Saracens’ triumph stiffens Mark McCall’s resolve to rebuff a Test role

‘Dead on their feet’ Sarries stun Exeter and prompt director of rugby to admit, ‘Walking away would be a huge call’

When the finale of the domestic rugby season proves more satisfying than the Champions League final and an Anthony Joshua world title fight, the oft-maligned club game must be doing something right. Never has there been a more enthralling 80-minute Premiership final and nor have any side previously scored five tries and 34 points and still finished the runners-up.

The only consolation for a gutted Exeter lay in pushing the best club team in Europe – and perhaps the strongest of all time – so close even Saracens’ proven supermen were not entirely sure how they clinched a second double in four seasons. At 27-16 down with 20 minutes to go, this was a breathless escape to rival Scotland’s Calcutta Cup resurrection at the same stadium in March.

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