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Premiership final as it happened


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By Pranav Soneji

1933: That's it from me - top ending for a season which began in complete contrast to how it ended. Martin Johnson's England are at Twickers tomorrow to face the Barbarians, so still more oval-ball feasting before the weekend is out. From me, it's good evening.

1929: We've got more finales right now as Ospreys are 14-3 up against Leicester in the Magners League final in Dublin.

Juggler on 606: "One thing that cheered me was that all three Leicester tries were finished by Tigers men - lads who came though the academy. Nice one Smith, Youngs and Hipkiss."

1925: The Sarries players look forlorn as they collect their runners-up medals. Meanwhile up trot the Leicester players as the pyrotechnics begin as the trophy is raised high for all Tigers supporters to see. Richard Cockerill claps from the sidelines, but that man has engineered yet another awesome display.

1920: All sorts of schoolboy japery out on the Twickers greens as Martin Castrogiovanni attempts to whip off Lewis Moody's shorts during an interview. The England flanker, who departs the Tigers a champion following a move to Bath next season, just smiles. Humiliation in front of millions is worth it to win yet another winners' medal.

1918: Absolutely wonderful game, full of running rugby and skill befitting a season-ending finale. That's Leicester's seventh title while Saracens search for their second piece of silverware continues. Meanwhile man-of-the-match Jordan Crane is doused in a huge bucket full of energy beverage while conducting a pitch-side interview. Gotta love that.


80 minutes: Sarries earn a penalty on the 40m line - probably their last chance to sniff the tryline. Glen Jackson hits a great kick five metres from the tryline for one last-gasp pick-and-drive, but Brits's throw is stolen by Geoff Parling! And that's the 80 minutes up - LEICESTER ARE PREMIERSHIP CHAMPIONS FOR THE SECOND SUCCESSIVE SEASON.

77 minutes: TRY - Leicester 33-27 Saracens
Unbelievable! Scott Hamilton gathers Toby Flood's restart and offloads to replacement Dan Hipkiss, who is taken high around his neck, only Dave Pearson plays on and the centre slips through a weak tackle to touch down what must be the game-winning try. Sensational as Toby Flood adds the extras.

76 minutes: PENALTY - Leicester 26-27 Saracens Sarries go through the phases as they pound Leicester's defence. And once again the Tigers are penalised - this time for coming in at the side of a ruck, Louis Deacon the guilty party. Glen Jackson steps up and lines up a kick on the 22m line right in front of the posts - and through it goes. Four minutes to go and Sarries have a wafer-thin one-point lead. Hold on to your hats folks...

73 minutes: Leicester penalised once again, this time for holding on in the tackle. Glen Jackson boots to the half-way line as Tuilagi receives treatment for what must be cramp. No risks from the Tigers bench as Tuilagi is hauled off for Jeremy Staunton.

71 minutes: PENALTY - Leicester 26-24 Saracens
Leicester pinged again for offside at a ruck just inside their 22m line - and up steps Glen Jackson, who bisects both posts with the most perfect kick at such a crucial juncture. Sarries are a penalty or drop-goal away from taking a one-point lead. Oooooh this is good.

67 minutes: Bad mistake by Geordan Murphy, who spills a regulation high ball outside his 22m, allowing Hugh Vyvyan to burst through into the 22m, but the promising move is brought to an abrupt halt as Rhys Gill knocks on with the tryline begging. Bad mistake.

66 minutes: Changes for Sarries as Neil de Kock and Andy Saull make way for Justins Marshall and Melck. Immediately former All Black Marshall is in the action, opting for a penalty as Geoff Parling is pinged for offside. Up steps Glen Jackson, some 45m out from the sticks, but it's well wide of the right-hand upright. Tough kick.

63 minutes: Sarries collapse under the mauling of another bulldozer-like thumping from Leicester's front-three on the 40m line, only for Toby Flood to pull yet another penalty wide of the right-hand post.

