Saracens beat Wasps in record-breaking semi to reach Premiership final

Aviva Premiership semi-final
Saracens: (23) 57
Tries: Lozowski, Koch, Wyles, Figallo, Itoje, Spencer Cons: Farrell 6 Pens: Farrell 5
Wasps: (5) 33
Tries: Le Roux 2, Cooper-Woolley, Young, Wade Cons: Gopperth 2, Cipriani 2

Saracens made their fourth Premiership final in five years as they beat Wasps in a record-breaking semi-final.

Owen Farrell kicked 27 points, Chris Wyles scored a fifth semi-final try in eight years and the 11 tries and 90 combined points were all records.

Billy Vunipola lasted a half as the England man showed no ill-effects as he returned from a hamstring injury.

Sarries led 23-5 at the break before an eight-try second period which saw Wasps get to within 10 points at one stage.

Mark McCall’s side will meet champions Exeter – who they beat in the 2016 final and lost to in the semi-finals last season – at Twickenham next Saturday following the Chiefs’ victory over Newcastle.

  • Relive Saracens’ thrilling victory over Wasps
  • Exeter ease to semi-final win over Newcastle

Sarries blow Wasps away

Danny Cipriani and Owen Farrell<!–

Saracens’ forwards dominated their opponents in the opening period as they caused eight turnovers.

The first – from a knock-on by Wasps fly-half Danny Cipriani – led to the possession which saw Farrell skip through the visitors’ defence before offloading to Alex Lozowski for the second-fastest try in Premiership semi-final history after just 94 seconds.

A second Saracens try for Nick Isiekwe was ruled out six minutes later for a knock-on, but Sarries only had to wait one more minute to breach Wasps’ defence again – Vincent Koch going over after Maro Itoje was held up just short.

Jimmy Gopperth had a Wasps try ruled out by the television match official after going into touch just before he grounded the ball, but, after two Farrell penalties, Wasps did go over as Willie le Roux ended a flowing move down the right.

Wasps were dealt a further blow late in the half as flanker Jack Willis, who received his first England call-up last week, was forced off with a knee injury which could keep him out of this summer’s tour of South Africa.

Another frenetic start

Chris Wyles scores for Saracens<!–

It took just three minutes for Saracens to get past Wasps following the restart as Wyles broke the record for Premiership semi-final tries on his final appearance at Allianz Park after his pack set up a great platform for Farrell and Brad Barritt to provide him with the ball.

Wasps rallied and should have pulled a try back straight away, but Elliot Daly’s effort in the left corner was controversially disallowed after the ball was adjudged to have hit the corner flag before being grounded.

However, Jake Cooper-Woolley made no mistake shortly after as he blasted over from close range.

They further narrowed the gap as Thomas Young went over under the posts after a great set-piece move, and they were further boosted as they held up Farrell as he tried to go over to end a pulsating first 10 minutes of the second half.

Farrell stretched the lead with two more penalties, but Le Roux got his second score after a lovely break from Guy Thompson as Wasps refused to give up.

But when Juan Figallo went over from a metre out after a great run by Sean Maitland, and Itoje did likewise seven minutes later to put the hosts 48-26 ahead, it was game over.

Wasps scored again when the impressive Thompson – who now leaves for Leicester – set up Christian Wade’s 70th-minute try with another excellent run.

But it was Sarries who had the final say as Ben Spencer’s try with seven minutes to go ended a match that will live long in the memory.

‘We’ve been peaking to do something like that’ – reaction

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall told BBC Radio 5 live:

“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.”

On Billy Vunipola: “Billy felt a small bit of tightness on his hamstring just before half-time so if he was to have any hope of playing next week then bringing him off was the tight thing to do.”

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire:

“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.”

Saracens: Goode; Maitland, Lozowski, Barritt (capt), Wyles; Farrell, Wigglesworth; M Vunipola, George, Koch, Itoje, Kruis, Isiekwe, Wray, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Brits, Barrington, Figallo, Skelton, Rhodes, Spencer, Bosch, Earle.

Wasps: Le Roux; Wade, De Jongh, Gopperth, Daly; Cipriani, Robson; B Harris, Cruse, Cooper-Woolley, Launchbury (capt), Myall, Willis, Young, Hughes.

Replacements: TJ Harris, Mullan, Moore, Gaskell, Thompson, Simpson, Eastmond, Bassett.

Referee: JP Doyle.

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