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Saracens down Leicester to set up semi-final re-match between the pair

Saracens joined Leicester in the semi-finals of the Anglo-Welsh Cup after defeating the Tigers 29-20 in a tightly-fought encounter at Allianz Park.

The 2015 winners raced into a 19-3 inside half an hour, but they had to withstand a strong fightback from the Tigers, who were looking for a home tie in the last four.

Instead, that honour goes to Saracens and these two sides will meet again at the same venue for a place in the final in just over a month's time.

Saracens created the first try-scoring opportunity after 10 minutes when Matt Gallagher passed to Nathan Earle on the left, only for the winger to be held up as he went over.

But the hosts' bright start was rewarded when prop Richard Barrington was judged by the TMO to have grounded the ball on the line under the posts, with Tom Whiteley making the easy conversion.

The lead was extended to 12-0 after 16 minutes, as Gallagher sent a superbly-weighted kick towards the corner down the left that Earle was able to chase down and score off.

Freddie Burns put Leicester, who had barely had a sniff until that point, on the board with a penalty, but the Tigers soon gifted the hosts a third try.

Burns had the ball ripped off him by man of the match Nick Tompkins, who had a free run-in down the left, with Whiteley adding the extras.

Just when it was beginning to looked as though the game was over for Leicester, the Tigers gave themselves a foothold with six minutes of the first half left when Luke Hamilton managed to plunge over from close range, with Burns converting.

Whiteley then missed his second penalty just before the break and Burns was unsuccessful with a kick of his own just after the restart as it remained 19-10.

But the gap was reduced to two points when Sam Harrison's pass sent hooker George McGuigan through a big gap to score, which Burns did well to convert from out wide.

Whiteley eased Saracens' nerves by knocking over a simple penalty, but Leicester were still very much in the contest, with a good tackle by Samu Vunisa stopping Charlie Thacker in his tracks.

Advantage was being played, however, and Burns was given a straightforward penalty to reduce the deficit to two points once more.

But the Tigers' cause was not helped by Tom Croft's sin-binning with four minutes left and Saracens sealed their bonus-point victory through Whiteley's individual score off the final play.


From Belfast Telegraph