60 minutes: Leicester are bossing the scrums now as Murphy kicks a probing 30m kick down field for good field position on Saracens' 22m line.

58 minutes: PENALTY - Leicester 26-21 Saracens
Saracens pinged this time - and up steps Toby Flood to extend the Tigers lead to five points.

55 minutes:
Leicester fall foul of referee Pearson once again, this time 10m from Sarries' tryline. Bitty - and the crowd are getting right into this.

54 minutes:
On comes the shaven-headed prop Boris Stankovich for Marcos Ayerza, contributing to a hefty Leicester push. However, Leicester are fortunate to earn a penalty for a late tackle from Michael Tagicakibau on Geordan Murphy. Replays suggest there was no intent, while Leicester take the penalty about five yards in field from where the ball landed. Naughty. Boos ring around the famous stadium as Toby Flood takes a long kick from close to the half-way line, but his attempt his short and wide, justice done.

49 minutes: TRY - Leicester 23-21 Saracens
Unbelievable - less than 60 seconds after going nine points behind, Ernts Joubert touches down his second try of the afternoon following brilliant work from Andy Saull and Adam Powell on the left wing. Another superbly crafted running try created from deep. Glen Jackson steps up and thumps over a difficult kick to reduce the arrears to just two points. What a game.

47 minutes: PENALTY - Leicester 23-14 Saracens
Martin Castrogiovanni absolutely pulverises opposite number Matias Aguero on Saracens' put-in as Dave Pearson penalises the Argentine-born prop for standing up in the scrum. Up steps Toby Flood and Leicester's lead is extended to nine.

45 minutes:
Pick-and-shove from Leicester as they attempt to zap the energy from Sarries' forwards on the 40m line. But a Tigers knock-on sees Sarries earn a scrum just outside their 22m line. And off goes Steve Borthwick, who has been short of match practice because of injury and on comes Mouritz Botha.

41 minutes:
No changes from either side at half-time as Alesana Tuilagi knocks on for only the third scrum of the match.

1829: And we're off as Toby Flood kicks off the second half.

1826: Blimey, what a belter. Where did those 40 minutes go? Meanwhile, over in South Africa, the Bulls have retained their Super 14 title following a 25-17 win over the Stormers.

magicfightingspirit on 606: "Ben Youngs is very impressive so far, my MOTM first half."
Geordan Murphy touches down a long Jackson kick with Tagicakibau lurking. It's the last action of an enthralling first-half. How Brendan Venter will wish he was in that dressing room with his team.

38 minutes:
Geoff Parling heads towards the sticks, but he's isolated as Sarries converge on the ball. Referee Pearson says the Tigers second-row is holding on to the ball on the floor, allowing Sarries to clear towards the half-way line.

36 minutes:
Lovely jinking old-fashioned break by Alex Goode from full-back, following a cute offload from Schalk Brits, but Jackson's kick isn't quite so clever as Anthony Allen picks up and clears his lines.

35 minutes:
The free-flowing passing makes way for some good old-fashioned middle-of-the-field stodge as both defences stand firm.

29 minutes: TRY - Leicester 20-14 Saracens
Leicester fans are not happy with Tagicakibau's collision with Geordan Murphy following a kick. They think it's deliberate, but referee Pearson doesn't agree. However, the green, red and white flags are waving following a wonderful break from the base of a ruck from the fleet-footed Ben Youngs, who sidesteps a defender to touch down under the posts. The try was set up by yet another intricate forwards-led passing move involving Lewis Moody, Castrogiovanni and Louis Deacon. Brilliant score as Flood steps up and extends the lead to six points.

25 minutes: Penalty - Leicester 13-14 Saracens
Some big hits going on as Tagicakibau skips through two tackles into Leicester's 22m line. Schalk Brits continues the charge with a muscular surge, but once again Leicester are penalised - this time for not rolling away from the tackle. No player singled out, not that Glen Jackson cares as he thumps over penalty number three as Sarries regain their one-point lead. Tighter than a gnat's pocket this one.

