Saracens crush Exeter 43-21 to regain Premier 15s title

Saracens crush Exeter 43-21 to regain Premier 15s title

United States centre Alev Kelter was one of Saracens’ star performers
Exeter (7) 21
Tries: Garcia, Detiveaux, Jefferies Con: Cantorna 3
Saracens (22) 43
Tries: Packer 2, Fleetwood, Carson, Campbell, Corrigan Cons: Kelter 5 Pen: Kelter

England forward Marlie Packer scored two tries as Saracens proved too strong for Exeter in the Premier 15s final at Worcester’s Sixways.

Packer crossed for her first try after five minutes, powering through the fringe defence from close range.

Back-row colleague Vicky Fleetwood followed suit before Packer muscled over again on the stroke of half-time.

Jennine Detiveaux scored Exeter’s second to briefly hint at a comeback, but they could not reel Saracens in.

Exeter brought the majority of the 3,238-strong crowd up the M5 motorway to Sixways, but their attempt to break up the Saracens-Harlequins duopoly on the Premier 15s title fell some way short in the final reckoning.

The two London clubs have contested all three previous finals in the tournament’s short history and Saracens’ experience of the biggest stage showed with a performance of power and precision that squeezed the life out of a spirited Exeter.

Packer ended the afternoon with the player-of-the-match champagne as well as the Premier 15s trophy and Exeter could never contain a performance that ranked alongside her barnstorming best.

The 32-year-old crossed twice in the first half as Saracens’ quick-tempo ball prevented Exeter re-setting after initial line breaks.

Exeter were never deterred, flying up fast in defence and chancing their arm in attack. Fly-half Patricia Garcia, playing her final game before retirement, summed up their spirit as she danced through the cover defence to get her side on the board in the first half.

However, the game turned within seconds of the second-half restart. Exeter allowed the ball to bounce, Poppy Cleall snatched Holly Aitchison’s kick and, within a minute, Mackenzie Carson had gone over to put Saracens 31-7 up.

Detiveaux dived over at the end of a sumptuous move, started by centre Gabby Cantorna’s outside break and supported by good play from Garcia and McKinley Hunt, to breathe life into Exeter’s hopes, if briefly.

But Saracens’ advantage was too big and their purpose too clear to be denied.

Hooker May Campbell and wing Alysha Campbell crossed to restore and then extend the frontrunners’ advantage.

Ebony Jefferies’ smart blind-side break gave Exeter’s travelling support a final cheer, but Saracens had long since ensured they would take nothing else back to the south west.

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