Owen farrell steers saracens to premiership final in blitz over wasps sport the guardian year 6 electricity


Saracens have made it their business of late to put sides away in the second half, winning their past four matches by an average of 54-11. Their form might have been explained away by the procession of opposition they have faced with little or nothing to play for, but here was confirmation it had not been flattering.

They did not wait until the second half to cut loose this time. They did not even wait till the end of the second minute. Farrell scythed between Joe Launchbury and Jake Cooper-Woolley after barely 90 seconds and found on his shoulder Alex Lozowski, who had run a brilliant supporting line, for the first try.

Wasps were all over the place around the fringes, and the Saracens runners, from sufficiently various angles to confound a far meaner defence, poured through. Questions have been asked of the wisdom of Mako Vunipola’s touring with England, but he looked unstoppable with ball in hand. That said, Richard Wigglesworth could take his pick of the forwards presenting themselves at pace.

Ten minutes later he chose Maro Itoje, another England player back in the swing, to crash through and Vincent Koch followed up for the try. Wasps thought they had replied almost immediately, Elliot Daly and Jimmy Gopperth combining spectacularly, but the latter’s arm was touch-in-goal before the ball was down.

Saracens kept coming, but they would not score another try until the start of the second half. Three penalties did accrue from the boot of Farrell, one from a scrum, another area of dominance. It was Wasps, rather, who scored the second quarter’s only try, Christian Wade and Juan de Jongh sending Willie le Roux over.

Daly was unlucky to be denied a try by the TMO a couple of minutes later, but Wasps had their second when Cooper-Woolley barged through Nick Isiekwe from an attacking lineout, before Wasps hit their highest note yet. Wade took an inside pass to cut Saracens to shreds and turn the ball inside for Thomas Young to gallop 35 metres to the line. Wasps were back to within 11 with half an hour to play.

It was then 10 with 20 to go. Farrell steadied Saracens with a couple of penalties, but Wasps struck again on the hour. Danny Cipriani sent Guy Thompson through a gap and the latter sent Le Roux to the tryline for his second and a 36-26 scoreline.

It was as close as Wasps would get. Saracens seemed exasperated by the way the visitors were now cutting them up, but they never seemed in trouble. They duly killed the game off with two tries in the next 10 minutes, Juan Figallo from short range after Shalk Brits had cut Wasps down the left, then Sean Maitland the right, and Itoje, who galloped home from rather further out.

Eddie Jones would have enjoyed watching Saracens, such was the form of several of his key players in their 57-33 play-off win over Wasps, but it seems likely he will be denied the services of one of his most promising youngsters, Jack Willis , for England’s tour to South Africa next month. The Wasps flanker was helped from the field towards the end of the first half, having hyperextended his knee. The initial prognosis is not positive.