20 minutes: Penalty - Leicester 13-11 Saracens
Bruising tackle from Michael Tagicakibau, but a little too high says Dave Pearson, allowing Toby Flood to step up for another three points.

18 minutes: TRY - Leicester 10-11 Saracens
Absolutely sensational score from Ernst Joubert following one of the best passing moves you will see all season. Glen Jackson throws the scissors move before a cheeky dummy sets up space for Jacques Burger, who deftly offloads to his captain to storm through and evade Geordan Murphy's last-gasp tackle. Dave Pearson goes to the TMO to check Joubert touched down in play - and he did. Jackson's difficult penalty attempt is wide, but Sarries lead by a point. Cracking start.

13 minutes: TRY - Leicester 10-6 Saracens
Bruising run from Alesana Tuilagi, allowing Ben Youngs to set up a swift passing move through the backs before centre Matt Smith turns on the burners to sprint clear down the left wing before using common sense to beat two defenders to touch down in front of the posts, allowing Flood a simple two points to convert.

11 minutes:
A snappy Ben Youngs sets up a brilliant forwards-led passing manoeuvre tight on the right touchline involving Castrogiovanni, Jordan Crane and Tom Crofts, who is brilliantly tackled by Hugh Vyvyan just as he is about to collect the ball and bundle over from close range. Try-saving tackle from the Sarries veteran.

10 minutes: Penalty - Leicester 3-6 Saracens
Solid start by Sarries as Chris Wyles goes marauding down the left flank. Referee Pearson is playing advantage for off-side - this time it's Martin Castrogiovanni in the dock - but Sarries can't do much with the ball and the penalty is awarded right in front of the sticks on the 22m line. Up steps Glen Jackson, the man who won the golden boot a couple of seasons ago, for three more points.

6 minutes:
Lewis Moody wants Glen Jackson's shirt off his back judging by the open-side's tenacity to chase down the Australian's clearance kick. However, Jackson's boot makes about 50m as Sarries stride deep into Leicester's 22m zone.

4 minutes: Penalty - Leicester 3-3 Saracens
The lead lasts about 120 seconds as referee Dave Pearson as Sarries are penalised on their 22m line. Up steps Toby Flood with a firm right-footed kick and it's all level again.

2 minutes: Penalty - Leicester 0-3 Saracens
Simple kick for Glen Jackson, who leaves Sarries after this match to become a referee to delight the huge contingent of supporters travelling from north London/Hertfordshire.

1 minute:
Top start for Sarries as Leicester fumble the kick-off, allowing the men in black and red to pack down on the Tigers's 22m line. But the defending champions are penalised for collapsing the scrum - pointing at loose-head Marcos Ayerza as the guilty party.

1732: While the shelves of Leicester's trophy cabinet have buckled under the weight of numerous weighty silverware - the former alphabet club are chasing an unprecedented ninth league title, Saracens have only one title in their locker, the Tetley's Bitter Cup won back in 1998. However, this Sarries side haven't shown too much respect when it comes to home reputations this season, as Leicester found out a few weeks back. Venter's side also ended Northampton's awesome home record and will be pumped up like an old-skool pair of 1980s Reeboks following the suspension of their director of rugby. Sarries to kick off.

1729: This match also marks the end of Lewis Moody's illustrious 14-year career at Welford Road before the man set to captain England on their tour to Australia and New Zealand this summer joins Bath next season. Also heading through the exit door are Ben Kay, Aaron Mauger and Sam Vesty, so expect huge performances on their last outings. The final also brings together The RPA's player of the year Schalk Brits of Sarries and the young player of the year Ben Youngs of Leicester.

