Monday, May 30, 2011

Aviva Premiership Final - Saracens crowned English Champions


Playing in their seventh consecutive English Premierhsip Final and looking to lift the title for the third year running, the Leicester Tigers went into the 2010-2011 Aviva Premiership Final looking like lifting the trophy for the third year in a row. Their opponents had a great English season but a poor showing in the Heineken Cup and as such were the clear under-dogs. Saracens, however was out for revenge after going down 33-27 in an epic final last season. This seasons final was not as muxch of a spectacule but will go down as history making as it was the first time that Saracens have been English champions. Leicester still remain easily the most successful team in the history of Premiership Rugby having won the title on nine occassions with Bath and London Wasps next in line with six championships each.

Saracens were the better side in defeating the Tigers by 22-18 and had to withstand a late period of attack from Leicester on their tryline. It was a game with only one try with Saracens right winger James Short crossing in the 29th minute of the first half after flyhalves Owen Farrell and Toby Flood has slotted two penalties each in the first 20 minutes. Short´s try put the London based side ahead 13-6 and was followed by a penalty to each side which gave Saracens a seven point lead at half time. Farrell extended the lead two minutes into the second half before Flood hit back with two penalties to make it 19-15 with ten minutes to play. They exchanged penalties making it 22-18 with three minutes left on the clock which saw Saracens home.

Farrell´s six penalties out of six attempts was the difference. The son of English international centre from France 2007 was joined by Argentine born Italian international tighthead prop, Carlos Nieto in the starting XV as well as USA international Chris Wyles at centre. Saracens also had international players from England, Namibia, Scotland and South Africa. Leicester had test players from Argentina, England, New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga to highlight the increasingly global game of rugby. With players from such a varity of countries competing in the English Premiership Final there is plenty of reason for Rugby World Cup 2023 to go to a new location with Argentina being the clear choice. Leicester had Argentine international loosehead prop, Marcos Ayerza in the starting lineup. Ayerza packed down alongside Argentine born Italian international tighthead prop, Martín Castrogiovanni. Pumas winger, Horacio Agulla started in the 14 shirt as he ends a successful first season at Leicester.

Leicester Tigers

15 Scott Hamilton (New Zealand)
14 Horacio Agulla (Argentina)
13 Matt Smith
12 Anthony Allen
11 Alesana Tuilagi (Samoa)
10 Toby Flood
9 Ben Youngs
8 Jordan Crane
7 Craig Newby (New Zealand)
6 Tom Croft
5 George Skivington
4 Steve Mafi (Tonga)
3 Martin Castrogiovanni (Italy)
2 George Chuter
1 Marcos Ayerza (Argentina)

Saracens

15 Alex Goode
14 David Strettle
13 Chris Wyles (USA)
12 Brad Barritt
11 James Short
10 Owen Farrell
9 Neil de Kock (South Africa)
8 Ernst Joubert (South Africa)
7 Jacques Burger (Namibia)
6 Kelly Brown (Scotland)
5 Mouritz Botha (South Africa)
4 Steve Borthwick
3 Carlos Nieto (Italy)
2 Schalk Brits (South Africa)
1 Matt Stevens

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