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5 things we learned from the Aviva Premiership final

Saracens became the first club to complete the Aviva Premiership and European double since 2004 after defeating Exeter 28-20 in the league final at Twickenham.

Here, Press Association Sport examines five lessons learnt from the game.


Saracens are the closest thing in the northern hemisphere to a rugby machine and it was not until the second half that Exeter found ways of challenging the juggernaut. It is risk averse so not always easy on the eye, but their willingness to play the percentages over and over again has lifted them to the summit of European rugby. And amid their suffocating pragmatism they produce moments of magic - Owen Farrell's kick for Duncan Taylor to touch down, a dynamic break from hooker Schalk Brits and the elegance of man of the match Alex Goode at full flight.


Listening to the 76,109 crowd, it sounded like Exeter were the London team given the numbers present at Twickenham. Hordes of Chiefs supporters made the three-hour journey from Devon to see their club's first appearance in a Premiership final and only received their reward when the Chiefs staged their post-interval fightback. Saracens are growing frustrated at their inability to develop a bigger fan base, believing their success deserves more, but an increase in numbers is proving elusive.


The 2016 Premiership final matched the top two teams in the table, but Saracens demonstrated once again they are the dominant force in the league. Exeter made their mark after the interval, but the double winners' response in the final five minutes was nerveless efficiency. The Chiefs will come again next season, Wasps are expected to kick on and neither Leicester nor Northampton can ever be discounted, but Saracens' age profile points to a team ready to found a lasting dynasty.


England head coach Eddie Jones continues to invest his faith in George Ford at fly-half, but Farrell is the nation's undisputed number one in the position. He was near-flawless again and unless Ford rediscovers his mojo soon, Jones will find it impossible to ignore the Saracen in his preferred spot at 10. The 24-year-old is a good option at inside centre, but Jones favours a physical presence in the position and Farrell's strengths lie elsewhere.


Henry Slade was asked by Jones to show he can do more than pass, but this was a leap backwards for the Exeter playmaker whose chances of adding to his two caps in Australia now appear remote. His kicking was poor, he split a high ball in the Twickenham sunshine and two attempts at a tackle were not enough to prevent Chris Wyles from scoring.


From Belfast Telegraph