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Saracens score four second-half tries to come from behind and beat Leicester Tigers
9:04am Sunday 24th February 2013 in Sport
Mark McCall paid tribute to his players after Saracens produced a stunning second-half comeback to claim a bonus-point 32-27 victory at Leicester Tigers.
The Men in Black went into the break 17-6 down but turned the game around in highly impressive fashion thanks to two tries from David Strettle, while James Short and Chris Wyles also crossed the whitewash.
“The dressing room was pretty calm at half time and the players were all committed to producing a better second half performance. And they did,” the director of rugby told Saracens’ official website.
“In the first half we were pretty much average in everything, and we lost a lot of collisions. We really didn’t turn up, and we were very much second best in everything.
“Leicester did a good job on us in the first half and we couldn’t get any momentum in our play when we had the ball. In the second half though we got some momentum going and we got a lot quicker ball and we scored some very good tries.
“We played some half decent rugby last week at Allianz Park, and today we were up against a very good team in Leicester. To be 17-3 down before half-time gave us a mountain to climb, especially at Welford Road, and I thought we did incredibly well to turn things around in the second half.”
After Charlie Hodgson and George Ford had exchanged penalties, Julian Salvi and Dan Bowden scored first half-tries to put the hosts firmly in the ascendency, with both converted.
Sarries were facing a 14-point deficit going into the interval but Hodgson reduced the arrears at the interval But the comeback really began ten minutes into the second half when Strettle broke through the Leicester ranks to score and Hodgson converted. Minutes later, the visitors were a point to the good after Short had scored following more patient build-up play.
The Men in Black sought to turn the screw as the game entered the final 15 minutes and they did just that when the ball was worked wide for Strettle to score his second try of the evening.
A Ford penalty gave Leicester hope but it was to prove short-lived as Wyles notched the bonus-point score, with Hodgson converting.
The Tigers at least gave themselves the consolation of a losing bonus point when they awarded a penalty try after Strettle was adjudged to have deliberately knocked on as four opponents waited for a pass outside him. But it wasn’t enough to prevent Sarries claiming the win as they moved to within a point of leaders Harlequins.