1727: A quick reminder of the teams:
Leicester: Geordan Murphy (capt); Scott Hamilton, Matt Smith, Anthony Allen, Alesana Tuilagi; Toby Flood, Ben Youngs; Marcos Ayerza, George Chuter, Martin Castrogiovanni, Louis Deacon, Geoff Parling, Tom Croft, Lewis Moody, Jordan Crane
Replacements: Joe Duffey, Dan Cole, Boris Stankovich, Craig Newby, Ben Woods, James Grindal, Jeremy Staunton, Dan Hipkiss

Saracens: Alex Goode; Michael Tagicakibau, Adam Powell, Brad Barritt, Chris Wyles; Glen Jackson, Neil de Kock, Matias Aguero, Schalk Brits, Petrus du Plessis, Steve Borthwick, Hugh Vyvyan, Jacques Burger, Andy Saull, Ernst Joubert (capt)
Replacements: Fabio Ongaro, Rhys Gill, Richard Skuse, Mouritz Botha, Justin Melck, Justin Marshall, Derick Hougaard, Kameli Ratuvou

Referee: Dave Pearson

Assistant referees: Stuart Terheege & Robin Goodliffe

Television match official: Graham Hughes

From Anon, text 81111: "They had better be good, Magners league final kicks off at 6.30."

1723: It's fair to say this encounter is as spicy as a bucket of Scotch Bonnet peppers. The incident which lead to Venter's ban occurred earlier this month at Welford Road, when Venter was found guilty of "making provocative and inappropriate gestures" during Saracens' 32-23 win against Leicester at Welford Road, the only Premiership team to beat the Tigers on their own patch this season. Meanwhile Tigers boss Richard Cockerill received a stern talking to from the ubiquitous RFU disciplinary officer Judge Jeff Blackett following a few choice words and swift kicks during Leicester's 15-6 win over Bath.

1719: BBC Sport's James Standley at Twickenham:
"Weather report: Dry and overcast. The light rain which had been falling in London eased off a couple of hours ago and with an hour to kick-off it looks like we should have good handling conditions, although the pitch may be a little greasy. Most common shirt on train: Romania rugby polo shirts, sported by the 15 Romanians in my carriage."

1715: So while Brendan Venter watches from the comfort of his sofa in St Albans while surreptitiously keeping an eye on his five-year-old son Joshua, who no doubt will be raiding the (no doubt empty) biscuit tin while his dad is distracted with the action at Twickers, his Saracens team will be in their final preparations as they attempt to wrestle the Premiership title from the clutches of defending champions Leicester Tigers. Unless you've been searching for rare species of marmosets on Irian Jaya over the past week or so, you'll be fully aware that Dr Venter has been banned from making any contact with his team following an appeal hearing in London on Wednesday . Although his ban has been reduced to 10 weeks, the South African has opted to watch the finale at home while his wife and other two children cheer Sarries on from the stands.

LondonTiger on 606: "Well, what I really want is for Tigers to play well and win at a canter. Not sure my heart would survive a tense one."

1705: So who's reading this on an iPad? Makes a very expensive tea tray, as well as a very delicate chopping board. Let's have your thoughts on your first few hours with your new toy, or you can forget that and talk about the climax of an enthralling English domestic season via the 606 website or text 81111 or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) with the word RUGBYU before your message.

1700: Hello Brendan, if you're reading this, mind you don't get any biscuit crumbs in between the keys - they're a right royal pain to clean out. And to everyone else eating wheat-based delights while keeping abreast with the Premiership final between defending champions Leicester and the often-controversial Saracens who are not Brendan Venter, hello.

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see also
Leicester 33-27 Saracens
29 May 10 |  English
Premiership final photos
29 May 10 |  Rugby Union
Moody's final mission
28 May 10 |  Leicester
Venter final ban appeal rejected
26 May 10 |  Saracens
Tigers coach receives RFU warning
27 May 10 |  Leicester
Newby cleared to appear in final
25 May 10 |  Leicester
Borthwick back for Saracens final
25 May 10 |  Saracens
Hooker Brits wins players' award
26 May 10 |  English

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