Elliot Daly and Ben Earl inspire Saracens to emphatic win over Leicester Tigers

Elliot Daly and Ben Earl inspire Saracens to emphatic win over Leicester Tigers - GETTY IMAGES
Elliot Daly and Ben Earl inspire Saracens to emphatic win over Leicester Tigers - GETTY IMAGES
  • Saracens score seven tries over the defending champions

  • The hosts secure revenge for last season's Premiership final

  • Daly, Earl and Malins all remind Eddie Jones of their talents

If revenge is best served cold, it must taste delicious with a victory as comprehensive as this. Nothing meaningful can be won on the first day of October, but Saracens delivered a seven-try statement that left Leicester Tigers, the reigning champions, reeling.

Elliot Daly, Ben Earl and Max Malins all reminded Eddie Jones of their talents, with Theo McFarland also brilliant. Each of the three meetings between these teams last season, including a Premiership final headlined by Freddie Burns’s drop-goal finale, were decided by a single score. This episode was far more one-sided because Saracens looked refreshed and fiercely motivated.

Jamie George being withdrawn at half-time and leaving in a protective boot was their only real worry. Applying salt to Leicester wounds was another setback for Handre Pollard, who made his first club appearance as a half-time replacement, but did not complete the game due to injury. Steve Borthwick said South Africa’s World Cup-winning fly-half would be assessed before lamenting “rust” and a lack of cohesion among a much-changed squad, praising Saracens as “standard-bearers”.

“They’re a team packed full of power and pace,” said the Leicester head coach. “There is a lot less power in the game right now because, ultimately, it’s very expensive and power players tend to be elsewhere.”

The ever-meticulous Mark McCall rued a penalty count that could have been more costly on another day. He did salute the attitude of his Saracens side and suggested Daly could force his way into England’s World Cup reckoning.

McFarland (C) - Elliot Daly and Ben Earl inspire Saracens to emphatic win over Leicester Tigers - GETTY IMAGES
McFarland (C) - Elliot Daly and Ben Earl inspire Saracens to emphatic win over Leicester Tigers - GETTY IMAGES

Anthony Watson, on his competitive Tigers debut, hared after Freddie Burns’s kick-off and leapt to force a fumble, foreshadowing around six minutes of Leicester pressure. Though they resisted, despite some burly carrying from Olly Cracknell, Saracens eventually conceded a breakdown penalty that Burns converted. That advantage was doubled in the 10th minute.

Mako Vunipola’s scrummaging angle was deemed to be illegal and Burns punished him. Daly swept Saracens on to the front foot and allowed Owen Farrell to pull back three points before the hosts landed a beautiful team try that encapsulated their willingness to play from deep – even with slow ball.

To the surprise of most at StoneX Stadium, Malins tapped a free-kick inside his own 22. Saracens spread the ball wide, with Alex Lewington outstripping Watson. Ivan van Zyl supported and sent Alex Lozowski clear. Malins appeared to have sparked a second with a chip, but Earl’s finish was ruled out for a push on Tommy Reffell and Tigers replied. Burns dinked over the top and a ricochet fell to James Cronin, who trucked over.

Although he was omitted from the latest England training squad, Daly has started the season brightly. It was he who created Saracens’ next try, carving off the shoulder of Farrell to feed Earl, another to be overlooked by Jones for now. Earl then sliced the Tigers midfield from a line-out on the half-hour mark, only to throw an errant pass. It did not matter. Farrell released George and the lively Malins was on hand to snaffle an offload. Leicester muscled a number of penalties out of Saracens, who needed to defend robustly.

When they escaped, Earl’s work on the floor set up another one more chance before half-time. True to form, Saracens seized it. Mako Vunipola’s offload put Hugh Tizard into space before Daly cut back against the grain and went close. Van Zyl sniped for the bonus point. Subdued in last season’s final, Saracens had been slick and were not flattered by a 27-13 lead.

