Saracens 28-20 Exeter Chiefs: Sarries beat Exeter to retain Premiership title
Saracens have compelted the double after overcoming Exeter 28-20 at Twickenham
Sarries led convincingly 23-6 at the break thanks to 13 points from the boot of Owen Farrell and tries from Duncan Taylor and Chris Wyles
Jack Yeandle and Jack Nowell crossed after the break as a rejuvenated Chiefs reduced the deficit to three points
Alex Goode’s late try secured the title for the defending champions
Saracens beat Exeter Chiefs to win the Premiership final and become the first English side to complete a domestic and European double since 2004.
Two tries in three minutes from Duncan Taylor and Chris Wyles gave the defending champions a huge buffer but they were rattled by the Exeter response in the second-half, an illogical comeback eventually killed off by Alex Goode’s try four minutes from time.
Exeter were a shadow of themselves in the first 40 minutes but they brought both the game and a bumper 76,109 crowd to life with the hunger they showed after the break, tries from Alec Hepburn and Jack Nowell turning what at one point had been a 20-point margin into just three.
Saracens though held their nerve, as they have so often this season, becoming the fifth club ever to pull off a league and European Cup double and the first English side to do so since Wasps in 2004.
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:
“Give Exeter huge credit. All season they’ve been an 80-minute team, they’re a resilient bunch and they brought it to us in the second half.
“The problem really was the set-piece.
“We kept on conceding penalties at the scrum or the maul and the more we conceded those penalties, the more field position they got and the more they mauled us. We just couldn’t get our hands on the ball.
“But we showed the necessary composure in the last 15 minutes. Even after they scored we had a couple of chances to kill the game and the last try to win the game was a great try.”
Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter:
“With five minutes to go there’s not many teams in in big games who have been within three points of wining against Saracens.
“We’ve done a lot right, we’ve worked extremely hard, the only negative is that first 15 or 20 minutes.
“A lot of teams, especially when that happens in the first half hour, end up taking the whole game to learn, and we didn’t.
“We ended the first half pretty well and that gave us great confidence in what we wanted to do. I think we got better and grew through the game.”
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Gareth Steenson (c), 9 Will Chudley, 8 Don Armand, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Damian Welch, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Michele Campagnaro, 23 James Short
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil De Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Marcelo Bosch
Date: Saturday, May 28
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle, Luke Pearce
TMO: Sean Davey