It was Saracens' fourth final in six years whilst it was Bath's first since 2004 and for forty minutes on the Twickenham turf the contrast in their experience showed. Saracens channeled twelve months of the pent up hurt and frustration into a storming opening half of rugby that was described by Mark McCall as something 'pretty special'. In the second his side had enough power and belief to see off the Bath challenge that we all knew was coming their way. This 2015 trophy will mean so more to Saracens because of that heart breaking defeat last year and for Mike Ford's Bath the lasting thoughts will be that they didn't quite do themselves justice when it came to the big one.
All week we had discussed the flair and prowess of Bath, how could we not after their multiple bonus point victories and stellar performance against the Leicester Tigers in their Semi-Final. The result was that the spotlight was diverted slightly away from the power and experience of Mark McCall's side, however immediately after Wayne Barnes' blew his whistle Saracens reminded us all of their physicality and unrivalled ability to stifle teams. The blow to Anthony Watson will be debated a length and the view from the Bath camp was that it certainly deserved another look from Wayne Barnes, to say the very least. Any side without Anthony Watson is poorer for it however Ollie Devoto applied himself with purpose throughout and as Mike Ford said it wasn't the sole reason for their defeat.
As a collective Bath found themselves stunned and unnerved by the intensity of Saracens, it is fair to say that when they met previously this season Saracens weren't as powerful as they were on Saturday, in this Final they were on a different planet; men possessed. So often we have seen Jacques Burger set the intensity however at Twickenham he wasn't alone as from one to fifteen they were hell bent on securing this title. Individual brilliance oozed across the park, from David Strettle's Zebo esque flick to Jamie George's power charged sprint down to line, Mark McCall's men took themselves to the place required to deliver the goods. In the middle Owen Farrell reminded us all of his ability on the big stage, when the pressure is on, he kicked his goals and played with the competitive intensity that he is known for. It was a timely reminder and as Mark McCall rightly said post game 'England are blessed to have two brilliant young tens who are going to be around for a very long time.'
Losing finals hurts however what it does do is to provide teams with the experience and knowledge of how not to do it again and that is something that this Bath side don't quite have... yet. It seems almost cruel to pull out positives when the result that matters didn't go their way however I believe it is vital to do so. This season Bath have delighted and inspired us all with their rugby, their forwards have worked tirelessly and they have attacked with a purpose and flair that few, if any, can match. They have delivered all of this with a great humility and respect for their opponents, led by the inspirational Stuart Hooper. In the Final Sam Burgess took another step in his development to becoming a high-class rugby union player, he delivered the big carries and stepped up to the occasion and Semesa Rokoduguni is back in the form that gained him his previous England call up. My desire is that, in a few days time, when Bath step back and review their season they will take huge positives from it. Mike Ford's men have pushed their way into the Top 4 and done so in style. Losses are tough but they are part of the road in a team's development and this one is still young.
Now Saracens will celebrate, this year they have done things the hard way, they had to fight their way into the Top 4 and play away from home to give themselves a shot of mending those gaping wounds from 2014. The fact of the matter is, like Bath, they have some very young and talented players and a lot more in the tank. Naturally a spot of recruitment will be needed to replace some of their elder statesmen in the back line however that conversation is for another day. Right now, the beers will flow and the party will continue... at some point over the summer this Final will be analysed and scrutinised but not yet. Congratulations Saracens, I bet that one felt good!