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.
England fullback and Premiership Player of the Year was on hand to
spoil a spirited fightback from Exeter Chiefs in the sunshine.
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
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.
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.
African applied the accelerator and Farrell's angled deft bouncing low
kick through the Chiefs defence put Duncan Taylor through on the left
The outside centre merely needed to pick up the ball and stroll
over behind the posts for Farrell to add an easy conversion.
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.
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
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.
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.
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