Saracens claimed back-to-back English Premiership titles after inflicting a 37-34 defeat on the Exeter Chiefs in the final at Twickenham.
The result sees Saracens crowned English champions for the fourth time in five seasons. For Exeter, it’s a another disheartening and agonising final defeat to Sarries, who have also won the previous two title-deciders (in 2016 and 2018) between them.
The game was played at a high intensity from start to finish and it was an even contest in all its brutal physicality. Both sides utilised their forwards perfectly, using big runners through the middle and expertly moving the point of contact.
The two most elite and consistent English clubs went blow for blow in a see-saw first half, but the Chiefs, who had scored the first try 30 seconds after kickoff, got their noses in front by 22-16 at the midway mark having dotted down compared to Saracens’ two touchdowns.
While the intensity levels never dimmed, it took a while before either side added to their tally again. But once Exeter scored through outside centre Henry Slade for a 27-16 advantage, the game sparked to life as Saracens found their second wind to launch yet another stirring comeback in a final.
With his team on attack, Owen Farrell spotted a mismatch between teammate Liam Williams and Exeter flyhalf Joe Simmons and executed a perfect kick-pass which Williams plucked out of mid-air to score.
Suddenly the momentum swung the way of the defending champions and no sooner after the restart and Sean Maitland slid over in the corner from what was Saracens’ most fluent move of the match. After relinquishing their handy lead, Exeter could not find a way back.
Hooker Jamie George barged over from close range for his second of the match to all but seal the result and a title for Sarries. Exeter would get a late score, but with the clock already in the red, it didn’t even serve as a consolation effort.
Exeter Chiefs – Tries: Nic White, Dave Ewers, Jonny Hill, Henry Slade, Sam Hill. Conversions: Joe Simmonds (3). Penalty: Simmonds.
Saracens – Tries: Jamie George (2), Ben Spencer, Liam Williams, Sean Maitland. Conversions: Owen Farrell (3). Penalties: Owen (2).
Exeter Chiefs – 15 Jack Nowell, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Nic White, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Dave Dennis, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Ben Moon.
Subs: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Sam Skinner, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Sam Hill.
Saracens – 15 Alex Goode, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jackson Wray, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Jamie George, 1 Richard Barrington.
Subs: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Ralph Adams-Hale, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Mike Rhodes, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Nick Tompkins, 23 David Strettle.