England injuries overshadow Saracens' win

2016-05-21 17:09
Owen Farrell (File)

London - England suffered a double injury fright ahead of their tour of Australia after both Manu Tuilagi and Owen Farrell went off early as Saracens advanced into the Premiership final on Saturday.

Leicester centre Tuilagi, returning from a knee injury and playing on an artificial pitch for the first time, lasted just 20 minutes before going off with a damaged right leg while trying to tackle United States wing Chris Wyles in a Premiership semi-final match European champions Saracens won 44-17 at their Allianz Park ground in north London.

Meanwhile Farrell, England's Six Nations grand slam-winning goalkicker, departed the scene after bearing the brunt of two heavy tackles.

By that stage Farrell had kicked 11 points in a match where Saracens, last season's Premiership champions, ran in five tries.

Eddie Jones is due to name his squad for next month's three-Test series against the Wallabies on Sunday and the Australian, the first overseas coach of England, now face an anxious wait to discover if inside backs Farrell and Tuilagi will be available for the trip.

Saracens' bid to complete a European and domestic double continued in convincing fashion as they surged into a 31-0 half-time lead thanks to two tries apiece by Wyles and fellow wing Chris Ashton.

Leicester then scored 17 points at the start of the second half.

But the one-time kings of English rugby had left themselves with too much to do.

Saracens, who last week beat Paris-based Racing 92 in the European Champions Cup final -- the first time they'd won the continent's premier club rugby union tournament -- will face the winners of Saturday's second semi-final between Exeter and Wasps in the Premiership final at Twickenham on May 28.

Quick thinking from former Springbok hooker Schalk Brits and England lock George Kruis saw Saracens opening the scoring with a try from Will Fraser.

Wyles then seized on a loose kick from Leicester flyhalf Owen Williams to run in for a try under the posts.

Tuilagi then went off and Leicester's day got worse as they conceded a third try.

Saracens cleverly 'wheeled' a scrum, with England No 8 Billy Vunipola breaking off the back of the set-piece and drawing two defenders before quick passing from Richard Wigglesworth and Alex Goode allowed Ashton to score.

An error-strewn Leicester display was summed up when England scrumhalf Ben Youngs' careless pass was intercepted by Wyles for the American's second try.

The match was all but over as a contest at the break but early in the second half Leicester's Telusa Veainu crossed for a try before forward drives sent in the Tigers' Dom Barrow.

But two penalties from former England flyhalf Charlie Hodgson, on for Farrell, and Ashton's second try saw Saracens stop the fightback.

Defeat meant Leicester suffered their second semi-final loss of the season following their European reverse against Racing.

Read more on:    saracens  |  owen farrell  |  rugby

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