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Vunipolas finish thrilling season with a flourish

Vunipolas finish thrilling season with a flourish

The Vunipola brothers are an important duo for club and country and as Saracens powered their way to a second Aviva Premiership Rugby title on Saturday, they were leading the way.

Between them the Vunipolas amassed 27 carries at Twickenham, Billy with a match-leading 16 and prop Mako not far behind with 11.

Sam Burgess topped that tally from a Bath Rugby perspective with 13 while Ollie Devoto and Semesa Rokodugni had 12 each, the latter also making an impressive 85 metres.

Only Sarries full-back Alex Goode beat that – he racked up 99 – while Saracens dominated the tackle count with George Kruis, Jacques Burger (both 15) and Duncan Taylor (14) leading the way.

In the end, however, the only numbers that mattered were the scoreline and it was Sarries who came out on top 28-16 to be crowned champions.

Chris Wyles grabbed their third try in a blistering first-half display to take his league tally to 13 for the season, tied with teammate Chris Ashton and beaten only by Exeter Chiefs No.8 Thomas Waldrom’s 16.

Meanwhile, Bath fly-half George Ford kicked a conversion and three penalties at Twickenham to take his season tally to 219 points – bettered only by Northampton Saints’ Stephen Myler (236) and Wasps fly-half Andy Goode (240).

Goode will leave Wasps for London Irish this summer and it was against the Exiles that he enjoyed arguably his most memorable outing of the season.

The club’s first game at the Ricoh Arena back in December saw Goode amass 33 points, the most ever in an Aviva Premiership Rugby clash.

And Gareth Steenson enjoyed an outstanding kicking display the previous month, against Saracens no less, when the Exeter man slotted nine penalties – a feat only achieved on five other occasions in the competition’s history.

Sarries and Harlequins set Aviva Premiership Rugby’s record regular-season attendance at Wembley in March, when 84,068 watched on and Jack Clifford scored the season’s fastest try after just 26 seconds.

The fastest bonus-point try arrived at the Kassam Stadium when Shane Geraghty crossed over after 29 minutes for London Irish’s fourth against their fellow Exiles in February.

Ashton also put London Welsh to the sword last month when he scored four tries in Oxford – the most in a single game all season.

And there are two notable retirees this summer with Mark Cueto hanging his boots up as Aviva Premiership Rugby’s top try scorer with 90, five ahead of Bristol-bound Tom Varndell.

Meanwhile, Tom May calls time on a career that has brought 247 appearances in the competition, just 18 fewer than record holder Steve Borthwick and enough to leave him third in the all-time list.

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