Pollard (L) -  Elliot Daly and Ben Earl inspire Saracens to emphatic win over Leicester Tigers - GETTY IMAGES
Pollard (L) - Elliot Daly and Ben Earl inspire Saracens to emphatic win over Leicester Tigers - GETTY IMAGES

Borthwick’s response was emphatic. He made three replacements at the break, introducing Ollie Chessum, George Martin and Pollard. Leicester underwent a backline reshuffle and began to impart width. Saracens’ defence stayed on top initially but cracked with half an hour to go.

Ben Youngs tapped a penalty and Phil Cokanasiga looped a pass to Freddie Steward, who finished sharply. Clearly sensing a momentum shift, that was the cue for Borthwick to unleash three more replacements in Dan Cole, Jack van Poortvliet and Chris Ashton. Steward, now on the left wing, had another surge and Chessum’s industry led to a close-range line-out.

Tigers could not capitalise, conceding a penalty for obstruction as they attempted a shift-drive. This would prove pivotal, because Saracens had a similar chance within moments and were clinical. Malins ghosted off his wing into midfield and Alex Goode, having only recently arrived from the bench, transferred to Daly. Van Poortvliet and Steward were beaten and Saracens had five. A staggering one-handed line-out take from McFarland, who has his own chant these days, brought about a penalty that Farrell kicked for 37-18 and the athletic Samoan took Saracens past 40 with a shunt.

Twelve minutes still remained and, compounding Leicester’s misery, Pollard trudged off. Sean Maitland’s interception completed the rout and, fittingly, Daly’s touchline conversion, kissing the upright before dropping over, made it a half-century. Message received, loud and clear. Saracens are determined to go one better.

Match details

Scoring sequence: 0-3 Burns penalty, 0 Burns penalty, 3-6 Farrell penalty, 8-6 Lozowski try, 10-6 Farrell try, 10-11 Cronin try, 10-13 Burns conversion, 15-13 Earl try, 20-13 Malins try, 22-13 Farrell conversion, 27-13 Van Zyl try, 27-18 Steward try, 32-18 Daly try, 34-18 Farrell conversion, 37-18 Farrell penalty, 42-18 McFarland try, 44-18 Farrell conversion, 49-18 Maitland try, 51-18 Daly conversion

Saracens: E Daly; M Malins, A Lozowski, N Tompkins, A Lewington (A Goode, 55); O Farrell (S Maitland, 68), I van Zyl (R de Haas, 68); M Vunipola (E Mawi, 55), J George (K Pifeleti, half-time), C Judge (M Riccioni, 52), C Hunter-Hill (J Wray, 55), H Tizard, T McFarland, B Earl, B Vunipola (A Christie, 68)

Leicester Tigers: F Steward; A Watson (C Ashton, 52), P Cokanasiga, J Gopperth, K Murimurivalu (H Pollard, half-time, J Taufete’e 68), F Burns, B Youngs (J van Poortvliet, 52); J Cronin (F van Wyk, 64), C Clare, J Heyes (D Cole, 52), H Wells, E Snyman (O Chessum, half-time), O Cracknell, T Reffell, H Liebenberg (G Martin, half-time)

Attendance: 9,428

Saracens 51 Leicester Tigers 18: As it happened

05:00 PM

FT: Saracens 51 Leicester Tigers 18

Phenomenal performance from the hosts!

England discards Elliot Daly and Ben Earl inspired Saracens to a 51-18 rout of Leicester to avenge last season's Gallagher Premiership final defeat.

Daly and Earl were at the heart of their side's demolition job at StoneX Stadium, both crossing five days after being omitted from Eddie Jones' first training squad of the autumn.

Leicester were in full flow as they renewed the attack in the second half but their accuracy deserted them at key moments

Saracens were unstoppable today- a complete performance!

04:50 PM

79 min: Saracens 51 Leicester Tigers 18

Elliot Daly adds the conversion to make it 51-18 with the last action of the afternoon at the StoneX Stadium!

04:48 PM

77 min: Saracens 49 Leicester Tigers 18

TRRRYYYYYYYYY

Not a bad way to make your comeback as Sean Maitland intercepts to score- after checking the ground!

04:46 PM

74 min: Saracens 44 Leicester Tigers 18

What a tackle from Hugh Tizard, as the ball goes forward

You definitely heard that one....

