May 19, 2018
Sarries defeat Wasps in thrilling game to reach Premiership final
Saracens will compete for the Aviva Premiership crown after overcoming Wasps 57-33 in a thrilling battle at Allianz Park.
Owen Farrell kicked 27 points in total and the Wolfpack scored six tries through Alex Lozowski, Vincent Koch, Chris Wyles, Juan Figallo, Maro Itoje and Ben Spencer.
Wasps were in good form on the scoring front themselves with Willie Le Roux (2), Jake Cooper-Woolley, Thomas Young and Christian Wade crossing but Sarries proved too strong in the end and booked their place in the final at Twickenham.
An electric atmosphere and a sea of black and red flags greeted Jackson Wray and his two little ones to recognise his 200th appearance for the club before things kicked off with a bang.
Farrell raced through a hole and popped inside for Lozowski to dot down under the posts, giving a little fist pump as he crossed.
A similar defence-splitting run from Mako Vunipola put Sarries on the front foot once more. Brother Billy then rumbled to towards the try line, but a knock-on prevented Nick Isiekwe claiming a second Saracens try inside 10 minutes.
The hosts didn’t have to wait long for another opportunity to extend their lead. After some slick hands and a few barnstorming carries, Koch benefitted from Itoje’s long place to bundle over.
Then Wasps showed why they have one of the best attacks in the league. From the base of a scrum in the middle of the park, the Coventry outfit shipped the ball wide with pace, kicked through and Jimmy Gopperth was only denied by his arm brushing the touchline.
Farrell nudged Sarries further ahead with a penalty and the England fly-off then secured additional three points from the tee after a superb scrum against the head.
At 20-0 Saracens were cruising but as they had shown moments earlier, Wasps have the ability to turn it on – this time to devastating effect.
Dai Young’s side moved the ball from left to right in a flash and Le Roux grateful received the last pass to put their first points on the board.
Farrell’s boot made the gap 18 at the break before Saracens bagged their third try of the game. Alex Goode has combined with Wyles many times in his career and the fullback’s cute hands allowed the ex-USA international to dive in the corner on his last outing at Allianz Park.
Wasps’ response was immediate. Elliot Daly thought he had got the ball down, only to be thwarted by the TMO; then Cooper-Woolley crashed over from close range.
With their tails up, a move off the training ground saw the 10-12 axis of Danny Cipriani and Gopperth set Christian Wade free and his accurate pass led to Young sprinting under the posts.
Farrell added some breathing space with two penalties but Wasps kept buzzing about and Guy Thompson came off the bench to send Le Roux in unopposed.
The away contingent in north London were starting to become rowdy, the home crowd drowning them out with cries of ‘Sarries!’ and they were rewarded for their vocal efforts when Figallo bulldozed over for his second in as many games.
Itoje deservedly got on the scoresheet late on for his fantastic performance and Farrell converted to make it four out of five games in a row that Sarries have reached 50 points.
Wade replied but it proved in vain as Spencer ran in for his 11th of the campaign to round things off.
A great contest, full of free-flowing rugby and Saracens are off to Twickenham!
15 Alex Goode (Bosch 76'),14 Sean Maitland, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Brad Barritt ©, 11 Chris Wyles,10 Owen Farrell (Earle 76'), 9 Richard Wigglesworth (Spencer 68'); 1 Mako Vunipola (Barrington 72'), 2 Jamie George (Brits 56'), 3 Vincent Koch (Figallo 56'), 4 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis (Skelton 72'), 6 Nick Isiekwe, 7 Jackson Wray, 8 Billy Vunipola (Rhodes 40').
16 Schalk Brits, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Michael Rhodes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Marcelo Bosch,23 Nathan Earle.
Tries: Lozowski (2'), Koch (12'), Wyles (43'), Figallo (64'), Itoje (71') Spencer (76').
Conversions: Farrell 6/6
Penalties: Farrell 5/5
15. Willie Le Roux, 14. Christian Wade, 13. Juan De Jongh, 12. Jimmy Gopperth, 11. Elliot Daly, 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Dan Robson; 1. Ben Harris, 2. Tom Cruse, 3. Jake Cooper-Woolley, 4. Joe Launchbury (c), 5. Kearnan Myall, 6. Jack Willis (Thompson 38'), 7. Thomas Young, 8. Nathan Hughes.
16. TJ Harris, 17. Matt Mullan, 18. Marty Moore, 19. James Gaskell, 20. Guy Thompson, 21. Joe Simpson, 22. Kyle Eastmond, 23. Josh Bassett.
Tries: Le Roux(23'),Cooper-Wooley (47') Young (50'),LeRoux (62'), Wade (73').
Conversions: Gopperth 2/4; Cipriani 2/2;
Man of the Match: Owen Farrell