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Championship play-off final: Saracens take big step towards Premiership return with 60-0 win over Ealing

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Two tries from Billy Vunipola plus one apiece from Maro Itoje, Aled Davies, Jamie George, Nick Tompkins and Sean Maitland, and a penalty try saw Saracens to a comfortable win in the first leg of the Championship play-off final

Billy Vunipola ran in two tries as Saracens scored a commanding win over Ealing

Billy Vunipola ran in two tries as Saracens scored a commanding win over Ealing

Saracens were on the brink of an immediate return to the Gallagher Premiership after their star-studded line-up overwhelmed Ealing 60-0 at Vallis Way.

Twelve internationals, including all five of their British and Irish Lions, were on parade as Mark McCall’s men ran in eight tries in the Greene King IPA Championship play-off final first leg.

Ealing were blasted out of contention from the start as their line was breached by Maro Itoje, Aled Davies, Jamie George, Nick Tompkins, Sean Maitland and a penalty try, with Billy Vunipola also touching down twice in front of a crowd of 1,600.

The expected mismatch duly unfolded with Saracens, who were superbly directed by Owen Farrell, dominating every department to take an ominous lead ahead of the second leg at Allianz Park on Sunday.

The Lions contingent emerged from a hot afternoon in west London unscathed and made telling contributions as the club nears the end of their top-flight exile served as punishment for repeated salary cap breaches.

Substantial doubt has emerged over Ealing’s ability to take their place in the Premiership even if they did topple Saracens due to not fulfilling stadium criteria, but the gulf in class has rendered the minimum requirements meaningless.

While the home side threatened with an early surge, Saracens quickly took control, with Maitland making inroads down the left wing, and it was his run infield that set up the opening try for Itoje.

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Sean Maitland was among the try-scorers for Saracens Sean Maitland was among the try-scorers for Saracens

Starting at a furious rate, the fallen English champions made yards with ease, their forwards already bullying the home pack, while Alex Goode, Maitland and Farrell asked questions in attack.

Farrell pinned his ears back and sped through a gap to launch a counter-attack from inside the 22 that ended when he took Tim Swinson’s pass and sent Davies over.

Saracens now led 17-0 and the outlook was bleak for Ealing as they sent a restart straight into touch, their composure deserting them as a heavy defeat beckoned.

Vunipola was making an impact in defence any time Ealing were in possession and, as the home scrum began to crumble, tighthead Kyle Whyte was brought off shortly before half-time.

Saracens were equally as dominant at the line-out and just before the interval arrived they drove over from close range, their opponents unable to prevent George from powering over.

Elliot Daly wasted a three-man overlap but another forward drive shortly after ended with Vunipola finding a route over the whitewash twice in quick succession, the second arriving off the back of a scrum.

A penalty try added to Ealing’s woes before Farrell sent Tompkins over and Maitland completed the rout with a try in injury time.

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