Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
Saracens v Leicester Tigers | Saturday 02 January | Allianz Park | 17:15
Saracens overcame a stern test against Wasps last week to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. They now face another stiff challenge this weekend in the form of Leicester Tigers. While the Tigers are yet to hit their straps in their domestic league, they have put in some magnificent displays in the European Champions Cup.
Both teams have some highly skilled players among their ranks, so this game should prove to be an absolute cracker.
To Win (80 Mins)
Another week, another 'Saries' win. The men from the English Capital took on local rivals Wasps last weekend at the Ricoh Arena in what was probably their most challenging test of the season, thus far. I personally thought - and in hindsight regret - that Wasps would be the first team to defeat Saracens this season. It was not to be the case however, with the men in red and black once again proving their class with a well-deserved away victory.
Whilst every member of the Wolf Pack put in a solid shift last weekend, special praise must go to Owen Farrell. The English pivot was in magnificent form; scoring 21 of Saracens 26 points. And while he scored a vital try, it was his educated right boot that guided his team to victory. Not only did Farrell kick four penalties and a conversion, he also ensured 'Saries' would play the majority of the game between the opposition ten-yard line and 22 with his kicking out of hand.
Farrell will once again need to be at his brilliant best as 'Saries' face as another tough assignment this weekend. Their opponents, Leicester, have a solid pack who can really turn the screw at scrum time. So the likes of Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Petrus Du Plessis are going to step up to the mark. All three players have been impressive this season but they haven’t come up against a front row as powerful as Leicester’s. If they can keep things tidy at scrum time and dominate the line out, then Farrell should be able to control the game.
If history is anything to go by, then Leicester are going to struggle to win this one. The Tigers have only managed to win one of their last seven encounters with 'Saries'. The four-point victory came at the start at Welford Road in round 22 of last season’s Premiership. Leicester’s last two visits to the Allianz Stadium have ended in heavy defeats.
So how do Leicester ensure they avoid three losses on the trot at the Allianz? Well, they’re going to have to look to target The Wolf Packs' scrum. While 'Saries’ possess a relatively strong pack, their front row are better known for their all-around games than their scrummaging attributes. That’s not to say that the likes of Mako Vunipola and Petrus du Plessis can’t shove like men possessed, they have proved that they can on numerous occasions this season. I just think Leicester have a front row that’s more proficient when it comes to the set piece.
Argentine props, Marcos Ayerza and Matias Aguero, pride themselves on getting the better of opposition props. While the duo didn’t start last weekend’s fixture against the Newcastle Falcons, I suspect they will both be back in the starting lineup for this clash. In the backline, the likes of Telusa Vaina and former Wallaby, Peter Beatham, will be looking to spark attacks for Leicester. Both players have deft handling skills and pace to burn. They will have to ensure they don’t get isolated however, as Saracen’s loosies are notoriously good at getting to any tackle situation regardless of where it is on the park.
Verdict: Saracens 1/4
'Saries' haven’t lost at home since November 2014, and I think that record will have been extended further come the final whistle on Saturday.
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