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PLAYER RATINGS: Leicester overcome Saracens in Premiership final thriller

Leicester Tigers claimed Gallagher Premiership glory with a 15-12 win over Saracens in a seesaw final at Twickenham.

Freddie Burns’ latest goal sealed Leicester’s return to the big time after years in the wilderness when both teams lost a man to yellow cards.

Sportsmail’s Alex Bywater was in Twickenham to get his eye on both sets of players…

Leicester's determination and physicality were ultimately the reason why they won on Saturday

Leicester’s determination and physicality were ultimately the reason why they won on Saturday

Leicester Tigers

Freddie Steward – 8.5 Bad start as he dropped his first high ball and then produced a sad kick, but he reacted impressively and played a key role in his team’s first attempt.

Chris Ashton – 7 Wasn’t always involved but he made his moments count and was lively when needed. Supported Steward leading up to first Leicester score. Not an attempt, just yet another Premiership title.

Matias Moroni – 6.5 A big hit caused his team to fire and he was part of a solid Leicester backline defense that remained watertight even after George Ford’s injury. Replaced by Matt Scott who was shown a yellow card in the last 10.

Hanro Liedenberg crossed over to Leicester when the Tigers scored twice in Twickenham

Hanro Liedenberg crossed over to Leicester when the Tigers scored twice in Twickenham

Freddie Burns, introduced early in the game, delivered the decisive blow to Leicester

Freddie Burns, introduced early in the game, delivered the decisive blow to Leicester

Guy Porter – 7 Unknown figure. The glue in an impressive Tigers outfit and he made a fine break in the second half. Will never make the headlines, but maybe he should.

Harry Potter – 6.5 Didn’t get a chance to wave his wand in a tight game but made no mistakes and harassed and rushed. A crucial part of Leicester’s title win.

George Ford – 5 His first shot on target went wrong. Tried to make up by running the ball back immediately, but sustained an ankle injury and was forced out. It was a brutal way his last Leicester game ended after a great campaign. Ford moves to Sale for next season. Freddie Burns excelled in his place and won it with a late drop goal.

Steve Borthwick saw his side complete their remarkable turnaround with the Premiership crown

Steve Borthwick saw his side complete their remarkable turnaround with the Premiership crown

Richard Wigglesworth – 6.5 Shockstart against his old club at age 39. He was at the heart of all the kicking during the first half. His passing wasn’t always razor sharp, but he flattered well before being replaced by Ben Youngs.

Ellis Genge (capt) – 8 Ballsy and smart decision to tap quick paid off with Leicester’s second attempt. Impressive and calm leadership also in the face of a fierce game. Surprisingly replaced by having given everything.

Julian Montoya – 8 Was beaten high by Aled Davies, but brushed it off and caught the air with delight after winning a turnover in the second half. Strong performance ended with a head injury assessment.

Jasper Wiese won on the day of Premiership Player of the Year, Ben Earl,

Jasper Wiese won on the day of Premiership Player of the Year, Ben Earl,

Dan Cole – 7 Told he lost his binding on a scrum in an excellent attacking opportunity from Leicester. It seemed like a hard call from Wayne Barnes. Key role in one of his team’s attempts and can be content with his afternoon. Replaced by Joe Heyes.

Ollie Chessum – 8.5 Hugely impressive first half, he threw himself everywhere with phenomenal enthusiasm. The pace of work was off the charts. A statement performance for watching England head coach Eddie Jones.

Calum Green – 7.5 He’s not a superstar like Maro Itoje, but he gave the England man plenty to think about as part of an impressive performance from Leicester up front.

Jasper Wiese crossed for one of Leicester's two tries against Saracens at Twickenham

Jasper Wiese crossed for one of Leicester’s two tries against Saracens at Twickenham

Hanro Liebenberg – 8 Cost his team three points when he was penalized for a late tackle on Nick Tompkins, but crashed at close range and was extremely physical.

Tommy Reffell – 7.5 A good buy and always seemed like a threat of failure. Empty the tank then gave way to fresh legs. Will travel to Wales with South Africa as Premiership winner.

