Saracens claimed their third Aviva Premiership title in four years after overwhelming Exeter 27-10 in the Twickenham final.
Here Press Association Sport examines five things learned from a one-sided climax to the club season.
The 2017-18 Premiership was graced by the final it deserved after Exeter and Saracens emerged from the league campaign as heavyweights destined to lock horns for the Chiefs’ crown, but the occasion failed to meet expectations due to the dominance of Mark McCall’s men. When the champions replaced five players in the 49th minute as they trailed 19-3, it was an unprecedented admission that drastic change was needed but the deficit was already too vast.
Exeter have set the Premiership alight, the competition’s only financially solvent club matching their shrewd business acumen with an equally smart approach to evolving on the pitch, but their young team was taken apart by opponents hardened by appearing in seven of the last 10 major finals on these shores and in Europe. And given the youthful age of their team, three titles from the last four campaigns could be the beginning of a long-term dynasty.
Saracens have developed into a magnificent club and are fine standbearers for the English game, but they deserve a larger fanbase. Their support was comprehensively outnumbered by Chiefs fans in a 75,128 crowd at Twickenham, which rang out to the sound of the Tomahawk Chop for much of the afternoon. In the past they have not always been an easy club to like but now they are admired throughout the game. Allianz Park regularly sells out and those games held at Wembley have always been successes, but their achievements warrant a far greater following.
TRY @Saracens 🔥@bvunipola gets the first try of the #AvivaPremFinal with a powerful finish from close-range to give @Saracens the lead!— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) May 26, 2018
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It was a performance to delight Eddie Jones who will have welcomed the sight of Billy Vunipola rampaging around Twickenham for almost 60 minutes. England’s number eight has endured an injury-ravaged year and his latest comeback was threatened to be derailed by a niggling hamstring injury, but there was no evidence of any discomfort as swept the Chiefs aside with a series of forceful carries that augers well for next month’s tour to South Africa.
World class display from@@Mako_Vunipola ! #BestInTheWorld— Alex Corbisiero (@AlexCorbs) May 26, 2018
Billy’s elder brother is fast becoming one of game’s great forwards and his man of the match performance full of marauding runs and ferocious tackles is typical of his output over the past year. The Lions prop will head to South Africa as England’s in form player who will carry the fight to the Springboks.