Exeter Chiefs 18 Saracens 16: Late heartbreak for Sarries as double-double dream dies with defeat in Aviva Premiership play-off semi-final
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Aviva Premiership play-off semi-final: Exeter Chiefs 18 Saracens 16
Saracens’ bid for the double-double was firmly halted after a late Sam Simmonds try put Exeter Chiefs into the Premiership final.
The Hendon-based club were within touching distance of the final themselves after Mike Ellery put Sarries ahead with five minutes to play.
The tie had all the hallmarks of a final in a repeat of last year’s clash at Twickenham.
It was Sarries who led 6-0 following two Owen Farrell penalties early in the first half with the Chiefs struggling to find their feet in the opening stages.
You may also want to watch:
Having lost both Mike Rhodes and Chris Ashton to injury in the opening 10 minutes, the south west club began to apply the pressure on the Sarries defence and the pendulum swung firmly in the favour of the Chiefs.
Fly-half Gareth Steenson levelled the scores with two penalties himself, before a sustained period of pressure just before half time saw Sarries’ backs-to-the-wall defence continuously bombarded.
- 1 Famous Hampstead Heath love swan Mrs Newbie dies
- 2 'Feels like a runway': Hampstead residents call for LED lamp post change
- 3 Guilty: Kentish Town man convicted of murdering Jack Ampadu
- 4 'Victim-blaming': Disabled woman fears leaving flat after neighbour's abuse
- 5 Italian sandwich bar set to open in Hampstead phone box
- 6 'Let's save The Victoria pub in Highgate'
- 7 Wine, cheese and caviar: New bar to open in South End Green
- 8 'Heart of the community': Muswell Hill Library celebrates 90 years
- 9 Top producer gives hit making masterclass
- 10 Prince William brings environmental Earthshot Prize ceremony to Ally Pally
Uncharacteristic errors started to encroach into Sarries’ game early in the second forty and a weary-looking Saracens defence began to crack.
Jack Nowell put the Chiefs ahead after picking up from the base of a ruck and dived over from close range. Steenson converted for a 13-6 lead.
The seven-point deficit gave Sarries the impetus and with it reduced the arrears with a finely worked Chris Wyles try in the corner following most phases they had built in the game.
Farrell failed to convert and with two points behind, Sarries applied some pressure of their own and looked to have won the contest when Ellery’s acrobatics put the visitors ahead on the 75 minute mark.
The Chiefs hit back with the knock-out blow with Simmonds crossing the line after a well worked rolling maul.
Sarries will be disappointed to be not competing in their fourth consecutive final, but in Exeter they were halted by arguably the best side in the league this season who will look to go one better next week.