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Saracens beat Exeter 43-21 to regain the Premier 15 title

External (7) 21
Try: Garcia, Detiveaux, Jefferies Disadvantage: canton 3
Saracens (22) 43
Try: Packer 2, Fleetwood, Carson, Campbell, Corrigan Disadvantages: wine press 5 Pen: winepress

England striker Marlie Packer scored twice when Saracens proved too strong for Exeter in the Premier 15s final at Worcester’s Sixways.

Packer crossed her first try after five minutes, edging through the rim defense at point-blank range.

Colleague from the back row, Vicky Fleetwood, followed suit before Packer increased again just before half-time.

Jennine Detiveaux scored Exeter’s second goal to briefly hint at a comeback but they failed to catch Saracens.

Exeter brought the majority of the 3,238 spectators to Sixways via the M5 motorway, but their attempt to break up the Saracens-Harlequins duopoly for the Premier 15 title fell well short in the final tally.

The two London clubs have contested all three previous finals in the tournament’s short history and the Saracens’ experience on the biggest stage was evident in a performance of power and precision that crushed the life out of a spirited Exeter.

Packer ended the afternoon with the Player of the Match champagne as well as the Premier 15s trophy and Exeter could never contain a performance that sat alongside their best barnstorming rankings.

The 32-year-old sent in two crosses in the first half when Saracens’ fast ball prevented Exeter from touching down again after initial line breaks.

Exeter were never deterred, flying quickly to the defense and risking their arm on attack. Fly-half Patricia Garcia, playing her final game before retiring, summed up her spirits as she danced through cover defense to get her side on the board in the first half.

Marlie Packer
Packer won the Player of the Match award after a two try decorated performance

However, the game turned within seconds of the second-half restart. Exeter rebounded, Poppy Cleall snatched Holly Aitchison’s kick and within a minute Mackenzie Carson was on to put Saracens 31-7 ahead.

Detiveaux emerged at the end of a glorious game started from the outside break by center Gabby Cantorna and helped by Garcia and McKinley Hunt to breathe life into Exeter’s hopes, albeit briefly.

But the advantage of the Saracens was too great, and their purpose too clear, to be denied.

Hooker May Campbell and wing Alysha Campbell crossed to restore and then extend the front runners’ lead.

Ebony Jefferies’ intelligent blind sidebreak gave Exeter’s traveling support one last cheer, but the Saracens had long since made sure they would take nothing else back to the South West with them.

“Marlie is one of the best players in the world”

Holly Aitchison, the fly half of the Saracens: “I don’t know how to put it into words. It’s been a really long year and we’ve had a lot of injuries, but I’m so proud of the group and really happy to win today.

“It’s definitely a comfort to have the likes of Marlie Packer, Poppy Cleall and Hannah Botterman around. Marlie is in such good shape, she’s one of the best players in the world right now. Having players like that around makes my job a lot easier.

“I’ve been really lucky with the opportunities I’ve had this season. I’ve found my way in the 15-a-side game after not playing for four or five years.”

exeter Doidge; Sinclair, Kobayashi, Cantorna, Detiveaux; Garcia, Robinson; Rogers, Tuttosi, Menin, Fryday, Van der Velden, Leitch (Co-Captain), Johnson, Zackary (Co-Captain).

substitute Nielson, Hunt, Roberts, Senft, Jefferies, Bradley, Foster, McGillivray

Saracens: McKenna; Corrigan, Wardle, Kelter, Clapp (co-captain); Aitchison, Wyrwas; Botterman, Campbell, Clifford, McIntosh, P. Cleall, Carson, Fleetwood, Packer (Co-Captain)

Substitute: Evans, Rose, Ellis, Green, Evans, Goddard, Casey, Vaughan-Fowler

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