BATH 16 SARACENS 28
Fly-half Owen Farrell admitted Saracens drew on last season’s heartache after they clinched a 28-16 Aviva Premiership final victory over Bath at Twickenham on Saturday.
Mark McCall’s side erased the painful memories of last year’s extra-time final defeat to Northampton as tries from Owen Farrell, Jamie George and Chris Wyles saw them run out convincing winners at the home of English rugby for their second title in five years.
Farrell finished a man-of-the-match display with 18 points as Saracens became the first club since Premiership play-offs were introduced 12 years ago to lift silverware after finishing outside the top two in the regular season.
“It’s been a good season for us, we’ve had to work hard to get to where we are today and that has pulled us tighter as a group,” he told BT Sport 1.
“It’s made us work hard and we’ve drawn on a couple of experiences we’ve had before and thankfully we’ve come good on the day.”
Bath recovered from a 25-3 half-time deficit with a much-improved second-half display in which Jonathan Joseph crossed the whitewash and George Ford kicked a conversion and two penalties but they could not end their 19-year wait for a top-flight title as Farrell and co held on for victory.
“We built a good lead and we had to stay on it in the second half ,” the 23-year-old England international added.
“We knew they were going to come after us and throw everything at us from the start of the second half but thankfully we held on in there and got the win.”
Saracens scraped into the play-offs afters securing a fourth-placed regular season finish and rugby director McCall paid tribute to his players for their determined performance against a side that thumped Leicester 47-10 en route to the final.
“To perform the way we did in the first half was exceptional and Bath were always going to come back in the second half and they showed what they were capable of but we hung in there and are absolutely thrilled to win,” the Irishman said.
“It’s (last year’s defeat) always in the back of your mind and people deal with it in different ways. We were very clear that we were owed nothing because of the way it ended last year - we had to deserve it and earn it.”
Bath last left a showpiece Twickenham occasion as winners in 1996 when they beat Leicester to win the English domestic knockout cup final and Bath skipper Stuart Hooper admitted his side were second best throughout Saturday’s game.
“I guess one of the reasons we play sport is that if you win you get your moment and credit to Saracens they will be on the podium today with the trophy.
“It’s hugely disappointing but we need to make sure that we realise that it was not a wasted year. We worked hard and got to this point but we didn’t really do ourselves justice today.
“Credit to Saracens for winning as they’re a fantastic team and deserve it.”