Aviva Premiership reaction: Saracens beat Wasps in record-breaking semi-final, Exeter thrash Newcastle
Saracens will play Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership final next week after victories over Wasps and Newcastle Falcons respectively.
In a record-breaking semi-final, Saracens beat Wasps 57-33.
Owen Farrell kicked 27 points as Saracens ran in six tries from six different players.
Alex Lozowski, Vincent Koch, Chris Wyles, Juan Figallo, Maro Itoje and Ben Spencer all went over for Sarries.
Willie Le Roux’s try was the only reply for Exeter in the first half, but they came back to within 10 points in the second half with tries from Jake Cooper-Wooley, Tom Young, Le Roux and Christian Wade.
Exeter thrashed Newcastle 36-5 with Sam Simmonds kicking 21 points.
Nic White, Olly Woodburn and Don Armand scored for Exeter with Alex Tait scoring Newcastle’s only try.
Read reaction from both matches below.
Saracens v Wasps reaction
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall: “We’ve been involved in an extraordinary game.
“We switched off and let them back into it but we played some brilliant rugby today, and when it became a 36-26 game we kept playing and didn’t panic.
“The first 25 minutes was the best we’ve been this season and it feel like we’ve been peaking to do something like that.”
Saracens fly-half Alex Lozowski: “It was nice to score in front of our home crowd. I lost the plot a bit when I scored which is a bit embarrassing! It was nice to go over in a win.
“It was a tough game. Wasps were their usual selves, very threatening on the ball and caused us some problems. We have things to work on defensively for next week but overall we’re really happy. The attack is going really well. We’re causing teams problems, finding space, we’re really physical and direct which is really good.
“We’ll enjoy the win but get back to training Monday and look forward to the final.”
Wasps director Dai Young: “The first 20 minutes wasn’t good enough and put us under lots of pressure, but you have to give Saracens a lot of credit.
“We knew one of the challenges we would have to meet would be to stop their big ball carriers getting over the gain line and unfortunately we didn’t quite achieve that and they got too many yards.
“They started getting the scoreboard ticking over and we ended up chasing the game.
“Saracens were outstanding today and a little bit too powerful for us, but we played some good stuff and got a score and a half behind, but they found another gear and kept a comfortable distance between the teams.”
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons reaction
Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter: “Winning is great, but the manner of our win was very pleasing.
“We knew that we would have to work very hard against a team that’s been very resilient in defence and that has a lot of collective belief and energy, and as the game went those points took some scoring.
“We didn’t get frustrated from the scores coming slowly and we actually built our performance.
“Often when you’re in that scenario when the pressure’s on you a little bit and you’re not getting the scores your possession demands it can be very easy to push something. We did that a couple of times, but not too often.”
Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards: “The two sides that are the most accurate in the way they play are Saracens and Exeter and today showed that.
“The possession they had in the first half is testament to our defence on the day. In attack we were a bit impatient, and this is where they’re incredibly good – they have a huge amount of patience and they’re very accurate about what they’re trying to do.
“A lot of the journalists here today tipped us to be relegated this year, so it’s quite interesting that we’ve done as well as we have done. I’m delighted for the players more than anything.”