04:43 PM

73 min: Saracens 44 Leicester Tigers 18

McFarland gathers up the ball and breaks all the way to the 22m. He's covered in Leicester Tigers players, but manages to get the ball across to Daly, as Saracens gain territory.

04:39 PM

70 min: Saracens 44 Leicester Tigers 18

Ruben De Haas should of made it Saracens' seventh try!

But he just gets dragged down just short of the line!

04:36 PM

66 min: Saracens 44 Leicester Tigers 18

TRRRRRYYYYYYYY

And it's the hosts sixth try at the StoneX.

McFarland is all over the pitch and finishes an excellent drive from a metre out to score!

He has deserving of that try- you have to applaud his work rate his game!

Farrell adds the two.

04:33 PM

64 min: Saracens 37 Leicester Tigers 18

Utter madness from Theo McFarland at the lineout and Owen Farrell goes for the posts!

From that range, he never misses!

04:30 PM

61 min: Saracens 34 Leicester Tigers 18

Marco Ricconi wins a penalty scrum and gets completely mobbed by the Leicester Tiger defenders.

The crowd at the StoneX love to see that!

04:26 PM

58 min: Saracens 34 Leicester Tigers 18

TRRRRYYYYYYYY

Saracens are on it today!

From a set piece on the right and playing with advantage, Elliot Daly beats a couple of Leicester Tiger defenders and scores on the left with 10 metres left and he still had so much to do!

What a take but more importantly what a ridiculous finish!

Farrell converts and Saracens lead 34-18.

04:21 PM

52 min: Saracens 27 Leicester Tigers 18

What a lineout steal from Theo McFarland, who goes for another Saracens counter.

04:16 PM

50 min: Saracens 27 Leicester Tigers 18

TRRRYYYYYYYY

Leicester Tigers are striking back!

It was great build up play by the visitors and it's Freddie Steward who put on the ball on the left wing and beats the last two defenders to score.

Conversion of the Steward try is missed by Burns, so we remain at 27-18.

04:13 PM

46 min: Saracens 27 Leicester Tigers 13

Penalty to Leicester on the half way and they kick to the corner.

But the hosts hold the visitors up over the line and clear effectively.

04:08 PM

44 min: Saracens 27 Leicester Tigers 13

It's been a great start to the second half from Saracens, as momentum is with the hosts.

Tompkins floats a sublime pass out wide but unfortunately it just goes forward.

04:05 PM

42 min: Saracens 27 Leicester Tigers 13

Anthony Watson goes off on a jinking run but Saracens get the penalty and Elliott Daly will kick for the posts but he is miles out..

04:01 PM

40 min: Saracens 27 Leicester Tigers 13

Things are back underway at the StoneX Stadium.

The scoreline commanded a change from Steve Borthwick and he has done just that!

News from the bench Handre Pollard makes his Leicester Tigers debut.

03:59 PM

The first half in pictures...

Saracens v Leicester Tigers live: Score and latest updates from Premiership Rugby - GETTY IMAGES
Saracens v Leicester Tigers live: Score and latest updates from Premiership Rugby - GETTY IMAGES
Saracens v Leicester Tigers live: Score and latest updates from Premiership Rugby - GETTY IMAGES
Saracens v Leicester Tigers live: Score and latest updates from Premiership Rugby - GETTY IMAGES
Saracens v Leicester Tigers live: Score and latest updates from Premiership Rugby - GETTY IMAGES
Saracens v Leicester Tigers live: Score and latest updates from Premiership Rugby - GETTY IMAGES

03:53 PM

HT: Saracens 27 Leicester Tigers 13

Van-Zyl's try in the final minutes of the first half has given Steve Borthwick a lot to think about half-time.

You feel, Leicester Tigers need to either change their game plan or go to the bench.

Two teams playing two very different styles of rugby- so what will Borthwick do?

Only a few minutes to go until we restart at StoneX.

03:50 PM

40 min: Saracens 27 Leicester Tigers 13

TRRRRRRYYYYYYYYY

Scrum-half Van Zyl reaches out to score the hosts fourth try and secure the bonus point!

He snipes close range and over he goes!

