Exeter Chiefs 10 - 27 Saracens: Slick Sarries claim title

Saracens' Sean Maitland and Nick Isiekwe are both hands-on. Picture: Getty
Saracens' Sean Maitland and Nick Isiekwe are both hands-on. Picture: Getty
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Saracens were crowned Aviva Premiership champions for a third time in four seasons after ending Exeter’s title reign at Twickenham.

First-half tries by No.8 Billy Vunipola and wing Chris Wyles sent Saracens on the way to a 27-10 victory.

Wyles added a second touchdown after 47 minutes and there was no way back for Exeter after that as Saracens collected Premiership silverware for a fourth time in their history.

Saracens stand-offf Owen Farrell kicked two conversions before going off 15 minutes from time, with Ben Spencer adding a late penalty and Nathan Earle a 79th-minute try.

Exeter’s points came through an early Joe Simmonds penalty and a Gareth Steenson try that Steenson converted but despite finishing well clear of Saracens over the 22-game regular Premiership season, they could not withstand their opponents’ superior pace and power that was driven by man-of-the-match Mako Vunipola.

England head coach Eddie Jones looked on as Billy Vunipola opened Saracens’ account following an initial 15 minutes that Exeter dominated.

And when Wyles, making his farewell appearance before retiring from professional rugby, struck four minutes later, Exeter were left chasing the game before ultimately suffering a first defeat since mid-February.

Exeter forced the final’s first mistake when Saracens wing Sean Maitland spilled Chiefs scrum-half Nic White’s high kick, and then the defending champions did what they do best – keep possession and go through numerous phases.

There was also a high-risk element to Exeter’s passing game, which they continued with after Simmonds kicked them into a fifth-minute lead.

It took Saracens 15 minutes to move inside Exeter’s 22, but they struck from their first opportunity after Farrell’s clever kick into space found full-back Alex Goode, who kept the ball and set up an imposing attacking platform.

Billy Vunipola touched down from close range for a try that Farrell converted.

Saracens then cut Exeter’s defence wide open. Goode was again heavily involved, firing an overhead pass to Maitland, and he committed Exeter’s final defender before sending an unmarked Wyles in at the corner, securing a nine-point advantage.

Exeter lost captain Don Armand for a head injury assessment, with Thomas Waldrom going on.

Exeter managed to avoid further damage when Farrell sent a touchline penalty wide, meaning Saracens led 12-3 midway through an absorbing contest.

Wyles’ second try early in the second period, converted from wide out by Farrell, gave Exeter a mountain to climb.

Exeter rallied early in the final quarter, piling on pressure either side of Saracens’ replacement hooker Schalk Brits being sin-binned for pulling down a maul in his last game before retirement.

It proved only a short reprieve for Saracens as Steenson pounced from close range before converting his own try and giving Exeter a glimmer of hope, although ultimately it did not transpire.