Brits, Farrell lead Saracens to English crown
Saracens denied Leicester a third consecutive English Premiership title on Saturday, outside-half Owen Farrell's 100 percent kicking performance helping to clinch a nail-biting 22-18 victory.
Leicester's points all came from the boot of England No 10 Toby Flood, but the reigning champions' much vaunted forward pack were unable to cross Saracens' whitewash in an enthralling seven minutes past the final whistle.
For Saracens, it was redemption for losing 33-27 to Leicester in last year's final, something not lost on the players.
"Revenge was very sweet," said man-of-the-match Schalk Brits, the Saracens hooker adding that his team had been prepared for Leicester's final efforts.
"That's what we expected from Leicester, they're a never-say-die side, and we're over the moon."
Brits also credited team officials with having helped bond the squad with trips to the Munich beerfest and also to the Miami Dolphins.
"There's some great friendships," he said.
Farrell and Flood exchanged two early penalties as Leicester suffered a blow when England scrum-half Ben Youngs was sin-binned in the seventh minute for cynically killing the ball as counterpart Neil de Kock went close.
Brits was instrumental in setting up the opening try, the three-timed capped Springbok making a searing break cross pitch and off-loading in timely fashion to winger James Short, who beat covering full-back Scott Hamilton to dot down in the corner.
The durable Brits, who has missed just one Premiership game in two seasons, then almost played Andy Saull in, a scrambling defence just managing to halt the attack.
Farrell added a third penalty in the 36th minute after Leicester strayed offside in front of their own posts, while Flood claimed back three points to leave it 16-9 at half-time.
The 19-year-old Farrell, son of former Great Britain rugby league legend Andy - now a coach at Saracens, nailed his fourth penalty shortly into the second period.
Flood responded with his own penalty to keep Leicester within seven points but then missed two further efforts.
The England outside-half finally refound his range to boot Leicester to within four points with 12 minutes remaining.
As the game opened up, Farrell and Flood again exchanged penalties to make it 22-18 to the London side with five minutes to play.
The outstanding Brits was then on hand to haul down Alesana Tuilagi with the Samoa-born England winger staring down a touchline sprint to the line.
In a nail-biting climax, Leicester won a late penalty and kicked to the corner, but Saracens held on through 31 incredible phases of play with the clock already stopped.
A Brits infringement handed Leicester another penalty in front of the posts but Saracens, for whom Farrell made a crunching tackle on Flood in the dying moments, held on for a memorable victory.
Date published : 28 May 201117:30:07