Brad Barritt hailed Saracens’ “relentless appetite to improve” after they secured a fourth Aviva Premiership title with victory over Exeter at Twickenham.
A 27-10 win ended the Chiefs’ title reign and gave Saracens a third top-flight title in four seasons.
It also completed a memorable turnaround from losing seven successive games in all competitions during November and December, including a 46-14 home drubbing by European Champions Cup opponents Clermont Auvergne.
“If you look back to that period, this probably ranks as one of the proudest turnarounds,” Saracens skipper Barritt said.
“Our performances have improved and the relentless appetite to improve as a team and as an individual has been remarkable.
“It’s been easy for me as a captain because I’ve had six to seven leaders across the park, and that collective ownership has come through in spades.
“It has driven the team to a new height, and you can see from the performance where this team has gone to.”
Saracens’ pursuit of a Champions Cup hat-trick this term ended at the quarter-final stage with defeat to eventual winners Leinster.
Asked if that setback had provided fuel for the season run-in, Barritt added: “I think hugely.
“We knew we weren’t quite on it that day. There were small bits in our game that were off.
“We pride ourselves on being relentless, and Leinster obviously taught us a bit of a lesson in switching off for two key moments and what can happen in big games.
“I think added to that is a clean bill of health – credit to our performance staff and our medical staff in getting the team (ready) that we had out on the field on Saturday. The performance speaks volumes about what the organisation is about.”
Saracens’ Twickenham triumph produced the biggest winning margin in a Premiership final since 2013, as wing Chris Wyles’ try double and touchdowns from Billy Vunipola and Nathan Earle saw them home.
Wyles, together with hooker Schalk Brits, made their farewell appearances before retiring from professional rugby, and Barritt said: “It’s sad for us to say goodbye to two absolute legends of the club.
“We all know as players what Chris and Schalk have given to Saracens and the many memories they’ve given the club.
“We can’t speak enough about what a galvanising force they have been for the culture at Saracens, so I just want to put on record what unbelievable people they’ve been.
“They have been instrumental in building the culture, and they leave with the full support of the organisation and a huge thanks, personally, for what they’ve given to the club.”
Exeter rugby director Rob Baxter, meanwhile, is upbeat about his squad’s future prospects after losing a second Premiership final in three seasons – both to Saracens.
“If I am really honest, the most pleasing thing for me moving forward is that, on average, we were the youngest Premiership team in the competition this year and we’ve got to the final,” he said.
“We finished top of the league, and from a coach’s perspective you have got to be massively enthusiastic about that.
“We got to the final. We had a tough experience in the semi-final and came through that very well, but we’ve still got an awful lot of players in that group who are learning to become international standard and the standard that wins Premierships, and are not yet reaching their potential.
“We’ve got to make sure we keep driving them as hard as we can.”