Premiership: Saracens ease past Exeter 38-7 as top two field under-strength sides
|Saracens: (7) 38|
|Tries: Lewington 2, Tompkins, Morris 2 Cons: Malins, Bosch 2, Whiteley 2 Pens: Whiteley|
|Exeter: (0) 7|
|Tries: Capstick Cons: Steenson|
Saracens beat Exeter 38-7 as the top two fielded under-strength sides.
Alex Lewington's try gave Sarries a 30th-minute lead as he fortuitously caught a kick that arched back in the strong wind and went over unchallenged.
Sarries got two tries within the first five minutes of the restart - Lewington with a second and Nick Tompkins going over after Will Skelton's run.
Richard Capstick's try reduced the gap before Tom Whiteley's penalty and a Dom Morris double sealed the bonus point.
Exeter remain top of the table, but their hopes of breaking Saracens' record haul of 87 points set five years ago were dashed.
The Chiefs will end the season on top if they can win their final game of the season against play-off chasing Northampton, while Saracens face Worcester on the final day.
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Saracens made 11 changes ahead of next week's Champions Cup final while Exeter made 12 in what many believe will be a rehearsal for next month's Premiership final.
But while Saracens will have bragging rights, little can be drawn into an encounter which was often disjointed.
Exeter will be worried that they failed to impress for a second week as, after staggering to victory over Harlequins seven days earlier, they made multiple handling errors and missed kicks to touch.
Lewington's second try took advantage of a defensive lapse before Tompkins went in after Skelton powered through the Exeter line with a strong run which sent Gareth Steenson flying.
Exeter did have chances to get back into it, but Saracens' defence remained solid until Capstick finally breached it from close range to mark his first Premiership start with a try.
But Saracens kept control - Morris scoring twice on his Premiership debut, the second a 75m run after intercepting Max Bodilly's pass.
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:
"We wanted some momentum as a club and there's a good buzz around the place at the moment.
"But they rested their best team and we rested our XV for next week, so this game was unimportant if we play again."
Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter:
"We took some important things out of this. It has given us a view on some players and we've rested and hopefully cleared up a few niggles. But I'd have liked us to have performed better.
"There's always the psychological damage of a result like this, but there's also the reality of knowing that we have to be good and that tends to bring out the best out in us.
"We don't have to be the best Exeter Chiefs at the moment. We finished top last season and it didn't win us anything. Two years ago we finished second and we won the Premiership."
Saracens: Gallagher; Segun, Bosch, Tompkins, Lewington; Malins, Wigglesworth (capt); Barrington, Gray, Koch, Isiekwe, Skelton, Clark, Burger, Earl.
Replacements: Woolstencroft, Thompson-Stringer, Judge, Day, Reffell, Whiteley, Vunipola, Morris.
Exeter: Dollman; O'Flaherty, Bodilly, Whitten, Cuthbert; Steenson (capt), J Maunder; Moon, Cowan-Dickie, Francis, Atkins, Caulfield, Lonsdale, Capstick, Lawday.
Replacements: Taione, Keast, Street, Salmon, Kaufusi, S Maunder, Simmonds, Hendrickson.
Referee: Ian Tempest.
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