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Saracens player ratings vs Leicester | Gallagher Premiership final

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Saracens player ratings live from Twickenham: All week the vibe had been that Mark McCall’s Saracens were on the verge of Gallagher Premiership title glory, but Leicester had other ideas on a seismic afternoon at English rugby HQ that culminated in a welter of excitement.


Instead of the gripping contest enjoying an extra-time sequel after Owen Farrell had tied up the scores with four minutes remaining, Freddie Burns landed the final’s deciding drop goal to secure the Tigers their 15-12 win and leave the London club – last year’s Championship champions following their automatic demotion for salary cap breaches – out for the count. Here are the Saracens player ratings:

15. Alex Goode – 5.5
Appearing in his 235th Premiership match, a one-club tally only bettered by two people across the league, he had an iffy performance that began with an early sitdown from Matias Moroni. It continued with the concession of a scrum-five and he then couldn’t get low enough to prevent Jasper Wiese from scoring. It didn’t improve massively in the second half either, Wayne Barnes admonishing him at one stage for trying to restart play from the incorrect mark.

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14. Max Malins – 5.5
The top try-scorer this Premiership season with 16 from 14 appearances, his silky running wasn’t all that evident with Leicester aware of the danger. Two second-half moments summed up his frustrating day – having possession stolen on the floor after a carry and then losing his footing and failing to prevent Leicester from pulling off a 50:22.

13. Elliot Daly – 6
Spoke during the week about the savoury partnership forged in recent months with his inside buddy, Nick Tompkins, and the pair began well until they couldn’t help their defence sufficiently absorb the loss of the yellow-carded Aled Davies. Spent the second half on the wing following the injury exit of Sean Maitland. Made one excellent catch ahead of Chris Ashton under a Burns cross-kick.


12. Nick Tompkins – 6.5
Earned Farrell his first points off the tee when tackled late and he went on to have a fine opening period in which his running caused Leicester trouble. Was defensively strong in the second period before heading off on 71 minutes.


11. Sean Maitland – 5
Didn’t feature much during the one half he played in. The one moment where his presence was noticeable was the edge that Freddie Steward created in the lead-up to the opening Leicester try. Gone injured at the interval.

10. Owen Farrell – 7
Doggedly dug his team out of a hole with the accuracy of his place kicking and his determination to find a way back, but he couldn’t provide the winning impetus, Burns stealing his thunder.

9. Aled Davies – 6
This classy purchase by McCall couldn’t make amends for his needless yellow card sustained when clattering into the head of Julian Montoya on 26 minutes when Saracens scrambled following a lost lineout. The two tries Leicester scored were leaked during his absence.

1. Mako Vunipola – 7.5
Had the crowd oohing with an early crunching tackle on Guy Porter but he encountered a balance issue soon after at a scrum that cost a free. Went on to enjoy an immense match, though, particularly when blasting forward off one Farrell offload with Saracens 6-12 down. Gave everything during his 67 minutes.


2. Jamie George – 7
Came across in his recent media duties sounding like a competitor back at the peak of his powers. He wasn’t quite fully at that level here but was one of the key figures who made sure Saracens kept it a one-score margin before they forced their way to parity.

3. Vincent Koch – 7.5
His final match for Saracens after six seasons at the club was ultimately a collective disappointment but there was much pride in what he contributed. At the heart of the scrum penalty win on his own five-metre with Leicester looking to add to their six-point second-half lead.

4. Maro Itoje – 7.5
Didn’t do anything particularly devastating that had him standing out but his tenacity in the trenches in preventing Leicester from coasting was one of the prime reasons we had a thrilling last-quarter conclusion.


5. Nick Isiekwe – 6.5
Magnificent off the bench last week when dethroning Harlequins, he was promoted to start but his accuracy wasn’t where it was seven days ago. A missed lineout catch just after George Ford had exited highlighted how it was a much tougher afternoon for him. His fumble then ended the first half on a sobering note.

6. Theo McFarland – 6.5
The find of the Saracens season, someone who only made his first Premiership start in January but who since went on to make the spot his own. He was energetic in what he did but the attacking incision he enjoyed in recent months wasn’t fully reprised here and he departed on 60 minutes.

7. Ben Earl – 7
Breezed into the decider as the Saracens player with the most game time this season (1,680 minutes), but last weekend’s hat-trick hero struggled to influence proceedings with the ball on this occasion. Still, he got his tackles in often and was a vital defensive cog when the pressure was on.

8. Billy Vunipola – 8
His 23rd Premiership start of the campaign, a club workload the out-of-favour England No8 had never before experienced, he was immense in the carry with his numbers delightfully high. Would have been annoyed with the first-half penalty where he illegally played the scrum-half and there was an argument that Saracens throughout were much too dependent on him to gain metres. Scrambled excellently in defence when needed and finished by earning the penalty that saw Farrell tie the scores.

23. Alex Lozowski (for Maitland, half-time); 20. Andy Christie (for McFarland, 60); 17. Eroni Mawi (for M Vunipola), 21. Ivan van Zyl (for Davies, both 67); 22. Duncan Taylor (for Tompkins, 71); 19. Jackson Wray (for B Vunipola, 76).
Lozowski had his frustrations but the bench highlight was the fabulous attack featuring Mawi, Christie and Taylor that got Saracens motoring and chasing down Leicester’s lead.


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