Who’s playing who for what – details of the semi-finals and European qualification
The regular season is over but there’s still plenty of rugby to be played. We break down what the final standings mean in terms of the Aviva Premiership semi-finals as well as the situation regarding European Champions Cup qualification.
A Thomas Young hat-trick and Christian Wade’s record-equalling 17th try of the season helped Wasps to a bonus-point 35-15 win over Saracens and ensured they finished top of the Premiership table. They will now play Leicester at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday 20 May, kick-off 5.15pm.
Exeter guaranteed home advantage in the other semi-final, beating Gloucester 34-20 and picking up their ninth straight bonus point (eight wins and one in a draw v Wasps). They will meet defending champions Saracens at Sandy Park on Saturday 20 May, kick-off 2.30pm.
Northampton beat Harlequins 23-20 at Franklin’s Gardens but a losing bonus point means it is Quins who secured the final Champions Cup qualification place. They have won 11 league games this season to Saints’ ten, so while both sides finish on 52 points it is Quins who sit in sixth.
Northampton now have to wait to see whether they will be involved in the Champions Cup qualification play-offs. If Gloucester beat Stade Francais to win the Challenge Cup, the Cherry & Whites will enter the play-offs instead of Northampton. If they lose, Saints will be involved.
THE FINAL XV
The showdown at Twickenham on Saturday 27 May will be the 15th Premiership final and to mark the occasion a panel of experts have picked a XV of the greatest players to have appeared in the climax of the English league season.
The ‘Final XV’ was selected by former England prop Dave Flatman, BT Sport’s Alastair Eykyn and Nick Mullins, Press Association’s Andrew Baldock, ESPN’s Tom Hamilton and Rugby World’s Alan Pearey.
This is the team they picked – what do you think? Anyone you would like to see included? Let us know through our social media channels.
15. Geordan Murphy (Leicester)
14. Mark Cueto (Sale)
13. Fraser Waters (Wasps)
12. Brad Barritt (Saracens)
11. Alesana Tuilagi (Leicester)
10. Charlie Hodgson (Sale)
9. Richard Wigglesworth (Sale/Saracens)
1. Marcos Ayerza (Leicester)
2. Schalk Brits (Saracens)
3. Petrus du Plessis (Saracens)
4. Simon Shaw (Wasps)
5. Ben Kay (Leicester)
6. Martin Corry (Leicester)
7. Jacques Burger (Saracens)
8. Lawrence Dallaglio (Wasps)
The 14 Premiership finals to date have thrown up some interesting facts and figures, so here are a few standout player stats:
26 – Most points in a final, scored by Mark van Gisbergen in 2005 for Wasps v Leicester.
67 seconds – The quickest try, scored by Josh Lewsey in 2003 for Wasps v Gloucester.
17 years 249 days – The youngest finalist, Ben Youngs in 2007 for Leicester v Gloucester.
37 years, 304 days – The oldest finalist, Andy Deacon in 2003 for Gloucester v Wasps.
Seven – Most final starts, a record shared by Leicester’s George Chuter and Geordan Murphy.
These are the seven sets of brothers to have played in the same final:
Delon & Steffon Armitage (London Irish, 2009)
Brett & Louis Deacon (Leicester, 2007)
Martin & Will Johnson (Leicester, 2005)
Ben & Tom Youngs (Leicester, 2012 & 2013)
Alesana & Manu Tuilagi (Leicester, 2012)
George & Ken Pisi (Northampton, 2013 & 2014)
Billy & Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 2015)
And here are the six players who have won finals with two different clubs:
Christian Day – Sale (2006) and Northampton (2014)
Ayoola Erinle – Wasps (2003, 2004 & 2005) and Leicester (2008)
Ben Foden – Sale (2006) and Northampton (2014)
Charlie Hodgson – Sale (2006) and Saracens (2015 & 2016)
Richard Wigglesworth – Sale (2006) and Saracens (2011, 2015 & 2016)
Jeremy Staunton – Wasps (2008) and Leicester (2010)
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