Owen Farrell's conversion is back off the post.

03:48 PM

39 min: Saracens 22 Leicester Tigers 13

Is Eddie Jones watching this?

Two players that have been snubbed by Jones in his latest England squad announcement.

Ben Earl is having a flyer at the Stone; a real textbook turnover

And Elliot Daly kicks the hosts into the Leicester Tigers half.

03:41 PM

35 min: Saracens 22 Leicester Tigers 13

What a defence from Alex Lozowski; that man has be as hard as nails!

And the hosts have a put in!

Saracens are blowing Leicester Tigers completely out of the water right now!

03:38 PM

30 min: Saracens 22 Leicester Tigers 13

Farrell has been a busy man this half and converts the try for 22-13 lead on 30 minutes played!

03:36 PM

29 min: Saracens 20 Leicester Tigers 13

TRRYYYYYYYY

Jamie George spots a brilliant gap and sets up Max Malins to score for the home side, and they take the lead 20-13.

Yet again, for all Leicester's early possession it's Saracens who have capitalised on their opportunities.

03:35 PM

25 min: Saracens 15 Leicester Tigers 13

Penalty and it's brilliant work from Elliot Daly has he hammers Saracens up to half way!

He has started this game so well for the hosts!

03:30 PM

23 min: Saracens 15 Leicester Tigers 13

Farrell is off the target with the conversion.

And the home side take the lead once more at the StoneX

03:29 PM

22 min: Saracens 15 Leicester Tigers 13

What response from the home side as Elliot Daly breaks clear and Ben Earl scores in the right-hand scorer.

The visitors are giving Saracens way too much space down that side

And its 15-13 with 22 minutes played.

03:26 PM

20 min: Saracens 10 Leicester Tigers 13

TRYYYYYYYYY

It's a try for James Cronin following an excellent chip from Burns, the ball bounces up and prop is in to score and give the visitors the lead once more!

Burns converts the try and give Leicester Tigers a 13-10 lead on 20 minutes played

What a start here at the StoneX!

03:25 PM

18 min: Saracens 10 Leicester Tigers 6

No try for the hosts after a check with TMO as the referee spots the shove in the back on Tommy Reffell as he chases a chip forward and no score added.

So 10-6 still to the hosts!

03:23 PM

15 min: Saracens 15 Leicester Tigers 6

TRRYYYYYYYY

That was unreal from Ben Earlba and it was over for the hots

Max Malins with a beautiful chip ahead and Earlba is able to grab it and score!

Great movement and build up from Saracens.

03:17 PM

14 min: Saracens 10 Leicester Tigers 6

TRRYYYYYY

What a break from Alex Lozowski down the middle, as the hosts attack from deep and score!

Owen Farrell was brilliant from the tee last weekend and delivers by converting Lozowski score!

Saracens are off the mark and lead at the StoneX!

Just a few minutes early Saracens won a penalty with Farrell kicking the hosts opening points.

03:15 PM

6 min: Saracens 0 Leicester Tigers 6

So, it is a scrum penalty that goes against the hosts, and yet again Burn kicks again to extend Steven Borthwick's early advantage at the StoneX

03:09 PM

4 min: Saracens 0 Leicester Tigers 3

Play has been all at the hosts end from kick-off and the Tigers have a penalty, Burns kicks for a 3 point lead on 5 min.

It has been a quick start for Leicester Tigers.

03:04 PM

2 min: Saracens 0 Leicester Tigers 0

A strong start for the champions, who get the scrum underway. The referee resets before the start, then there's a opportunity to kick into touch further up the field.

03:01 PM

Kick-off: Saracens 0 Leicester Tigers 0

We're off!

The visitors will get the action started at the StoneX Stadium.

Leicester Tigers in the red shirts whilst the Saracens are in their famous red and black colours!

02:59 PM

Ben Morgan at the StoneX Stadium

Brendan Venter, widely considered to have been a pivotal figure at the start of Saracens' golden era, is here this afternoon.

He and Steve Borthwick, who captained Saracens under Venter, shared a quick moment pitch-side prior to the warm-ups.

