Saracens end losing streak
MATCH REPORT: Saracens' uncharacteristic winless run is finally over after securing their first win since October with victory over Leicester Tigers in a Christmas Eve feast.
Jamie George's score and a penalty try had the visitors motoring at Welford Road, ending their run of seven defeats in all competitions with a bounty of Owen Farrell kicks in the second half.
Tigers' own penalty score and Mathew Tait's try had the home side rocking, looking to make the most of their first Christmas Eve clash on familiar soil in 90 years.
But Jonny May's red card - for two deliberate knock-ons - saw their momentum fade as Mark McCall's side moved to second in the Premiership table.
After a Farrell penalty, Saracens took charge of the game with their incessant pressure resulting in a penalty try, with May also sent to the sin-bin for his deliberate knock-on.
But the visitors were not done there as George marauded his way through the 22 with a superb attacking line to crash home for the score.
That, combined with the conversion, put Saracens 17-0 up the Tigers roared their way back - with the boisterous Welford Road crowd backing them every step of the way.
Brilliant handling skills saw Matt Toomua take possession, the ball eventually breaking its way to Mathew Tait to score, though plenty of credit went the way of Adam Thompstone for his offload.
Five points from the boot of George Ford cut the half-time deficit to seven, though Farrell responded with a penalty of his own in the early stages of the second half.
His boot was to again do damage, this time with a drop-goal, but Leicester found their feet with a plethora of scrums in quick succession, resulting in a penalty try to make this a six-point game at 23-17 heading into the final quarter.
Two more Farrell penalties, six more points, saw Saracens eke their advantage out further, with a second yellow card for May seeing him sent off as the Tigers' chances faded away.
For Leicester Tigers:
Tries:Tait, Penalty try
Cons: Ford, penalty try does not require a conversion
Tries:George, Penalty try
Cons: Farrell, penalty try does not require a conversion
Pens: Farrell 4
Yellow cards: Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 10 and 68), Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 72)
Red card: Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 68 - two yellow cards)
Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Mike Williams, 6 Valentino Mapapalangi, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Mike Fitzgerald, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Logovi'i Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Chris Baumann, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Nick Malouf.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Alex Lozowski, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 5 George Kruis, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Calum Clark, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Nick Tompkins, 23 Nathan Earle.
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Peter Allan & Paul Dix
TMO: Rowan Kitt