The first half was where Saracens won the overall contest. Starting the quicker out of the blocks, Exeter could make no real impact on the match. England kicker, Owen Farrell laid the foundations for Saracens with some early points on the board. Pressure on the Chiefs, see them struggle to contain a strong side and this was further elevated when Saracens went over for the first try of the match with Duncan Taylor going over, which was then followed by American winger Chris Wyles going through.
Exeter came out after the break, needing something special to stop Saracens running away with the title. It came through the two Jacks. Firstly, Hooker – Yeandle went over to reduce the the 23-6 lead Saracens had. As Exeter grew into the match, Saracens concentration was dwindling, even more so when Jack Nowell went over after superb work from Slade and then Dollman.
A coasting Saracens team was now just three points in front of the opposition. But they composed themselves sufficiently towards the end of a thrilling to second half to see veteran Alex Goode go over the line to seal the title and the win 28-20.
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said afterwards: “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. 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 coach Rob Baxter admitted the poor start in the first half cost them the final. “We’ve done a lot right, we’ve worked extremely hard, the only negative is that first 15 or 20 minutes. With five minutes to go there’s not many teams in in big games who have been within three points of wining against Saracens.”
As for Saracens, they became the first team since Wasps in 2004 to complete the double. The win over Exeter Chiefs coupled with the Champions Cup success over Racing Metro a fortnight earlier, means they go into next season aiming to become the first team since Leicester in 2002 to retain both titles.
It was an action packed weekend at Twickenham. After Saturday’s cup final, Sunday featured an international between England and Wales.
It was the 3rd meeting in a little over 6 months between the two sides. Wales defeating England in the World Cup, was followed by an England win en route to 6 Nations success in March.
80,000 saw England win 27-13 with tries by Burrell, Watson, Youngs, Clifford, Yarde and Evans. Both teams were preparing for busy summer tours with England starting a 3 test series in Australia in a fortnight, while Wales begin in Auckland against New Zealand.