Gallagher Premiership: Leicester 10 Saracens 24
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Ben Earl scored two tries as Saracens picked up their first win of this season’s Gallagher Premiership campaign with a hard-earned victory over Leicester at Welford Road.
After last week's surprise home defeat at the hands of Northampton, normal service was resumed with Saracens collecting the four points.
Nick Tompkins scored the other try with Alex Lozowski converting both and kicking a penalty. Manu Vunipola added a conversion.
Adam Thompstone scored Leicester's try with Noel Reid kicking a penalty and conversion but for large parts of the match, Tigers were on the back foot and, but for two misses from Lozowski, their defeat would have been greater.
An error from Matt Gallagher gave Leicester an early platform. The Saracens full-back booted the ball straight into touch for the hosts to capitalise with a period of sustained pressure before being rewarded with an easy penalty from Reid.
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Leicester lost lock Will Spencer through injury before Lozowski missed a straightforward penalty attempt.
Lozowski's miss didn't prove costly as his side took the lead in the 18th minute when Tompkins scored under the posts for centre Lozowski to convert.
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The first quarter was evenly contested and Leicester should have been next to score but they opted not to kick a simple penalty in favour of an attacking line-out and it proved to be the wrong call.
Tigers suffered another injury blow when centre Kyle Eastmond limped off but they received some encouragement when resolute defence on their own goal-line kept Saracens out.
However, just before half-time, Leicester centre EW Viljoen obstructed Tompkins and Lozowski stepped up to give his side a deserved 10-3 interval lead.
Two minutes after the restart, Lozowski was off-target with another penalty attempt before Saracens took firm control of the match with another seven points.
From a ruck 40 metres out, Earl raced onto the ball, evaded two defenders and then had sufficient pace to hold off the cover defence.
Leicester immediately brought on number eight Sione Kalamafoni, back from World Cup duties with Tonga, and scrum-half Sam Harrison, who earlier in the week announced his January departure from the game after more than 170 appearances for the club.
With 20 minutes remaining, Thompstone brought Leicester back into contention by intercepting a telegraphed pass before running 75 metres to score.
Saracens introduced Duncan Taylor, who returned from Scotland's World Cup campaign, in place of Lozowski before they sealed victory when Earl seized on a loose ball to score his second try after Sean Maitland and George Worth had contested a Vunipola kick.