Chiefs eliminate Sarries at the death

Sam Simmons scored a last-minute try to give the Exeter Chiefs a dramatic 18-16 win against Saracens in their Premiership semi-final at Sandy Park on Saturday.

The Chiefs had been the form team in the Premiership, coming into the knockout stage with eight straight wins, the last five which included bonus points. However, Saracens came into this match as favourites, having defended their European crown last weekend.

Renowned for their ability to seal victories in the final quarter of games, Sarries were at it again against the Chiefs. Trailing 13-11, Mike Ellery scored in the 75th minute to put Saracens in the ascendancy. But the Chiefs won a late penalty, which Henry Slade kicked into touch 5m out. From there, they secured possession at the lineout and Simnonds scored the try that knocked Saracens out.

The sides went into half-time locked at 6-6. Both teams managed to score a try after the break, but Owen Farrell’s missed conversion meant Exeter had a slender two-point advantage until the dramatic twists and turns of the last five minutes.

Exeter Chiefs – Tries: Jack Nowell, Sam Simmonds. Conversion: Gareth Steenson. Penalties: Steenson (2).
Saracens – Tries: Chris Wyles, Mike Ellery. Penalties: Owen Farrell (2).

Exeter Chiefs – 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson (c), 9 Stuart Townsend, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Don Armand, 6 Kai Horstmann, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Dave Dennis, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Michele Campagnaro.

Saracens – 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jackson Wray, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Titi Lamositele, 18 Petrus Du Plessis, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Mike Ellery.

Photo: Steve Bardens/Getty Images

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Mariette Adams