Farrell steers Sarries to Exeter rout
SATURDAY WRAP: Saracens bounced back from their shock defeat to London Irish by crushing arch-rivals Exeter 35-3 in a Round 14 outing.
The 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 match 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 was 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.
* All Saturday’s scores and scorers
Bath 24-16 Newcastle Falcons
Tries: Lawrence, Hill, Spencer
Cons: Bailey 3
For Newcastle Falcons
Pens: Connon 3
Yellow cards: Niall Annett (Bath, 26), Elliott Obatoyinbo (Newcastle Falcons, 46)
Bath: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Ruaridh McConnochie, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Ben Spencer (captain), 8 Josh Bayliss, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Ted Hill, 5 Fergus Lee-Warner, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 D’Arcy Rae, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Lewis Boyce.
Replacements: 16 John Stewart, 17 Valeriy Morozov, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Miles Reid, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Jonathan Joseph, 23 Chris Cloete.
Newcastle: 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Ben Stevenson, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Tom Penny (captain), 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Sam Stuart, 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Callum Chick, 6 Gary Graham, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Trevor Davison, 2 Jamie Blamire, 1 Adam Brocklebank.
Replacements: 16 Ollie Fletcher, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Matthew Dalton, 20 Tom Marshall, 21 Michael Young, 22 Matias Moroni, 23 Adam Radwan.
Referee: Jack Makepeace
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Jonathan Healy
TMO: David Rose
Gloucester 8-6 London Irish
For London Irish
Pens: Jackson 2
Gloucester: 15 Lloyd Evans, 14 Jonny May, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Seb Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow (captain), 6 Harry Taylor, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Alex Craig, 3 Kirill Gotovtsev, 2 Santiago Socino, 1 Harry Elrington.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Alex Seville, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Cam Jordan, 20 Albert Tuisue, 21 Stephen Varney, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Tom Seabrook.
London Irish: 15 Ben Loader, 14 Lucio Cinti, 13 Benhard van Rensburg, 12 Rory Jennings, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben White, 8 Matt Rogerson (captain), 7 Tom Pearson, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Chunya Munga, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Oliver Hoskins, 2 Mike Willemse, 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke.
Replacements: 16 Ignacio Ruiz, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Lovejoy Chawatama, 19 Josh Caulfield, 20 Josh Basham, 21 Chandler Cunningham-South, 22 Joe Powell, 23 Luca Morisi.
Referee: Adam Leal
Assistant referees: Simon Harding, George Selwood
TMO: Andrew Jackson
Saracens 35-3 Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Christie, Maitland, Riccioni, Lewington, Tompkins
Cons: Farrell 2
Pens: Farrell 2
For Exeter Chiefs
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Max Malins, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jackson Wray, 6 Andy Christie, 5 Nick Isiekwe, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Kapeli Pifeleti, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Hugh Tizard, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Alex Lewington.
Exeter: 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Solomone Kata, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Sam Maunder, 8 Greg Fisilau, 7 Chris Tshiunza, 6 Santiago Grondona, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Dan Frost, 17 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 18 Patrick Schickerling, 19 Jack Dunne, 20 Lewis Pearson, 21 Tom Cairns, 22 Tom Hendrickson, 23 Rory O’Loughlin.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Dan Jones, Phil Watters
TMO: Rowan Kitt