Leicester Tigers fly-half Andy Goode became the highest scorer in GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP history in his side’s comfortable win at Welford Road.
Goode drew level with Jonny Wilkinson’s record of 1,413 by kicking all his side’s points in a first half that ended with them trailing 13-9 despite carving out the better chances.
Goode broke the record by converting Seru Rabeni’s 48th-minute try and added the extras when Alesana Tuilagi crossed on 57 minutes to make it 26-13 and put Leicester on their way to a confidence-boosting win.
They had lost three of their previous four games in the Premiership and face Wasps in the last four of the EDF Energy Cup next Saturday.
Saracens back-rower Kris Chesney also put his name in the history books as he made his 194th Premiership appearance, taking him above Simon Shaw and Neal Hatley on the list of record appearance makers.
Led by Martin Corry, Leicester were without internationals including Geordan Murphy and Ben Kay, but welcomed back centres Rabeni and Dan Hipkiss.
Rabeni had missed the previous five games through injury and suspension, while Hipkiss missed the previous week’s shock defeat at Worcester through injury.
Saracens came to Welford Road looking to build on the previous week’s win over Sale Sharks that ended a run of three straight defeats.
They welcomed back Andy Farrell and Francisco Leonelli into the starting XV from injury.
Leicester should have gone ahead inside the opening two minutes, but were held up just short of the line after Rabeni’s break and Tuilagi spilled a pass from Harry Ellis when he had the line at his mercy,
Saracens were dealt a blow after six minutes when winger Richard Haughton had to be replaced and Goode belted Leicester into a 3-0 lead a minute later.
Glen Jackson levelled on 10 minutes and Goode’s 17th minute drop goal restored Leicester’s lead moments after Tuilagi lost the ball in the tackle 10 metres from the visitors’ line.
Corry was then penalised just a couple of metres short of the line after 28 minutes and Leicester were dealt a blow a minute later when No 8 Jordan Crane was yellow carded for an offence on the floor.
Jackson kicked the resulting penalty to tie the scores at 6-6 and Dan Scarborough ran in a try on 31 minutes. Leicester’s appeals that there had been a forward pass in the build-up were ignored by the officials and Jackson converted from near the left-hand touchline to make it 13-6.
Goode trimmed the gap on 36 minutes with a 50-metre penalty that brought him level with Wilkinson’s record.
Johne Murphy’s last gasp tackle denied Saracens winger Brent Russell a certain try after 35 minutes and Goode missed the chance to kick his way into the record books a couple of minutes before the interval.
Leicester were straight on the attack after the break and Rabeni crashed over from Ellis’ pass in the 48th minute with Goode adding the extras to put Leicester ahead at 16-13 and break Wilkinson’s record.
He added a penalty and then converted Tuilagi’s 57th-minute try to put Leicester 26-13 clear.
Saracens were back in it on 63 minutes when Brent Russell crashed over and Jackson converted.
Jackson’s 68th minute penalty reduced the gap to three at 26-23, but couldn’t get any closer and Goode put the game beyond them with a 77th minute penalty.
Tom Varndell pounced for a late try after Saracens blundered and Goode kicked the extras.