We cover all the key talking points, selection decisions and stats ahead of the Gallagher Premiership final at Twickenham.
Exeter v Saracens Gallagher Premiership Final Preview
The 2018/19 Gallagher Premiership Final has a familiar feel to it this week, after all this will be the third time the Exeter Chiefs and Saracens will be facing off for the trophy in the past four years.
The Chiefs however will be looking to produce a different result compared to the previous two matches, as Saracens emerged victorious both times in the 2015/16 and 2017/18 finals by fairly comprehensive margins.
This years Chiefs squad appears to be a slightly different breed to years gone by as they won 17 times from 22 matches this season resulting in 86 points. That is the second-highest points total ever behind Saracens’ 87 points total in 2013/14. They then absolutely hammered Northampton Saints in the semi-final 42-12.
You would think those results would make Exeter the heavy favourites but Saracens are coming off their Heineken Champions Cup victory over Leinster, and they too hammered their semi-final opponents Gloucester 44-19.
With international players all over the pitch we are in for a colossal contest then. Saracens are looking to firmly entrench themselves as one of the greatest domestic teams ever, whereas Exeter are attempting to not become the bridesmaid once again.
What’s the big team news?
Saracens will definitely be without Mako Vunipola and Titi Lamositele as well but one player who passed a late fitness test was Brad Barritt who will captain the side.
Whereas we believe Exeter have a full strength squad of players to choose from.
What have the coaches said?
Chiefs Director of Rugby Rob Baxter said:
“We’ve been able to pick this week from our strongest group of players that we’ve had all season, which is fantastic.
“That creates a really decent group of back five forwards which we will need over the 80 minutes and then I think we are aware that we have two good front rows and we need to make sure we utilise the work out of them over the 80 minutes.
“I think we have it in us, but we are going to have to be good because at the end of the day, it’s like an all-international clash, isn’t it? That’s what it comes down to and if it was England v Wales, we’d be saying the same thing. It comes down to the guys that lock it down on the day and get it right.”
Saracens boss Mark McCall recently told BBC Radio 5 Live;
“The last eight to 10 games has been a period of real growth. Our group’s ability to respond to different situations has been really good.
“We need to go in with a clear mind, see this as a fresh challenge, and be excited by it.”
Any interesting statistics?
- Saracens are going for their fourth Premiership title in the past five years.
- Saracens’ Nick Tompkins has scored 11 tries during the competition putting him one behind Denny Solomona and Cobus Reinach.
- Exeter have scored 95 tries so far which is 12 more than Saracens. Saracens however have scored more points with 686, 22 more than Exeter.
- The Chiefs Santiago Cordero has had the second most clean breaks in the entire Gallagher Premiership with 46.
- Matt Kvesic has made 287 tackles during the competition, putting him third. He also has won 21 turnovers which is the second highest behind Tom Curry.
- The biggest margin of victory in a Premiership Final is 39-3 between Wasps and Gloucester back in 2003.
- The closest was 10-9 between Leicester and London Irish in 2009.
What time is kick off and is it on TV?
Exeter v Saracens, Saturday 1 June, Twickenham, London
This game kicks off at 3pm BST and will be shown live on BT Sport.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Matthew Carley & Tom Foley
TMO: Graham Hughes
Citing Officer: Shaun Gallagher
What are the line-ups?
Exeter: Jack Nowell, Alex Cuthbert, Henry Slade, Ollie Devoto, Tom O’Flaherty, Joe Simmonds, Nic White, Ben Moon, Jack Yeandle, Harry Williams, Dave Dennis, Jonny Hill, Dave Ewers, Don Armand, Matt Kvesic
Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Alec Hepburn, Tomas Francis, Sam Skinner, Sam Simmonds, Jack Maunder, Gareth Steenson, Sam Hill
Saracens: Alex Goode, Liam Williams, Alex Lozowski, Brad Barritt, Sean Maitland, Owen Farrell, Ben Spencer, Richard Barrington, Jamie George, Vincent Koch, Will Skelton, George Kruis, Maro Itoje, Jackson Wray, Billy Vunipola
Replacements: Tom Woolstencroft, Ralph Adams-Hale, Christian Judge, Nick Isiekwe, Mike Rhodes, Richard Wigglesworth, Nick Tompkins, David Strettle
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