TWICKENHAM, U.K -- On a day of inevitable remarkable sporting drama and silverware, Saracens put their flag in the ground with a performance of immense resourcefulness to beat Exeter Chiefs 27-10 and take the 2017-18 Aviva Premiership title.
This was Saturday afternoon entertainment underneath the unmerciful beating summer sun at a baking Twickenham. Saracens, boring? Behave. They are one of the marquee acts in the Premiership as they scored four tries -- surpassing Richmond's 19-year record of 95 in one season in the process -- en route to securing their fourth title. It was dominant, calm and wonderfully clever, imaginative performance from the new champions of England. They controlled every area of the game.
Though there are headline-grabbing football matches in Kiev and at Wembley it was the boot of Owen Farrell that helped Saracens home. He is some player. Exeter would go scurrying back, lose territory and Saracens would be there in their grills as the Chiefs were forced to start again.
The only worry was watching him limp off. He is the man leading England to South Africa, their linchpin. They simply cannot afford to be without him if they are to halt this losing run.
The heat inside Twickenham was unrelenting. Sweat and beer floated on the mid-afternoon May stuffy air with the corridors providing the welcome relief of a wind tunnel. But yet the protagonists hammered away, again and again and again. It was brutal.
Exeter did not play badly, but only really troubled Sarries in small spells. They simply had no answer to the manner in which Saracens stretched and pulled their defence and then executed with ease when opportunities arose. For Chris Wyles to score twice -- equalling Chris Ashton's 47 tries for Sarries -- on his final appearance before retirement was an apt end to a fine career for one of the Premiership's unsung heroes.
Schalk Brits got his chance from the bench with 27 minutes left and even got a yellow card for his efforts. But the Premiership will miss him as he enjoys retirement at Oxford University. On this season's evidence, he has hung up his boots at least two seasons too soon.
But anchoring this performance were Saracens' England contingent. Farrell's calm yet authoritative control is the beat of the drum on which the rest of the dances. Both Billy and Mako Vunipola were magnificent, as was Nick Isiekwe with uncompromising physicality, and then there was Alex Goode.
It was another performance which highlights in stark gold-laden Technicolor why it is so befuddling that Eddie Jones does not give him a shot at fullback for England. If he can pick Mike Brown on the wing, then Goode's omission is even more confusing. He is a magnificent footballer, and plays with a subtlety that helped unpick Exeter's defence for Saracens' first two tries.
First he managed to volley Farrell's chip over the Exeter backline which led to Billy Vunipola crashing over from close range. And then for Wyles' first, it was his netball-style pass which put Sean Maitland into space to put the American over. He simply has to be given a chance to impress Jones, and not one of these one-off matches against tier two opposition in November, give him a shot against the Springboks this June.
Saracens found a way to reinvent themselves this season, swapping pragmatism for prowess and Exeter have done the same. They have found a way to play that delivers success, they did top the league after all. They are fiercely tough to break down, have a superb ethos, a wonderful coach and an unending production line of players now knocking on England's door. Just four players started on Saturday who had the same honour in last year's final when they beat Wasps. The club rotates, the standards remain the same. But it did not click.
Joe Simmonds -- a remarkable talent -- did not have a chance to put his stamp on the game while their set piece was unreliable. Jack Nowell was busy as ever -- the man's a wonderful winger -- and went searching for work, but Exeter never had a chance to put him into place. Jonny Hill was also fantastic, never giving up. Exeter will come again as inevitable as day goes into night, but this was Saracens' day.
Wyles and Brits got their hands on the trophy one last time -- even Brits' yellow card could not wipe the smile from his face, nor take the gloss of this remarkable team performance and club. With the Vunipolas, Farrell and the host of club stars in their element, this was Saracens' day. Even Mark McCall managed to raise a smile, it must have been a special moment.