TWICKENHAM, UK - Saracens' Aviva Premiership final victory over Exeter neatly encapsulated their rollercoaster season.
By the end, it had almost become a procession as players were gripped by cramp in the sweltering heat of south-west London where director of rugby Mark McCall felt emboldened enough to take off some of his more experienced players. His side every bit as dominant as the 27-10 scoreline would suggest.
Yet it is easy to forget that the north Londoners had been forced to play for much of the opening 15 minutes without the ball. Exeter had dominated possession and territory from the first whistle and would have been good value for a six-point lead early on had Joe Simmonds not shanked a penalty attempt horribly wide.
It was one of two mistakes made by the young fly-half that allowed Saracens to build into the contest and once they had their toe in the door they were ruthless in yanking it open.
As the Saracens players gleefully danced with the trophy on the Twickenham turf it was difficult too to reconcile those smiling faces with the ones who had trudged off an icy Allianz Park in mid-December following a chastening 46-14 loss to Clermont. That was the sixth of a run of seven successive defeats.
Had you told the few hundred Saracens fans who made that Monday night match in Barnet then that they would finish the season with a fourth Premiership crown, the majority would have laughed in your face. "It's special for a couple of reasons," McCall said as he digested the final result.
"Where we were in December having lost [seven] games in a row, to be here today and play the way we did today that feels really good. I think you lose seven games in a row as an organisation you can start to see ghosts, you can start to see things that are wrong that really aren't wrong.
"As a group we were calm and composed and fought our way through that period."
Captain Brad Barritt added: "If we look back to the period over December-January it probably ranks as one of the most proud turnarounds. "As a captain it has been very easy because I've had six or seven leaders across the pack and that collective leadership has come through in spades.
"Guys have pushed each other on, they've fought together, they've added their bit where they needed to add their bit and it's driven the team to a new height."
McCall allayed fears over the fitness of Saracens' England trio -- Owen Farrell, Nick Isiekwe and Billy Vunipola -- insisting all would tour South Africa with England. Farrell had looked in some discomfort when he departed late on, but was said to have had cramp.
When those players return to the club ahead of next season, however, a couple of familiar faces will no longer be present. Chris Wyles signed off his professional career with a pivotal brace of tries at Twickenham while Schalk Brits, almost as fittingly, marked his second-half cameo with a yellow card.
Both players will be sorely missed. "It's sad for us to say goodbye to two legends of the club," McCall said.
"We all know as players what Chris and Schalk have given to Saracens and the many memories they've given," Barritt continued. "But we can't speak enough in terms of what a galvanising force they've been for the culture at Saracens.
"I just want to put on record what unbelievable people they've been, they've been two guys instrumental in building the culture."