Owen Farrell reigns supreme as Saracens crush Exeter
Saracens bounced back from their shock defeat to London Irish by crushing arch-rivals Exeter 35-3 at StoneX Stadium.
The Gallagher Premiership’s biggest grudge match of recent times failed to provide its customary fireworks as the Chiefs were battered from start to finish in dreadful conditions.
It was their biggest league defeat for over two years and Saracens’ biggest win in the fixture.
Driving rain and strong winds failed to dampen Saracens’ ambition as they completed an impressive bonus-point victory that propels them 10 points clear at the summit of the table.
Owen Farrell provided the highlight of the afternoon when his no-look, reverse, miss pass sent Alex Lewington over, but the England playmaker was outstanding throughout and finished as man-of-the-match.
An under-strength Chiefs side that was missing several key players including Dave Ewers, Sam Simmonds and Stuart Hogg, were willing victims, conceding a total of 16 penalties with 11 awarded in the second-half.
Saracens’ last outing was a 29-20 defeat at London Irish and, lifted by the return of Maro Itoje and Jamie George from injury, they played like a team with a point to prove.
They butchered an early two-on-one but in the 10th minute they were over, a short range free-kick taken by Mako Vunipola fed to his younger brother Billy and then on to Andy Christie to touch down.
Strong runs from Christ Tshiunza and Jack Nowell temporarily broke the home stranglehold and Exeter were also helped when Elliot Daly departed because of a failed HIA.
A Joe Simmonds penalty got them off the mark but immediately Saracens hit back, attacking with speed and precision until Sean Maitland put the finishing touch on Owen Farrell’s grubber.
Exeter, meanwhile, struggled to stitch any meaningful phases together and only Nowell was offering any real threat, although even he was turned over as the interval approached.
The half finished with a line-out try for prop Marco Riccioni to extend Saracens’ lead to 19-3 which improved further soon after the break when Farrell was on target despite kicking into the wind.
Exeter continued to concede penalties at a ferocious rate and Farrell struck again before Maitland was stopped by a superb tackle from full-back Josh Hodge that prevented a certain try.
The flow of points was stemmed but Saracens remained in full control, playing the wretched conditions beautifully with their set-piece dominant but they were also unafraid to play when something was on.
They turned the screw in the final quarter through an extended spell in Chiefs territory and were rewarded with the bonus points that was sealed when Lewington pounced off Farrell’s magical pass.
Nick Tompkins completed the rout in overtime when he latched on to the back of a driving line-out and the final whistle could not come soon enough for Exeter.
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Hi Nick, as always a very high standard. I am really concerned about our breakdown and D as I see these as indispensable parts of a winning team. I suspect our coaches struggle to motivate the guys to perform consistently and this is compounded when, like the Tahs, there is a 'little to play for' attitude to be got over. What impact are the sports psychiatrists having at top level as I assume this must be their area of specialisation?Go to comments
Holy man, this is a powerful team and more than capable of knocking over Wales 1. Ravai 2. Ikanivere 3. Doge 4. Nasilasila 5. Yato 6. Tamani 7. Botia 8. Mata 9. Lomani 10. Volavola 11. Tuisova 12. Ravouvou 13. Radradra 14. Habosi 15. MasiGo to comments