Borthwick - Saracens v Leicester Tigers live: Score and latest updates from Premiership Rugby - GETTY IMAGES
Borthwick - Saracens v Leicester Tigers live: Score and latest updates from Premiership Rugby - GETTY IMAGES

02:54 PM

' There's nothing official about'

McCall - Saracens v Leicester Tigers live: Score and latest updates from Premiership Rugby - GETTY IMAGES
McCall - Saracens v Leicester Tigers live: Score and latest updates from Premiership Rugby - GETTY IMAGES

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall addressed speculation regarding a move for Max Malins to Bristol Bears on BT Sport.

Read Charlie Morgan's exclusive story on the full-back's potential departure here

02:23 PM

Handre Pollard relishes prospect of Premiership rugby after revealing desire to move three years ago

Pollard - Saracens v Leicester Tigers live: Score and latest updates from Premiership Rugby - SHUTTERSTOCK
Pollard - Saracens v Leicester Tigers live: Score and latest updates from Premiership Rugby - SHUTTERSTOCK

Handre Pollard had initially tried to move to the Gallagher Premiership three years ago after winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup before ending up in France with Montpellier.

The Springbok has now joined Leicester Tigers and is in line for his first appearance for the club at the StoneX Stadium this afternoon after being included among the replacements.

Read Ben Coles' piece on the South African fly-half here

02:13 PM

Team news in full

Saracens Starting XV: 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Christian Judge, 4 Callum Hunter-Hill,  5 Hugh Tizard, 6 Theo McFarland, 7 Ben Earl, 8 Billy Vunipola, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 11 Alex Lewington, 12 Nick Tompkins, 13 Alex Lozowski, 14 Max Malins, 15 Elliot Daly

Replacements: 16 Kapeli Pifeleti, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Marco Ricconi, 19 Andy Christie, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Alex Goode, 23 Sean Maitland

Leicester Tigers Starting XV: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Phil Cokanasiga, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Kini Murimurivalu, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 1 James Cronin, 2 Charlie Clare, 3 Joe Hayes, 4 Harry Wells, 5 Eli Snyman, 6 Olly Cracknell, 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (c)

Replacements: 16 Joe Taufete'e , 17 Francois van Wyk, 18, Dan Cole, 19, Ollie Chessum, 20, George Martin, 21 Jack van Poortvliet, 22, Handre Pollard, 23 Chris Ashton

01:34 PM

Good afternoon

Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's coverage of Saracens versus Leicester Tigers at the StoneX Stadium, with kick-off at 3pm.

Hosts Saracens have taken maximum points from their two games so far, beating Harlequins and Gloucester after a free week in Round one.

Leicester Tigers have also recorded two bonus point wins, beating Newcastle Falcons and Northampton Saints in the last two rounds after an opening-day defeat at Exeter Chiefs.

In the team news announced on Friday, Leicester Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick has made eight changes to the starting side from the away win over Northampton Saints.

Anthony Watson is named to make this Leicester Tigers senior and gives a first state to fellow summer arrivals Phil Cokansiga and Olly Cracknell, while Joe Hayes, Harry Wells and Eli Snyman return to the forward pack.

South African fly-half Handre Pollard is in line for his first appearance for the club after being included among the replacements.

Looking ahead to this afternoon and a first meeting of the teams since last season's Gallagher Premiership final second-rower Wells said "We obviously enjoyed the Final at the time but it is a new season now and you all have new challenges to tackle. Saracens have a star-studded team, they've been a special time for a long time."

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has made two changes to the starting line-up following victory over Gloucester last weekend, with lock Callum Hunter-Hill and centre Nick Tompkins returning. Hunter-Hill partners Hugh Tizard who received his first call up to the England squad this week.

No 8 Billy Vunipola said " This season we have a new focus on ourselves and how we can get better. We want to be a team that can adapt to anything and we want to play what is front of us, which we'll have to do against a strong Leicester Tigers side."

The hosts have lost just once at home in the Gallagher Premiership last season, by a single post against Gloucester in January, while Leicester Tigers have won just once at the venue in nine visits.

Ahead of kick-off, we'll be bringing you team news, live updates, and latest reaction after the match too.