The retiring Chris Wyles enjoyed a dream send-off as Saracens clinically regained their status as the best team in England with a 27-10 victory over Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership final at Twickenham.
Domestic kings in 2015 and 2016, as well as European Cup winners in the two seasons prior to this one, Sarries lost in the Premiership semi-finals to eventual champions Exeter 12 months ago.
The Chiefs also finished top of the pile in the regular season this term, but they were ruthlessly beaten on Saturday as Mark McCall’s side produced a hugely impressive display and overcame a second-half injury for Owen Farrell.
In the final appearance of his professional career, veteran wing Wyles crossed in each half to leapfrog Josh Lewsey as the man with the most tries in Premiership finals.
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) May 26, 2018
Saracens’ success also ensured Schalk Brits ended his glorious career with the club on a high note, although the hooker did spend 10 minutes in the sin bin after coming on as a second-half replacement.
Trailing by 16 points when Brits was yellow-carded, Exeter piled on the pressure with a numerical advantage and reduced their arrears through a converted Gareth Steenson try.
Farrell – named as England’s captain for the upcoming tour of South Africa – then limped off to add to his side’s worries, but Saracens were not to be denied and Nathan Earle’s 79th-minute score confirmed their success.
The Chiefs totally dominated the early exchanges, Joe Simmonds landing one penalty and pushing another wide before their opponents had enjoyed any possession.
However, when Saracens did eventually get hands on the ball, they capitalised ruthlessly with two tries in quick succession.
Alex Goode has scarcely featured for England under Eddie Jones, but there can be no doubting his value at club level and the full-back played a key role in both scores.
It was Goode who latched on to a chip over the top from Owen Farrell when Saracens first attacked, setting in motion a brief spell of pressure that culminated in Billy Vunipola crashing over from first receiver.
Try time | Great first try of the game from Billy Vunipola! pic.twitter.com/5Sd7Edar4H
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) May 26, 2018
Goode then made a delightful half-break before releasing Sean Maitland, who duly laid on a simple finish for fellow wing Wyles.
Exeter struggled to threaten in response and were grateful for Farrell missing his second conversion attempt and a subsequent penalty in windy conditions.
Farrell did hit the target nine minutes into the second half, splitting the posts from the touchline after Saracens had made the most of numbers on the left to hand Wyles another routine score.
The Chiefs were given hope when Brits was sin-binned for collapsing a maul and fellow replacement Steenson scored before converting his own try with 16 minutes remaining.
After pulling up from the subsequent kick-off, Farrell was replaced to provide a concern for watching England coach Jones, but Saracens soon steadied the ship and Ben Spencer knocked over a penalty prior to Earle’s late try.
KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta