London - Owen
Farrell's goalkicking proved the difference as Saracens eventually
overwhelmed Wasps 57-33 to book a place in the English Premiership
They will face Exeter on May 26 at Twickenham after the reigning
champions overpowered Newcastle 36-5 in Saturday's second semi-final.
Saracens were just ahead on try-count, 6-5, at their Allianz Park ground in north London
But England centre Farrell's 27 points - a semi-final record - in a
flawless kicking display helped ensure Saracens remained in command.
Wasps, however, fought back superbly after being 30-5 down early in
the second half of what became the highest-scoring Premiership
semi-final, topping the 77 points, including 10 tries, shared when Wasps
beat Northampton 57-20 in 2004.
"I thought we were up for it during the week and our start showed that we were," Farrell told BT Sport.
"We were always just enough ahead to not be under too much pressure.
It's credit to our boys for sticking in and not letting their heads dip
when they had a chance of getting back into it."
But a match played in glorious sunshine, with England coach Eddie
Jones among the crowd, produced some mixed news for the Red Rose ahead
of their upcoming three-Test tour of South Africa.
Saracens' Billy Vunipola and Wasps' Nathan Hughes, England's first-choice No 8s, both returned from long-term injury problems.
Vunipola, however, did not appear for the second half after receiving
further treatment for the hamstring problem that delayed his return
from a broken arm.
Saracens, however, insisted this was a precautionary move. Meanwhile
Hughes, who had not been expected to play again this season after knee
surgery and was left out of the South Africa squad as a result, could
yet force his way back into the party to face the Springboks after
playing three-quarters of this gruelling match.
Farrell, who will be England's captain in South Africa in the absence
of the injured Dylan Hartley, sent Saracens on their way as early as
the second minute when his break and pass released Alex Lozowski for the
Vincent Kock took Saracens further ahead with their second try before
South Africa's Willie le Roux started and finished a try-scoring move
to give Wasps a foothold in the match.
However, it looked as if Saracens were all but out of sight when
veteran United States wing Chris Wyles dived over in the corner for a
try early in the second half.
Wasps though were far from finished, with Jake Cooper-Woolley and Thomas Young crossing for tries.
Farrell's fourth and fifth penalties gave Saracens a measure of
breathing space only for Wasps, thanks to more good work by Cipriani and
Guy Thompson, to send le Roux in for their fourth try.
Saracens retained their composure and solid drives near the Wasps' line paved the way for a try by Juan Figallo.
Itoje and Wade then exchanged tries before Saracens replacement scrumhalf Ben Spencer ended the try-scoring.
By contrast, Exeter were
rarely stretched during Saturday's second semi-final as Newcastle's
first appearance at this stage ended in a heavy defeat.
Exeter were 16 points ahead at the break thanks to a try from
scrumhalf Nic White, with flyhalf Joe Simmonds adding a conversion and
Further tries after the break by wing Olly Woodburn and flanker Don
Armand, plus two more penalties and two more conversions, one by Gareth
Steenson, completed Exeter's convincing win.
Alex Tait claimed a consolation try for Newcastle but for the
Falcons, coached by ex-England No 8 Dean Richards, there was the
consolation of knowing that this season had seen them make a huge climb
up the table.
"I think in the first half we didn't do much defending and when
that's the case you feel a bit fresher," said Exeter back-rower Thomas
"Big credit to the boys - we've worked hard all week and it showed in the result today."