Saracens 44 Gloucester 19
Nick Tompkins scored a second-half hat-trick as Saracens booked their place in their fifth Premiership final in six years as they put on a statement performance, thrashing Gloucester at Allianz Park.
Saracens scored a staggering 44 unanswered points on the way to victory and their exceptional all-round performance puts them in great stead for next Saturday’s final.
Tompkins first score was just ninety seconds into the second half as he showed blistering pace to expose Gloucester’s sloppy defence and score a converted try.
He scored his second try of the game after Sarries made an emphatic break as their superior attack punished Gloucester as they went from their own 22 to the opposition try line and the substitute centre capped a wonderful converted try.
The inside centre then completed his hat-trick on 57 minutes after he powered over the line from close range for a converted try.
The Cherry and Whites actually took the lead after just two minutes through clever hands by the backline, the ball fell to No.8 Ben Morgan who went over to score a converted try.
However, Sarries hit back on the kick off through Liam Williams who kept the restart in and then a beautifully weighted kick in behind by Owen Farrell picked out Sean Maitland, who went over in the corner for an unconverted try.
Despite Sarries overall dominance, starman Owen Farrell had a difficult time with the tee as he missed numerous penalty kicks that seemed to have been in his scoring range.
Saracens were excellent at the breakdown throughout and forced Gloucester to concede penalties in dangerous positions in their own 22.
Man of the match Ben Spencer’s kicking from hand put Gloucester under constant pressure, as he pegged back the Gloucester defence to restrict their momentum to a bare minimum.
His impressive performance was capped with a first-half converted try, after a wonderful break by Maro Itoje who dummied first, then offloaded to his nine who increase the home sides lead.
European player of the year Alex Goode endured an impressive performance and his vital try-saving interception on half an hour, shouldn’t go unnoticed, especially considering the scores that followed.
Sarries went down the other end and won a penalty at the breakdown in Gloucester territory and Farrell stepped up to increase the home sides lead.
Williams then added to Sarries lead with an unconverted try after a great break by centre Alex Lozowski, who won the aerial duel against Danny Cipriani and he picked out the Welsh winger in the corner for his eighth try of the season.
Gloucester scored two consolation tries and finished the game strong. Prop Ruan Dreyer powered over to score a converted try and then Lewis Ludlow scored an unconverted score after being picked out by an offload from Billy Twelvetrees.
Can anyone stop Saracens?
Saracens will play either Exeter Chiefs or Northampton Saints in the final next Saturday and their devastating kick in behind tactic, with Spencer’s ability with the ball in hand and Williams and Maitland’s aerial ability, will scare the winner of that other semi-final.
They’ll play the Chiefs and Rob Baxter’s side will look to England international Jack Nowell and co to deal with Sarries seemingly unstoppable aerial dominance, providing they defeat the Saints this afternoon.
It is a disappointing end to Gloucester’s season but Johan Ackermann’s side will take confidence from a good campaign and will be back again next year in the mix and if Cipriani has another season like this one, it’ll be a surprise if they don’t make it to the playoffs again.
Man of the match Spencer said: ‘We didn’t get off to the best of starts, but the boys stuck at it for 80 minutes and I thought our physicality was outstanding today.
‘Nick came on and did ever so well, he might not look the strongest but it takes a lot to get him down so credit to him.’
Hat-trick hero Tompkins said: ‘We’ve tried to get to a point where nothing’s going to set us back, nothings going to drain our energy good or bad. Ben was a massive help today he helps with the set piece, the exits, getting the ball back in the air. Ben and Wigglesworth are both excellent at it and there a massive help in sticky situations.
Written by Ben Jaycock