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Ian Vass impressed by battling Saracens in Anglo-Welsh Cup win over Leicester

Academy coach Ian Vass praised Saracens' composure in closing out a 29-20 victory over Leicester Tigers that booked their place in the semi-finals of the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Saracens went a long way towards getting the result they needed to join the Tigers in the last four by scoring three tries in the first 25 minutes.

Their young line-up then had to hold off a fightback from a more experienced Leicester side, but they held their nerve to claim a home tie against the same opposition next month.

Vass, who was also involved in England Under-20s' coaching set-up this weekend, said: "In the first half, we attacked well. We did struggle at the breakdown at times, which sort of stunted our flow of possession.

"In the second half we just had to dig in and the people who came off the bench really added to what we were doing.

"Leicester did come back hard at us and it was getting a little bit edgy at the end, so fortunately we managed to work our way out of it.

"This group of players have had seven or eight games together now, so although we maybe didn't have the experience, we had the edge because they'd played together more often."

Scores by Richard Barrington, Nathan Earle and Nick Tompkins allowed Saracens to open up a 19-3 lead, but Leicester fought back through Luke Hamilton and George McGuigan.

However, Tom Whiteley sealed the win with a bonus point try in the final moments.

Tigers' assistant coach Geordan Murphy said: "We're really disappointed with the first half. We were playing into a strong wind but we probably didn't control the territory as well as we should.

"I think about 75 per cent of the ball was in our half and we certainly didn't hold on to anything and we didn't execute well enough.

"Saracens are a very good side, they put you under a lot of pressure. They don't do a lot of exciting things, they just get the ball in the right areas and play a direct style of rugby, so it was disappointing to gift them some scores."

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