Saracens beat Exeter 27-10 in Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham

Last Updated May 26 2018, 17:10Rugby Union
Saracens celebrate their Twickenham success
Saracens celebrate their Twickenham success

Saracens were crowned Aviva Premiership champions for a third time in four seasons after ending Exeter's title reign at Twickenham.

First-half tries by number eight Billy Vunipola and wing Chris Wyles sent Saracens on the way to a 27-10 victory as Chiefs' hopes of claiming a second successive Premiership crown dried up in the south-west London sunshine.

Wyles added a second touchdown after 47 minutes and there was no way back for Exeter after that as Saracens collected Premiership silverware for a fourth time in their history.

Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell, who will captain England on their three-Test tour to South Africa next month, kicked two conversions before going off 15 minutes from time, appearing to be in discomfort, with Ben Spencer adding a late penalty and Nathan Earle a 79th-minute try.

Exeter's points came through an early Joe Simmonds penalty and a Gareth Steenson try that Steenson converted but despite finishing well clear of Saracens over the 22-game regular Premiership season, they could not withstand their opponents' superior pace and power that was driven by man-of-the-match Mako Vunipola.

England head coach Eddie Jones looked on as Billy Vunipola, who overcame a hamstring injury concern to start the final and featured for an hour, opened Saracens' account following an initial 15 minutes that Exeter dominated.

And when United States international Wyles, making his farewell appearance before retiring from professional rugby, struck four minutes later, Exeter were left chasing the game before ultimately suffering a first defeat since mid-February.

Patience pays off for Sarries

Exeter forced the final's first mistake when Saracens wing Sean Maitland spilled Chiefs scrum-half Nic White's high kick, and then the defending champions did what they do best - keep possession and go through numerous phases.

There was also a high-risk element to Exeter's passing game, which they continued with after Simmonds kicked them into a fifth-minute lead.

It took Saracens 15 minutes to move inside Exeter's 22, but they struck from their first opportunity after Farrell's clever kick into space found full-back Alex Goode, who kept the ball and set up an imposing attacking platform.

It enabled Saracens to free their heavyweight ball-carriers, and Billy Vunipola touched down from close range for a try that Farrell converted.

Vunipola, who has endured an injury-hit season, initially looked as though he had taken a knock, but he quickly rejoined his team-mates before Saracens cut Exeter's defence wide open.

Goode was again heavily involved, firing an overhead pass to Maitland, who had switched wings, and he completely committed Exeter's final defender before sending an unmarked Wyles in at the corner, securing a nine-point advantage.

Exeter, having dominated initially, could not get their hands on the ball and they also lost captain Don Armand for a head injury assessment, with Thomas Waldrom going on for a final Chiefs experience before he returns to New Zealand..

Armand returned to the fray just before the break and Exeter managed to avoid further damage when Farrell sent a touchline penalty wide, meaning Saracens led 12-3 midway through an absorbing contest.

Wyles' second try early in the second period, converted from wide out by Farrell, gave Exeter a mountain to climb, and rugby director Rob Baxter reacted by making five substitutions in one go, including taking off Simmonds and centre Sam Hill.

Exeter rallied early in the final quarter, piling on pressure either side of Saracens' replacement hooker Schalk Brits being sin-binned for pulling down a maul in his last game before retirement.

It proved only a short reprieve for Saracens as Steenson pounced from close range before converting his own try and giving Exeter a glimmer of hope, although ultimately it did not transpire.

Related rugby union links

Most Read

Our best bets for the latest round of Sky Bet EFL action1

Sky Bet EFL betting preview

With his weekend preview returning profit for the third week in a row, EFL expert Tom Carnduff takes a look at the best bets for midweek action.

Sporting Life Accumulator: Matchday 42

Sporting Life Accumulator

Tuesday evening's Sporting Life Accumulator is a 25/1 four-timer with the EFL sponsors Sky Bet.

Check out Oli Bell's Yankee for the opening day of York's Ebor Festival3

Oli Bell's York Yankee

Oli Bell's best bets for day one of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York on Wednesday with Fashion Queen a strong fancy.

Hideki Matsuyama4

The Northern Trust betting tips

Golf expert Ben Coley fancies Hideki Matsuyama to bounce back to form and win The Northern Trust, where a 300/1 chance also catches the eye.

Check out Alex Hammond's latest blog5

Alex Hammond: Lion to tame Poet's

Alex Hammond guides us through Ebor Festival week including a two-year-old not to be missed, two fancies in Saturday's big race and the Juddmonte International 1-2-3.

Most Read

Our best bets for the latest round of Sky Bet EFL action1

Sky Bet EFL betting preview

With his weekend preview returning profit for the third week in a row, EFL expert Tom Carnduff takes a look at the best bets for midweek action.

Sporting Life Accumulator: Matchday 42

Sporting Life Accumulator

Tuesday evening's Sporting Life Accumulator is a 25/1 four-timer with the EFL sponsors Sky Bet.

Check out Oli Bell's Yankee for the opening day of York's Ebor Festival3

Oli Bell's York Yankee

Oli Bell's best bets for day one of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York on Wednesday with Fashion Queen a strong fancy.

Hideki Matsuyama4

The Northern Trust betting tips

Golf expert Ben Coley fancies Hideki Matsuyama to bounce back to form and win The Northern Trust, where a 300/1 chance also catches the eye.

Check out Alex Hammond's latest blog5

Alex Hammond: Lion to tame Poet's

Alex Hammond guides us through Ebor Festival week including a two-year-old not to be missed, two fancies in Saturday's big race and the Juddmonte International 1-2-3.

Racing Tips

Ben Linfoot's latest Value Bets for the Ebor Festival

Value Bet: Going into ‘Batl

Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections on day one of York’s Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival as the Juddmonte International takes centre stage.

Check out our free horse racing selections and preview for today's action

Tuesday's racing preview

Keith Hamer previews the action on Tuesday and makes David Simcock's Walk On Walter his standout selection.

All the latest rumours and whispers from the gallops...

Catching Pigeons: Ebor Festival

Our Catching Pigeons insider flags up all the well-fancied horses from around the major training centres running at York this week.

Next Race Off
18:30 Newton Abbot
1
(0)
Lord Topper
J: Page Fuller
6
(0)
Good Man Vinnie
J: P J Brennan
9
(0)
Mamoo
J: Jack Quinlan

Football Tips

Our best bets for the latest round of Sky Bet EFL action

Sky Bet EFL betting preview

With his weekend preview returning profit for the third week in a row, EFL expert Tom Carnduff takes a look at the best bets for midweek action.

Our best bets for Aston Villa's clash with Brentford

Villa v Brentford betting preview

Wednesday night's live TV game comes at Villa Park as Aston Villa host Brentford. Tom Carnduff has picked out a goalscorer best bet.

Get your bets on!

Our best bets

Check out all of our available betting tips and previews of the forthcoming sporting action.