Reaction: Saracens beat Wasps to retain Premiership Rugby 7s title
Saracens once again demonstrated their relentless will to win as they overcame Wasps in the Premiership Rugby 7s final to retain their crown at Franklin’s Gardens.
The defending champions crossed the whitewash six times in a repeat of last year’s final, having fallen behind to two early tries from Wasps as they looked to avenge their 2018 defeat.
Andrew Christie bagged a brace and Ali Crossdale, Tom Whiteley, Andrew Christie and Charlie Watson all scored one try apiece to secure a 35-19 triumph for the Men in Black.
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Will Porter, Jacob Umaga and Callum Sirker were on the scoresheet for Wasps but it was not enough for the Coventry-based side as they finished runners-up for a second year running.
Earlier in the day, Saracens were given a huge scare by London Irish in their quarter-final before fighting back to prevail 24-14 to reach the last four of the tournament.
They then scored 31 unanswered points against Exeter Chiefs in their semi-final, while Wasps booked their place in the final with a comprehensive 54-12 win over Bristol Bears.
PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT
Both of the teams contesting the Premiership Rugby 7s showpiece final in the September sunshine had plenty of players who would have been more than worthy recipients of this award.
Wasps scored for fun as they progressed through the rounds, finishing the tournament with 197 points and 31 tries from their five games despite falling short of lifting the trophy.
Jacob Umaga scored 61 of those points to break the record for the highest individual tally in the competition’s history, previously set by Harlequins’ Calum Waters (54) last year.
But it was Saracens captain Tom Whiteley who was ultimately judged to have been the best player on show in Northampton, after guiding the Men in Black to their second consecutive 7s title.
He scored a try in all three of Saturday’s games and was just as clinical with the boot to keep the scoreboard ticking over, while his leadership was impressive from start to finish.
WHAT THEY SAID
Saracens captain Tom Whiteley said: “It feels unbelievable. We spoke beforehand about being the toughest, most competitive side and I think we proved that in bucket loads in all three games.
“There were times when it didn’t look like we’d get through it but we always said we wanted to be the toughest team and that’s what we were.
“I think the most impressive thing was keeping Exeter scoreless [31-0], they are a top side so to not let them score is unbelievable and put us in great stead for the final.
“We had massive confidence going into that final defence and we have some seriously talented young players at this club and we’re serious lucky to have that many young good players.
“They are able to turn up here on a big stage against some great teams and perform well, which is amazing. It was a very player-led thing and it was a massive learning curve for us.”
Wasps captain Will Wilson said: “It’s been a great couple of days and we’ve had a lot of boys playing on this stage for the first time, a totally different scenario to what we’re used to.
“If you want to talk about it from an objective point of view, it’s a great condition game, it’s great for us to get a bit of a hit out but also it’s a new challenge.
“With a long pre-season that’s something a lot of the boys needed to freshen things up and it’s an opportunity to build some bonds and work for each other.
“It didn’t quite happen in the final but I feel we did the club proud. Saracens defended well and we didn’t execute our game plan, which was frustrating and there’s lessons to be learnt.”