Defending champions beat Exeter 37-34 in a Gallagher Premiership final that featured ten tries
Saracens win back-to-back Premiership titles
Saracens beat Exeter 37-34 in an entertaining Gallagher Premiership final at Twickenham to secure a European and domestic double.
They lifted the Champions Cup in Newcastle three weeks ago and have now retained the English title too.
It was a highly competitive final, both sides scoring five tries, but Saracens appeared to flick a switch in the last 20 minutes to come from 27-16 behind, take the lead and close out the victory.
The final got off to a flyer with Exeter chasing hard from the kick-off and Nic White scoring after just 25 seconds.
The drama continued in those opening minutes as Henry Slade was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on as Saracens attacked close to the Exeter line. They scored a try through Jamie George from the resulting penalty.
The defending champions got a second while Slade was in the sin-bin. After building pressure in the Chiefs 22, Ben Spencer jinked over from close range.
That gave Saracens a 13-7 lead after 13 minutes – but back Exeter came. They took play up to five metres from the Saracens line, Maro Itoje was yellow-carded and Dave Ewers squeezed over after a series of rucks. Joe Simmonds’s conversion put the Chiefs back in front.
They crossed again after half an hour, Jack Nowell involved three times in the build-up before Jonny Hill barged over.
Owen Farrell and Simmonds exchanged penalties in the final minutes to make the half-time score 22-16 to Exeter.
The score remained that way until midway through the second half when Exeter scored their fourth try.
Slade spun a miss-pass wide to Sam Skinner, who broke past Maitland on the wing, then offloaded out of a tackle by Alex Goode to Slade, who stretched to score in the corner.
Saracens hit back quickly, Farrell producing a perfectly-weighted cross-kick for Liam Williams, who rose to catch it and then strode over the line for a try.
Saracens then took the lead for the first time since the 20th minute with another try. Richard Wigglesworth burst through, the ball was recycled quickly and spread wide where Saracens had numbers and Maitland was able to evade attempted tackles from Slade and Nowell to score.
A second George try then made sure of back-to-back titles. A clever Farrell kick meant Exeter had a lineout on their own five-metre line and Itoje – named Man of the Match – was able to steal possession after a scrappy Exeter take. The ball was recycled and fed to George, who barrelled over under the posts.
Sam Hill did score in the last minute for Exeter, collecting a loose ball from a lineout and cutting a good line from close range, but it would offer little consolation for the Chiefs.
Exeter – Tries: White, Ewers, J Hill, Slade, S Hill. Cons: Simmonds 3. Pen: Simmonds.
Saracens – Tries: George 2, Spencer, Williams, Maitland. Cons: Farrell 3. Pens: Farrell 2.
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