Chris Ashton crossed for a hat-trick as table toppers Saracens finished off their Aviva Premiership Rugby regular season in style with a comfortable win over Worcester Warriors.
It was the perfect warm-up for next weekend’s European Champions Cup final against Racing 92 as the league leaders – for the third time in the last four years – cruised to victory at Sixways.
In addition to Ashton’s treble Saracens also saw Neil de Kock, Samuela Vunisa and Ben Ransom cross while for Worcester it was a tough end to a promising first season back in the top flight.
Andy Symons and Cooper Vuna (2) scored the tries for Dean Ryan’s side but Saracens proved too strong and will face Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals in a fortnight's time.
Mark McCall’s side had won the last four clashes between these two sides but it was the Warriors who came storming out the blocks and Symons powered over from short range for the game’s first try after only three minutes.
Tom Heathcote added the conversion for a 7-0 lead but Sarries mustered a champion’s response – de Kock replying almost immediately with a try of his own – Charlie Hodgson and Alex Goode setting up the score with some nice interplay.
Hodgson’s conversion levelled up matters and Sarries appeared ready to turn the screw.
Twice they turned down kickable penalties to go to the corner but the Warriors defended well and, after a fine Ashton break had won a third penalty, Hodgson this time went for the posts.
But his effort was sliced wide and Worcester made them pay. Chris Pennell got on the outside down the left and released Vuna who had a lot of work still to do but brilliantly dotted down in the corner despite the attentions of Marcelo Bosch.
Heathcote curled the extras over for a 14-7 lead but once again Sarries did not take long to bounce back and it was the in-form Goode who again created it.
This time the full-back fielded a high kick in his own half, sidestepped a couple of would-be tacklers to break clear and timed his pass to perfection to release Ashton who won the foot race for the left corner.
Hodgson’s conversion was off target but he added a penalty soon after for a 15-14 lead.
He turned down a second three minutes before the break as Sarries again tried to get their rolling maul in gear and this time the Warriors were powerless and Vunisa was the beneficiary.
Hodgson’s conversion meant Saracens led 22-14 and they were on a roll, finding time to secure the four-try bonus point before the interval.
Goode’s grubber kick was not fielded by Pennell and Ashton was again on hand to score his second, Hodgson’s conversion putting them 29-14 in front at the interval.
Worcester needed the first score of the second period but after a strong start it was Sarries that struck – that man Ashton again on hand to claim a hat-trick as he dived on Ben Ransom’s clever grubber.
Alex Grove came agonisingly close for the Warriors on his final appearance at Sixways just before the hour mark but was tackled just short of the line.
Hodgson’s clever chip over the top and Ashton’s offload then set up a sixth try for the table toppers as Ransom – on for Goode – kicked through to dot down under the posts.
Late on the Warriors managed a fine third try to give the home side something to cheer, a thrilling break from Bryce Heem allowing Vuna to claim a second.
But that was only ever a consolation and Saracens now prepare for Lyon and the European final ahead of the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals.