LV= Cup glory for Saracens

Date published: March 22 2015

Saracens needed a penalty from Ben Spencer after 80 minutes to win the LV= Cup final 23-20 against Exeter Chiefs.

In a dramatic finale fitting for the weekend given the Six Nations action the day before, Exeter completed a big comeback thanks to full-back Max Bodilly's try which was given after extensive replays by the TMO.

Gareth Steenson's conversion tied things up at 20-20 with extra time on the cards, but Saracens worked their way upfield from the restart and after Greg Bateman gave away a kickable penalty, Spencer stepped up and did the rest.

The first half is remarkably low-scoring, with Ceri Sweeney adding two penalties to one from Spencer before the heavily-involved Saracens scrum-half spent ten minutes in the sin-bin. 

Sweeney missed two other penalties in the first half while Nils Mordt's drop goal attempt on the stroke of half-time fell wide, giving Exeter a slender lead.

The second half was a different affair altogether. Strettle put his renowned finishing skills to good use by sweeping up a loose pass from Ben White for the game's first try.

Strettle then followed it up by collecting a cross field kick for his second try and by the time Nick de Jager found the line Saracens were cruising. 

Cue the Chiefs' fightback, benefiting from a yellow card to Saracens replacement hooker Scott Spurling before Bodilly grabbed his first try in the corner.

Tom James came close for Exeter but was stopped by Catalin Fercu's last-ditch tackle, before Bodilly and Steenson combined to set up the tense finish.

Spencer though had other ideas, landing the winning penalty and denying Exeter the chance of back-to-back titles.

The scorers:

For Exeter:
Tries: Bodilly 2
Cons: Steenson 2
Pens: Steenson 2

For Saracens:
Tries: Strettle 2, De Jager
Con: Spencer
Pens: Spencer 2
Yellow Cards: Spencer, Spurling

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Max Bodilly, 14 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 13 Adam Hughes, 12 Sireli Naqelevuki, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney (c), 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 Sam Simmonds, 6 Ben White, 5 Jerry Sexton, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Moray Low, 2 Elvis Taione, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Joel Conlon, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Byron McGuigan.

Saracens: 15 Ben Ransom, 14 Mike Ellery, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Tim Streather, 11 David Strettle, 10 Nils Mordt, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Matt Hankin, 6 Nick de Jager, 5 Hayden Smith, 4 Maro Itoje (c), 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Jared Saunders, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Scott Spurling, 17 Titi Lamositele, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 George Kruis, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Alex Goode, 23 Catalin Fercu.

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Neil Hennessy (Wales), Jon Mason (Wales)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)