Saracens celebrate winning the Championship play-off final on Sunday
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Saracens 57 Ealing Trailfinders 15
Owen Farrell insisted he was “itching” to get stuck into another monumental British and Irish Lions challenge in South Africa, after leading Saracens back into the Premiership at the first attempt.
The England captain and team-mates Jamie George, Mako Vunipola, Maro Itoje and Elliot Daly will join up with Warren Gatland’s squad this morning and Farrell will do so with a broad smile on his face, having inspired his side to a second crushing of Ealing Trailfinders.
Mark McCall’s men can relish the opportunity of trying to mix it again at the top of the elite English club game having lifted the Championship trophy with a resounding 117-15 aggregate success over Trailfinders. But first they have the little matter of a Lions tour, while others are likely to be involved in England’s two Tests against the United States and Canada next month.
Saracens buried Ealing under another eight tries and Farrell, who dished out the medals to his celebrating team-mates on the StoneX Stadium pitch at the end, said: “It’s been a strange old year. We enjoyed coming back and getting together after not much game time at the start. There are loads of things to take from this experience. Some of the younger guys will benefit from it. And some of the more experienced lads too will grow from what has happened and improve.
“We have a lot of players going away now, some with the Lions, some with England. I’m certainly itching to get involved with the Lions. That’s going to be huge as always, but I want to enjoy this with my club first.”
Director of rugby McCall lavished praise on those players who stuck by the club through thick and thin, and the agony of being demoted over the irregular payments scandal.
He said: “It feels good. It’s been a long 12 months and nice to get the job done. We were in crisis mode around November 2019 and anything could have happened to the club. But the unity and togetherness helped get us through. We go back into the Premiership with many of the same players who have stuck by us and showed faith in the club.”
It was not all plain sailing on Sunday for Sarries, who had flanker Michael Rhodes sent off for a dangerous second-half hit, and who huffed and puffed in the first half and were held 10-10 at the break.
They were reduced to 14 men in the opening couple of minutes when Jackson Wray was shown a yellow card by referee Luke Pearce for deliberately kicking the ball dead as it bounced dangerously over his own line, denying the attempts of Ealing pair Luke Daniels and Max Bodilly to dive on it.
Farrell managed a penalty but Ealing responded with Craig Willis extending the lead with his own kick. Sarries finally showed some cutting edge, with Mako Vunipola ploughing his way over the line from a well-worked line-out drive.
And while the first half was scrappy and closely fought, the second was one-way traffic with normal service resumed for a Saracens outfit glistening with internationals.
Farrell’s short pass put Alex Lewington through, and he off-loaded to Daly to race over the line untouched for the second try.
Sarries were finally taking things very seriously, and after Billy Vunipola and Tim Swinson failed with charges to reach the line, it was left to South African prop Vincent Koch to mark his 100th appearance with a try from the final surge.
Sarries, however, were reduced to 14 men when flanker Rhodes, playing in his final game for the club, was sent off for a dangerous no-arms tackle on David Johnston. Rhodes rushed in to help two of his team-mates try to tackle the Ealing full-back to the ground but sent him falling with a shoulder to the face instead. It was a sad way for Rhodes to end his time with the Londoners.
Hooker George prepared for joining up with the Lions by bursting over for a try from close range, while centre Nick Tompkins and wing Lewington rushed over for more tries as Ealing’s defiance melted.
Ealing replacement prop Lewis Thiede was sent to the sin bin as the visitors struggled, and the referee’s patience ran out as he awarded a penalty try for another collapsed scrum. Replacement Jordan Burns crossed for a consolation try for Ealing but Sarries were already celebrating by then.
Scoring sequence (Saracens first): 0-7 (penalty try), 3-7 (Farrell pen), 3-10 (Willis pen), 8-10 (Mako Vunipola try), 10-10 (Farrell con), half-time; 15-10 (Daly try), 17-10 (Farrell con), 22-10 (Kock try), 24-10 (Farrell con), 29-10 (George try), 31-10 (Farrell con), 36-10 (Tompkins try), 41-10 (Lewington try), 43-10 (Manu Vunipola con). 50-10 (penalty try). 55-10 (Whiteley try), 57-10 (Manu Vunipola con). 57-15 (Burns try).
Saracens: A Goode; A Lewington, E Daly (rep: D Taylor, 53), N Tompkins, S Maitland; O Farrell (c) (rep: Manu Vunipola, 53) A Davies (rep: T Whiteley, 62); Mako Vunipola (rep: R Adams-Hale, 53), J George (rep: T Woolstencroft, 53), V Koch (rep: A Clarey, 53), M Itoje (rep: C Hunter-Hill, 59), T Swinson, M Rhodes, J Wray, B Vunipola (rep: A Christie, 62).
Red card: Rhodes (49).
Ealing Trailfinders: D Johnston; L Daniels, M Bodilly, P Howard (rep: J Burns, 62), A Kernohan (rep: B Johnston, 55); C Willis, C Hampson; K Whyte (rep: J Gibbons, 53), S Malton (rep: M Van Vuuren, 49), E Millar Mills (rep: L Thiede, 53), B De Wee, H Casson (rep: S Linsell, 54), M Al-Jiboori, R Thompson (rep: H Dugmore, 51, rep: S Uzokwe, 53); R Smid (c).
Yellow card: Thiede (69).
Referee: Luke Pearce.