Saracens win English Premiership

2016-05-28 18:18
Alex Goode (Getty)

London - Alex Goode's late strike ensured Saracens celebrated becoming the first English side to do the European and domestic double for twelve years as they retained their Premiership crown at Twickenham.

The England fullback and Premiership Player of the Year was on hand to spoil a spirited fightback from Exeter Chiefs in the sunshine.

Wasps were the last to win both the trophies but Mark McCall's men fully deserve emulating them with that stunning victory over Racing 92 and then this triumph over brave Chiefs.

Toulouse, Toulon and Leicester are the only other three teams to have achieved that outstanding club achievement. But Mark McCall's men were made to work hard for their win having led 23-6 at the break but then seeing Exeter score 14 unanswered points.

It took the metronomic Owen Farrell just two and a half minutes to edge Sarries' noses ahead with a penalty which clipped a post before deflecting through.

The fly-half added a second from in front of the posts as Exeter's defence cracked and were forced to give away a straight forward penalty by sinning at a ruck.

Chiefs, appearing in their first Premiership final, were akin to rabbits in the headlights in the opening stages. Sarries controlled the ball and territory with Rob Baxter's Devon men struggling to get some light relief from inside their own 22.

When they finally broke out of the shackles, Exeter failed to make the most of their first real attacking move.

Having worked the ball quickly out to the left flank, and with Billy Vunipola finding himself as final line of defence on that side, Henry Slade made a mess of his attempted kick through, sending it flying into touch.

However, Steenson did not waste his opening kicking chance after Sarries were penalised at a lineout and the Chiefs flyhalf sent a fine kick through the uprights to put his side on the board.

Touch judge JP Doyle brought a potentially dangerous Chiefs counter attack to a halt by spotting an illegal early tackle by Geoff Parling on Michael Rhodes as Sarries pressurised their rivals' line. Farrell made it three out of three kicks to groans of despair from the Exeter supporters, who felt Parling had done little wrong.

A sudden Schalk Brits burst set Sarries on their way to the opening try of the game.

The South African applied the accelerator and Farrell's angled deft bouncing low kick through the Chiefs defence put Duncan Taylor through on the left flank.

The outside centre merely needed to pick up the ball and stroll over behind the posts for Farrell to add an easy conversion.

It was a repeat moments later as right wing Chris Wyles, who grabbed a brace of tries in the semi-final win over Leicester Tigers, shrugged off weak Chiefs tackling to race across the line. Farrell's conversion meant the European champions were in full command by the break.

Chiefs continued to struggle to break the thick Sarries defensive line until 15 minutes into the second half when a change of plan worked perfectly. Turning down a penalty chance they went for the corner to pressure the Sarries line.

A perfectly taken lineout and hefty surge saw Chiefs' powerful pack push their rivals back, and replacement hooker Jack Yeandle grounded the ball. Steenson converted to give Chiefs more hope of a revival.

Charlie Hodgson strolled on with 11 minutes remaining for an emotional cameo farewell performance.

The former England No 10 was given a warm reception by the fans but then saw the gap close to just three points as Jack Nowell burst over in the right hand corner and Steenson converted to set up a nervous finish.

However, Goode enjoyed the last laugh, as he finished off a flowing Sarries attack with swift passing to reach out and ground the ball for the decisive try.

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