Sarries too strong for Tigers
Saracens opened their LV= Cup campaign with a 38-21 win against Leicester at Goldington Road, Bedford, on Friday night.
The Tigers' late second-half comeback saw them avoid an embarrassing scoreline.
After taking home games to Brussels, Wembley and Twickenham the nomadic Premiership outfit took this LV= Cup game to Championship side Bedford's ground and a crowd of 3,168 saw them collect five points with tries from Jamie George, Duncan Taylor, Joe Maddock and Andy Saul.
Nils Mordt put Saracens 3-0 in front after six minutes and it was one-way traffic for the rest of the first half, as Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill grew increasingly agitated.
His mood was quickly darkened by a bemusing decision to sin-bin Tigers flanker Lucas Guillaume after just nine minutes by referee James Jones for coming in at the side of a ruck.
Tigers thought they had survived as Guillaume returned to the field, but it was just in time to see George score the opening try after 20 minutes which Mordt converted.
A weaving 40 metre break from Ben Ransom, who has been an ever present in the Bedford side where he is dual-registered this season, set up another three points for Mordt.
And on his former ground Taylor was gifted a try thanks to a dire chip from Andy Forsyth whose effort landed in his outstretched arms of the former Bedford Blue and duly hurtled under the posts from halfway. Mordt converted to give Saracens a 20-0 lead.
Nothing was going Leicester's way. Even their traditional stronghold, the scrum, was going backwards and on half-time a powder-puff tackle from wing Alex Lewington allowed Saull to step inside and send Maddock over from 15m. Mordt converted to make it 27-0 at the break.
Mordt added three more points seven minutes into the second half before Tigers hit back with a close range try for lock Joe Cain.
Number eight Michael Noone hung on to a lineout drive to score as Matt Cornwell converted both to almost halve Sarries' lead.
Saracens brought on Smit to steady the ship and it worked. James Short held the ball in two hands to hold the Leicester defence and offloaded for Saull to ease over from five metres. Mordt added a penalty before Leicester replacement hooker Harry Thacker had the last word with a try that Cornwell converted.