens tried to pull down a maul. Jarvis went for touch but Leeds then knocked-on behind their own maul and wasted their first genuine scoring position. It summed up Leeds’ first half when an attempted miss-pass to his left wing by Jarvis was intercepted by James Short on halfway and the wing proved too quick for the chasing pack and scored with a dive by the posts, Goode converted.

Saracens had collected the bonus point just six minutes into the second half as Wigglesworth finished off a prolonged series of phases by picking the ball from the back of a ruck, shaping to pass right only to spin between two defenders and score his team’s fourth try from five yards.

Leeds earned a penalty in front of the posts on 64 minutes but instead of getting some points on the board they tapped, ran and were knocked back so emphatically that referee Chris White awarded a penalty to Saracens.

This was not a game Leeds’ England squad members Thompson and Hendre Fourie will want to remember. Wyles, on the other hand, will remember it for years to come. The Saracens left wing took a pass from Neil de Kock in midfield, set off for the line and left six opponents trailing as he danced his way to a superb solo try, converted by Goode.

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