The Rugby Premiership reaches its climax this weekend, and in a relatively predictable Twickenham final, Exeter Chiefs will take on Saracens. For the third time in four seasons, these two titans will compete at Rugby HQ for the domestic title. Our Rugby Union expert previews the Gallagher Premiership final.
Chiefs had an excellent season, even by their high standards. They claimed the second highest points total in a Premiership season, and their dominant forward pack has received even more recognition, with Ben Moon and Sam Skinner adding to the ranks of capped Exeter forwards, and Matt Kvesic having one of the finest seasons of his career.
With an incredibly dangerous back-line, Exeter are very well balanced and can threaten from everywhere on the field in a number of different ways.
The Devon outfit survived an indifferent first half in their semi-final against Northampton to end up demolishing the Saints, and they should rightly approach this game with a lot of confidence. They are underdogs going into Saturday’s fixture, and can be backed at 9/4 with Grosvenorsport.com.
Saracens, as ever in recent seasons, have been exceptional. Already European champions, they will be aiming for another double.
With internationals and Lions all over their starting 15, and European Player of the Year Alex Goode at fullback, Sarries are arguably the best team in the club game. They will, however, miss the impact of loosehead prop Mako Vunipola in the open field, and Brad Barritt will be a late decision after picking up an injury in their semi-final demolition of Gloucester.
Sarries are a class outfit, and have already beaten Exeter twice at Twickenham on the big stage, so you would expect them to deal with the occasion well . They are comfortable favourites at 1/3 on.
It should be an excellent spectacle, with two high-class packs facing off in what should be a test-level fixture. With battles all over the pitch, including more than a couple with international shirts up for grabs, the real winners should be neutrals. That being said, Saracens have been excellent in recent years at Twickenham, and I expect a comfortable double-digit win for Sarries in the end. Take them on the handicap (-6.5) at 4/5.