Saracens in cruise control as Tomkins leads them them to Gallagher Premiership final
PUBLISHED: 15:29 25 May 2019
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Saracens kept their hopes of the double intact with a comfortable 44-19 win over Gloucester in the Gallagher Premiership semi-final.
It has been two weeks since their mentally and physically draining Heineken Cup success and while they weren't at their usual dominating best at Allianz Park, they didn't need to be as the simply overpowered the Cherry and Whites.
They bagged six tries with a second half hat-trick from replacement Nick Tompkins on his 100th appearance for the club leading the way.
They could even survive a misfiring Owen Farrell who showed he was human with some fairly simple misses for his standards.
But Gloucester will look at this performance with huge disappointment.
The stage was set but they simply didn't turn up after taking an early lead with their late surge simply a matter of salvaging pride.
It was especially disappointing for the army of support who had made their way across to north London.
The noise before kick-off from the travelling Gloucester fans was loud enough to think you were standing in the Shed.
It was spine-tingling stuff and it went up a few decibels when Ben Morgan rumbled over in the third minute after aa beautiful passing move that went first left and then right to find the big number eight in acres of space.
The home crowd got their chance to raise the roof just two minutes later though when Farrell slipped a grubber through to the left corner and Sean Maitland picked it up and dotted down.
And although the England fly-half was off target with his conversion, the momentum had already shifted.
Prior to the game a lot had been made of the match up between Danny Cipriani and Farrell, especially with one eye on this autumn's World Cup.
And the Gloucester man suffered a miserable first half.
His first long kick went directly to touch and then a loose pass backwards went to ground forcing the 10 to dive on it and hold on to it for too long.
Farrell slotted the penalty and should have added a second from roughly the same point eight minutes later but his effort struck the post.
But Saracens kept the pressure on and Ben Spencer waltzed in unopposed after Maro Itoje had burst through a gap in the middle.
Farrell added the conversion to that and his third attempt with a penalty, again from that central spot 25 metres out, bisected the uprights and although the Saracens fly-half wasn't functioning as well as he normally does either, he made it up for it with a big assist for the third try
A long bomb forward was beautifully taken by Alex Lozowski and after drawing the last man he sent Liam Williams over in the corner.
Gloucester were back on the pitch first after the half-time interval and you just knew the call would have been for more, and to cut out the silly penalties in dangerous positions.
A lot of their attacking intent had come from Mark Atkinson taking the ball in the 10 position and Cipriani looping.
The 12 was nursing a knock just over 60 seconds from the restart as Nick Tompkins celebrated his 100th Saracens appearance with one of his easiest tries.
He simply ran down the left wing without Gloucester getting a hand on him as the game was killed off once and for all.
Farrell continued to be loose with his kicking as two penalties went wide but Tomkins' centenary was going swimmingly as he got a second try, finishing off a breakaway where Saracens were lining up to score.
That came from a turnover on the hosts' 10m line, one which incensed both the Gloucester staff and fans.
In fact Luke Pearce was the focus of a lot of ire from the Cherry and Whites and as the scores kept coming against them, and the decisions as well, the white flag was slowly raised.
Tomkins completed a 14-minute hat-trick but again it was too easy as Saracens pummelled the line.
Gloucester did come back into it late on and tries from their own replacements, Ruan Dreyer and Lewis Ludlow, made the final result slightly better-looking.
Saracens will have to raise their game for the final, of that there is no doubt, but they have a habit of doing just that.
Saracens: Barrington, George, Koch, Skelton, Kruis, Itoje, Wray, Vunipola, Spencer, Farrell, Maitland, Barritt, Lozowski, Williams, Goode.
Replacements: Gray, Adams-Hale, Judge, Isiekwe, Rhodes, Wigglesworth, Tompkins, Strettle.
Tries: Maitland 5, Spencer 29, Williams 37, Tompkins 42, 50, 56
Conversions: Farrell 29, 42, 50, 56
Penalties: Farrell 17, 35
Gloucester: Hohneck, Marais, Balmain, Slater, Mostert, Ackermann, Kriel, Morgan, Heinz, Cipriani, Marshall, Atkinson, Twelvetrees, Sharples, Woodward.
Replacements: Sherry, Rapava Ruskin, Dreyer, Savage, Ludlow, Polledri, Vellacott, Purdy.
Tries: Morgan 3, Dreyer 59, Ludlow 67
Conversions: Twelvetrees 3, 59
HT: Saracens 23 Gloucester 7
Referee: Luke Pearce (Pontypool, Wales)