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Exeter to face Saracens in English Premiership final

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Exeter to face Saracens in English Premiership final
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LONDON (Reuters) – Defending champions Exeter Chiefs will face Saracens in the English Premiership final after overwhelming Newcastle Falcons 36-5 in the second playoff semi-final on Saturday.

Joe Simmonds kicked three first-half penalties and Nic White powered over to send the Chiefs into the break with a 16-0 lead in a match dominated by Exeter’s pack.

Simmonds added two penalties after the restart before Newcastle got on the scoreboard after Toby Flood released Alex Tait close to the hour mark.

Olly Woodburn went over in the corner for his ninth try of the season to extend Exeter’s lead to 24 points and Thomas Waldrom set up Don Armand to complete the rout with 10 minutes left.

Earlier in the day, Owen Farrell kicked 27 points as Saracens swatted aside Wasps 57-33 in the other semi-final.

The England flyhalf set his team on their way early in the first half, bursting through from halfway before offloading for Alex Lozowski to go over under the posts with less then three minutes gone.

Lock Maro Itoje powered to within inches of the line before prop Vincent Koch dived over to double Saracens’ lead as they swarmed all over their opponents.

Farrell added two penalties to put Saracens 20-0 up before Wasps replied with a Willie Le Roux try, but a third penalty by Farrell sent his team into the halftime break with a comfortable lead.

Saracens began the second half like they did the first as Chris Wyles crossed in the corner to leave Wasps needing a miracle.

Prop Jake Cooper-Woolley kept Wasps alive by bullying his way over after a lineout and Jimmy Gopperth converted to cut the deficit to 18 points.

Danny Cipriani and Christian Wade combined for Thomas Young to score under the posts as Wasps threatened an unlikely comeback, but Farrell struck another penalty to give Saracens breathing space.

The 26-year-old slotted over another kick and although Le Roux kept Wasps in touch with a try just after the hour mark, Juan Figallo and Itoje crossed for Saracens to put the result beyond doubt.

There was still time for records to fall, Wade scoring for Wasps and Ben Spencer adding another for Saracens to bring the curtain down on the highest scoring Premiership semi-final.

Exeter and Saracens, English champions in 2015 and 2016, finished first and second in the regular season standings and will meet in the final at Twickenham next Saturday.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru,; Editing by Toby Davis and Ed Osmond)

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