Jasper Wiese – 9 Knocked out at the end of the first half after Genge’s quick tap and with Saracens to 14. He was unforgiving physically and deserved his man-of-the-match award.

Substitutions: Freddie Burns 8.5 (for Ford 24), Joe Heyes 7 (for Cole 55), Matt Scott 5 (for Moroni 58), Ben Youngs 6.5 (for Wigglesworth 65), Martin 6 (for Reffell 65), Harry Wells 6.5 ( for Green 65), Charlie Clare 6.5 (for Montoya 65), Nephi Leatigaga 6.5 (for Genge 65)

scorers

Tries: Liebenberg 27, Wiese 35 Cons: Burns 28

Drop target: Burns 80+2

Saracens

Alex Goode – 6.5 Solid under the high ball and had to go to scrum half temporarily when his team lost Aled Davies to the sin box.

Max Malins – 5.5 Due to the constant kicking we didn’t see much of the Premiership’s top scorer on offense, but he played the game as best he could. Would have liked much more opportunity to run.

Elliot Daly – 5.5 Kicked a monster penalty for three points but should have done better defensively on Steward in the lead up to a Leicester score.

Elliot Daly's efforts weren't enough to stop Leicester from completing their remarkable redemption story

Elliot Daly’s efforts weren’t enough to stop Leicester from completing their remarkable redemption story

Nick Tompkins – 7 He has become a key figure for Saracens and should start this summer for Wales in South Africa, but this was not his afternoon as his team never attacked. Yet given everything.

Sean Maitland – 4 All he could do was chase high kicks in the first half and did so with gusto, but did not appear for the second period and was replaced by Alex Lozowski.

Owen Farrell (capt) – 5.5 Kick an early penalty but had little forefoot to clear on a frustrating day. Could not turn the balance of the match in favor of his team.

Owen Farrell was unable to turn the game in his favor at Twickenham on Saturday

Owen Farrell was unable to turn the game in his favor at Twickenham on Saturday

Aled Davies – 4 Dropped a high ball then got Goode into trouble on his own line. He was then incredibly lucky not to see a red for a high tackle on Montoya. Somehow only yellow was given.

Mako Vunipola – 5.5 Led his team out on his 200th Saracens appearance, beating Porter. A nice half break, but it was an isolated moment.

Jamie George – 5 In the first half he had his hands full with Leicester up front and not much more joy in the second half. A rare disappointment on the big stage.

Vincent Koch – 5 Wasp bound prop struggled against Genge and didn’t show up much in free run which has become his strength.

Maro Itoje (right) failed to impress for Saracens on a tense afternoon in Twickenham

Maro Itoje (right) failed to impress for Saracens on a tense afternoon in Twickenham

Maro Itoje – 3 Unusually absent during the game’s biggest moments. Itoje was made to look virtually anonymous on a bad day at the office. Thanks to the Leicester attackers for that.

Nick Isiekwe – 5 Went on a pass with his team at the end of the first 40 and was part of a Saracen pack that was often second best.

Theo McFarland – 5.5 He’s had a great season but had his hands full with Leicester’s massive back row. This was not the game for his all-action basketball style of rugby. Replaced by Andy Christie who made a great break.

Ben Earl tried to make everything happen for Saracens, but his efforts were in vain

Ben Earl tried to make everything happen for Saracens, but his efforts were in vain

Ben Earl – 6 The Premiership Player of the Year has always given his all but not had his usual joy on the pitch. Penalized for being out of touch in the second half.

Billy Vunipola – 7 Brilliant sidestep and run showed he has both grace and strength but he then conceded a stupid penalty. Won a penalty in the second half in response and was impressive overall.

Substitutions: Alex Lozowski 5.5 (for Maitland 40), Andy Christie 7 (for McFarland 60), Ivan van Zyl 6.5 (for Davies 69), Eroni Mawi 6 (for M Vunipola 69), Duncan Taylor 5.5 (for Tompkins 73), Jackson Wray 5 (for B Vunipola 79), McFarland 5.5 (for Isiekwe 80+2)

Replacements not used: Kapeli Pifeleti, Alec Clarey

scorers

Pins: Farrell 5, 65, 76, Daly 31

Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU)

Presence: 72,784

Star Player: Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers)

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