Saracens crush Gloucester, face Exeter in final

Rugby Union - Premiership Semi Final - Saracens v Gloucester Rugby - Allianz Park, London, Britain - May 25, 2019 Saracens' Jamie George in action with Gloucester's Charlie Sharples Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

(Reuters) – Saracens reached their fifth Premiership final in six years with a convincing 44-19 win over Gloucester at Allianz Park in London with centre Nick Tompkins grabbing a second-half hat-trick of tries.

The European champions will face Exeter Chiefs in the final at Twickenham on June 1. Exeter reached their fourth consecutive final with a 40-12 win over Northampton Saints.

“Nothing brings us down,” Tompkins told BT Sport. “We found our rhythm in the later stages and didn’t let anything dictate how we felt.

“We just try get to a point, that nothing will set us back, nothing will upset our energy, good or bad. That energy is what gets us through each week.”

Gloucester took an early lead when Mark Atkinson’s inside pass allowed number eight Ben Morgan to charge over in the right corner for a simple try in the third minute.

There was an instant response from Saracens two minutes later, however, as Owen Farrell’s dink allowed Sean Maitland to get the ball and score a try of his own.

European champions Saracens opened up a 16-point lead by the end of the half with tries from scrumhalf Ben Spencer — thanks to a powerful run by Maro Itoje — and winger Liam Williams.

Farrell was off target several times but that did not stop a relentless Saracens from extending their lead with replacement Tompkins scoring three tries in 16 minutes, only the second hat-trick in a Premiership semi-final.

Gloucester mounted a brief comeback as Ruan Dreyer and Lewis Ludlow went over but Saracens were resilient in defence and eased to an emphatic win.

In the other semi-final, Harry Williams, Joe Simmonds, Dave Dennis, Tom O’Flaherty, Sam Simmonds and Sam Hill scored tries to give Exeter victory over Northampton at Sandy Park.

Joe Simmonds also kicked six conversions for Exeter who led only 14-12 at halftime.

Exeter lost to Saracens in the 2016 and 2018 finals but did get the better of them in the 2017 semi before going on to beat Wasps and lift the trophy.

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