Saracens and Exeter Chiefs will contest this weekend’s Gallagher Premiership final at Twickenham as the top two sides in the country showed them immense quality on Saturday against Gloucester and Northampton Saints.
Joe Harvey recaps the action:
It was a game that offered much, but in actuality, it was far more one sided than originally anticipated. Gloucester never seemed to get into fifth gear on the artificial turf, despite getting an early lead through a converted Ben Morgan try.
Saracens soon gained supremacy thanks to a converted Sean Maitland try that was soon followed by an Owen Farrell penalty. Ben Spencer then had his try converted by his half-back partner and Farrell kicked yet another penalty just six minutes later. The England captain could not convert Liam Williams’ try in the corner, but the hosts were in complete control.
The dominance of Saracens continued into the second half, Nick Tompkins scoring a hat-trick of tries, all of which were converted by Farrell, concluding Sarries’ scoring for the afternoon. Gloucester would have a brief resurgence with thanks to tries from Ruan Dreyer and Lewis Ludlow, but ultimately Gloucester’s dreams of Twickenham would not be realised.
Undoubtedly Northampton have had a vastly improved campaign this year when compared to last season, but this loss proved how big the gap is between first and fourth. Chiefs started the game well, a try from tighthead prop Harry Williams breaking the deadlock. Joe Simmonds converted Williams’ score and did the same for his own excellent try just five minutes later.
Saints were flung back into contention thanks to Exeter’s Tom O’Flaherty. The winger was judged to have prevented a clear try scoring opportunity, resulting in a yellow card for the former Osprey, and a penalty try was awarded to Northampton. Ahsee Tuala then crossed the whitewash for the Saints, but Dan Biggar couldn’t convert.
That would end the scoring for Northampton, with Exeter taking the bull by the horns in the second half. David Dennis scored the first try of the half, but it was O’Flaherty’s 47th minute effort that really caught the eye. It was a sublime score from the former Swansea University student, with both of these efforts being converted by Simmonds.
Chiefs scored two more tries to put the game beyond any doubt. Joe Simmonds converted his brother Sam’s try and the effort from Sam Hill.
Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the world...it can only be the Gallagher Premiership.
12 teams compete in the league over a season, playing every team both home and away, before four move into the playoffs and one is relegated.
The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?
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