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Gallagher Premiership: Saracens take biggest win over Exeter Chiefs as Gloucester edge London Irish | Rugby Union News | Sky Sports

Gallagher Premiership: Saracens take biggest win over Exeter Chiefs as Gloucester edge London Irish | Rugby Union News | Sky Sports

Saracens take their biggest win over Exeter Chiefs with 35-3 drubbing; Gloucester seize last-minute victory over London Irish, pipping them 8-6; Bath lift themselves from the bottom of the table as they overcome Newcastle 24-16, captain Ben Spencer providing the decisive score

Last Updated: 31/12/22 6:00pm

Owen Farrell lines up a kick for Saracens in their victory over Exeter Chiefs

Owen Farrell lines up a kick for Saracens in their victory over Exeter Chiefs

Owen Farrell starred for Saracens with a man-of-the-match performance in their biggest win over Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.

Saracens bounced back from their shock defeat to London Irish by crushing arch-rivals Exeter 35-3 at StoneX Stadium.

The Gallagher 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.

Marco Riccioni was one of Saracens' try-scorers (Photo: James Manning/PA Wire/PA Images)

Marco Riccioni was one of Saracens’ try-scorers (Photo: James Manning/PA Wire/PA Images)

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 top of the table.

Owen Farrell provided the highlight of the afternoon 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 was missing several key players and conceded 16 penalties in total with 11 awarded in the second half.

In the 10th minute, Saracens went 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.

A Joe Simmonds penalty got Exeter off the mark but Saracens hit back immediately, attacking with speed and precision as Sean Maitland put the finishing touch on Farrell’s grubber.

Exeter, meanwhile, struggled to stitch any meaningful phases together and only Jack 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.

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 a bonus point sealed once 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.

Carreras delivers victory with final kick of the game

Santiago Carreras’ 45-metre penalty, the last kick of the match, ensured London Irish’s miserable record at Gloucester continued with an 8-6 defeat at a sold-out Kingsholm.

The Exiles have only won twice at the venue in the Premiership, their last victory coming in 2013, and despite the close final scoreline, it would have been an injustice if they’d ended their losing run.

London Irish's Ben White is tackled by Gloucester Rugby's Matias Alemanno and Harry Elrington (Photo: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire/PA Images)

London Irish’s Ben White is tackled by Gloucester Rugby’s Matias Alemanno and Harry Elrington (Photo: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire/PA Images)

It was hard to fathom how Gloucester had to rely on a last-minute kick to secure victory, such was their domination of possession and territory, though the visitors scrapped hard throughout.

Lock Matias Alemanno scored the only try of the game to move Gloucester up to fourth in the table, with Paddy Jackson replying with two penalties for Irish.

Alemanno forced his way over from close range. That try was the only score of the first quarter in which Irish had failed to muster any semblance of an attack.

Gloucester then suffered an injury blow when hooker Santiago Socino was stretchered off with a leg injury. Barely a minute later lock Alex Craig followed his team-mate off the field having hurt his wrist.

London Irish centre Bernhard Janse van Rensburg made a couple of surges and when Gloucester were penalised Jackson put his side on the scoreboard to leave them trailing 5-3 at the interval.

Santiago Carreras scores the winning penalty kick

Santiago Carreras scores the winning penalty kick

Nine minutes after the restart, Gloucester looked to have been gifted a second try. From a line-out close to their line, an under-pressure Jackson knocked on for Gloucester’s prop Harry Elrington to claim a touchdown in the ensuing melee but TMO replays saw the try ruled out.

That was the nearest either side came to scoring in a featureless third quarter.

With nine minutes remaining, the hosts were made to pay when Albert Tuisue was yellow-carded for a high tackle on van Rensburg. Jackson knocked over the resulting penalty from 30 metres, only for the last-minute effort from Carreras saved Gloucester.

Captain Spencer scores decisive try for Bath

Skipper Ben Spencer underlined his importance to Bath with a decisive second-half try in a 24-16 win against Newcastle that lifted them off the bottom of the Gallagher Premiership.

On a wet and muddy afternoon at the Rec, the scrum-half’s touchdown followed tries by Ollie Lawrence and Ted Hill, with Orlando Bailey converting all three and adding a 79th-minute penalty.

Bath’s fourth league victory of the season means they complete the double over Newcastle, whose only try came from hooker Jamie Blamire.

In the 13th minute, Bailey dinked the ball over the defence. A slithering Sam Stuart failed to gather the ball, then watched helplessly as Lawrence surfed in to score under the posts. Bailey added the conversion.

Orlando Bailey carries the ball for Bath (Photo: Steven Paston/PA Wire/PA Images)

Orlando Bailey carries the ball for Bath (Photo: Steven Paston/PA Wire/PA Images)

Persistent infringements led to a yellow card for Niall Annett and Bath’s seven-man maul defence eventually cracked, as his opposite number Blamire finished off a catch-and-drive, with the try being converted by Brett Connon.

A two-minute session of kick-tennis between the sides drew ironic cheers from the sell-out crowd of 14,509, but the Falcons were looking the more assured outfit.

Even more so when flanker Gary Graham picked a perfect line off a ruck on the Bath 22, only for Hill and Dave Attwood to wrap him up as he crossed the try-line, somehow preventing the touchdown.

Bath were on the back foot for the rest of the half and were indebted to number eight Josh Bayliss for a turnover at a ruck just short of the try-line.

A second Connon penalty five minutes into the second half put the Falcons 13-7 ahead. But a couple of minutes later, a moment of magic by Lawrence, stepping through the mud, had Newcastle under such pressure that full-back Elliott Obatoyinbo was sin-binned for killing a ruck.

Bath worked the ball left and then to the posts where Hill emerged with a big, muddied smile after touching down, Bailey adding the conversion.

The home supporters were celebrating again 10 minutes later after the TMO confirmed a try by Spencer under a pile of bodies as he celebrated his contract extension in style.

Bailey added the conversion for a 21-13 lead but Connon pulled three points back with his third penalty on the hour.

Bailey slotted a 40-metre penalty to clinch victory, while Connon missed an effort at the other end that would have secured a losing bonus point.

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