SARACENS declined the opportunity to climb up to second in the Zurich Premiership as they slumped to a surprise 22-13 defeat at the hands of Leeds Tykes on Sunday, October 14.

The enterprising opening to a match which has characterised Saracens' season to date was sadly absent as they were put firmly on the backfoot by a well-drilled Leeds side who have already claimed the scalp of Bath this season.

It was the home side who deservedly scored the first points of the match with a penalty from Australian outside-half Dan Parks after five minutes.

Ten minutes later, Luke Smith continued his faultless form with the boot to kick Sarries level with his first attempt.

Robbed by the injuries to the centre trio of Shanklin, Johnston and Horan, Francois Pienaar was forced to deploy Gerald Arasa in the centre alongside Kevin Sorrell and it was Arasa who inadvertently gifted Leeds their first try.

The overzealous referee adjudged the Arasa to have carried the ball over the try line and a scrum was awarded to Leeds.

Their rampaging pack, dominated the battle upfront against a inexperienced Sarries front row, provided the opportunity for captain Carl Hogg to score a try from the back of the scrum which the impressive Parks converted.

Smith nailed penalties either side of the break before Adryan Winnan forged Sarries in front fort the first time with an opportunist try.

That was as good as it got for Sarries as they crumbled, especially in the front row, to allow Dan Scarbrough a try in the 63rd minute, and then Parks ensured Leeds claimed their second notable scalp of the season with his third penalty and his second drop goal.

"It is frustrating to go away and lose a game that you should win, said a disappointed Francois Pienaar.

"Sadly, this has happened to us over the last couple of years. It's difficult to pin point the problem. Maybe our mind-set wasn't quite right after our comfortable win over Dynamo Bucharest. The bottom line is that we didn't perform."