Rugby Union

Leicester head coach Richard Cockerill enjoyed the show against Saracens.

Tigers thrill boss Richard Cockerill as 'proper performance' sees off Saracens

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Leicester boss Richard Cockerill refused to single out individuals and instead praised the team's collective efforts after the Tigers defeated table-topping Saracens 21-13 at Welford Road to strengthen their top-four ambitions.

Freddie Burns was the star of the show - he scored a try, conversion, two penalties and a drop goal - as Leicester leapfrogged Northampton into the Aviva Premiership play-off places on an emotional afternoon at Welford Road.

The match kicked off after the home crowd had risen to pay tribute to former Tiger Seru Rabeni, who died earlier in the week at the age of 37.

Vereniki Goneva joined Burns on the scoresheet with a try for Leicester , while Alex Goode - fresh from England's Six Nations Grand Slam success in Paris on Saturday night - scored all 13 of Saracens' points.

Cockerill, whose side stand fourth, said: "I thought it was a proper Leicester performance today, the physicality was good and so was our appetite for the game. We've had a tough week of training both mentally and physically but we saw the results of that today.

"We've performed like that a few times this season. Exeter and Stade Francais here were both very good, and we saw that again today. Saracens are a good side even when they are missing some key guys.

"We played well; controlled the game well. The tight five and set-piece contest was good. We worked really hard and we deserved to win. There won't be any complaints from anybody about the result today.

"We didn't take our opportunities in the first half when we should have had one or two tries and I did wonder if that might come back and bite us.

"We kept it positive and kept playing well and we scored a couple of nice tries and deserved to win."

Leicester's solitary defeat at home in any tournament in the last 12 months was 10-3 to Sale in February and the Tigers showed exactly why they have such an enviable record at Welford Road after the break.

The Tigers felt they had a point to prove after suffering a humiliation on the road against Saracens earlier this season, when they conceded three penalty tries at scrum-time.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall was upset at the final whistle this time and pointed to his side's discipline as a major contributing factor to their loss.

"They took advantage of our sin-binnings in the second half much better than we did theirs in the first half," McCall said.

"We fought very hard and the way we defended in the first half was outstanding. Today we lacked a bit of fire-power and we made a few fundamental errors.

"The Six Nations has hit us hard but we're very, very proud of our players. All of them have been integral to it. It hasn't been an easy period for us and everyone knows we've been stretched.

"It was good for us to get Schalk Brits back today and Alex Goode had a huge game. Alex is a product of the club and he was desperate to play despite only having a few hours' sleep and arriving back at Luton from Paris at 6am this morning.

"Next week it will be great because it will be the first time in nine weeks we'll have some choices."

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