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THE FINAL COUNTDOWN


By Seany_boy
May 24 2018

The Date: Saturday 26th  May, The time: 3pm   The Venue : Twickenham, The Event: Aviva Premiership Final: The Teams : Exeter Chiefs V Saracens, The Prize: The Aviva Premiership trophy!

Here we are at the end of may, which can only mean one thing, the Aviva Premiership Final, which takes place annually at Twickenham, this year sees the two best teams in the land go hammer and tong at each other to lift the famous trophy, the catch being it could be 25 plus degree heat! After 22 hard fought rounds and 2 semi finals we have our Finalists, and as they finished top 2 this season, then it's the final people are happy with. Both teams are more than worthy finalists and both have made Twickenham a second home over recent seasons, for Exeter it's their 3rd final in as many years, they lost to this week ends opponents, Saracens in 2016 (28-20) and beat Wasps in 2017 after a cool Gareth Stevenson slotted a late penalty in Extra Time (23-20)
 
Exeter themselves have been on a tremendous over the past 8 years, they beat Bristol in the play off final back in 2010 (interestingly enough the date of that victory when they got promotion was 26th May!) Since then they have never looked back and have become one of the most dangerous and dominating teams in the premiership, and it's mostly thanks to their Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter. They have also developed players who are now becoming international players (Jack Nowell, Sam Simmonds, Luke Cowan-Dickie) and brought in experience when required, (Dean Mumm and Thomas Waldrom) over the past 3 years Exeter has made Twickenham it's second home and have gained experience in how to win titles as well as getting to finals, if they need an area of improvement it's having a reasonable run in the top tier of European competition. They are looking stronger each year, and their time will come.
 
This season and Exeter have been the team to beat, they have won 17 out of their 22 league games and secured 17 bonus points in that time (including losing bonus points) and finished on a points difference of plus 264. And with 85 points. Over the last few games of the season Exeter have not lost, they beat Gloucester 46 - 10 at home, Irish away 5 - 45, sale at Sandy Park 34 - 19 (which secured them a home Semi final)  and Quins at the stoop on the final day of the season, 17 - 41. Those results secured Exeter top stop, and  a home Semi final V Newcastle Falcons (Their first semi final) onto the Semi final then, and in glorious south west weather Cheifs were far too dominating for their opponents and ended up victorious 36 - 5 thanks to tries from White, Woodburn and Don Armand who has somehow been over looked by Eddie Jones until recently. Joe Simmonds was lethal from the boot scoring 19 points and a cool head has  secured their 3rd premiership final in a row and yet another trip to Twickenham. They will always be a challenging team and looking forward to facing Saracens who they have beaten twice already this season. 
 
Exeter have some extremely dangerous play makers, and finishers, many have international honours including Jack Nowell, Sam Simmonds, Luke Cowan-Dickie, and Henry Slade, they also have the likes of Ollie Woodburn on the wing, and Either Joe Simmonds or Gareth Steenson marshalling the game from fly half. Nic White is a nippy scrum half and can create space from nowhere and their pack which includes the likes of Don Armand, Dave Ewers, Alec Hepburn and Greg Holmes are so powerful there is always a threat of scoring push over tries, if they get a chance to kick to the corner they will, they are one of the deadliest teams at the driving mail and their force in the is pack is ridiculously strong.
 
A potential line up for Exeter could be:
Hepburn, Cowan Dickie, Francis, Lees, Johnny Hill, Ewers, Armand, Sam Simmonds, White, Joe Simmonds, Woodburn, Whitten, Slade, Nowell, Turner
 
Replacements
Yeandle, Moon, Williams, Dennis, Waldrom, Townshend, Steenson, Sam Hill
 
As for Saracens, they have had a bit of mixed season, due to Injuries and International call ups they have had to rely on their strength in depth and during some games have had their 3rd and 4th string players playing in important premiership games. Since 2010 and when. Stuart Barnes expected Saracens to finish 9th! They have been ever present at the semi final stage of the premiership, in that that time they have won 2 European trophies (2016 and 2017) as well as 3 premiership titles 2011, 2015 and 2016) they have also been runners up in 2010 and 'that final in 2014'. Last season Sarries went out at this stage to reigning champions Exeter who are the opponent's this Saturday in a repeat of the 2016 final, which Sarries were victorious 28 - 20. Sarries are looking to secure their 4th premiership title which would put them level with Wasps and only leaves Leicester way out in front with 10 titles! Since April Sarries have found a second wind, only losing to Leinster in Europe. However the most staggering fact is Saracens have scored a magnificent 274 points, for only 78 against in the past 5 games, this includes 4 games where the men in black have put 50 plus points against their opponents including the Semi Final at Allianz Park last weekend. Their last 4 premiership results look like this, Saints 13 - 63 Sarries, Sarries 41 - 6 Bath, London Irish 12 - Sarries 51 (Secured their.home semi final at this stage) and Sarries 62 - 12 Gloucester. That left Sarries in 2nd place in the league, 16 wins, plus 368 points difference and 13 bonus points (including losing bonus points) leaving them on 77 points overall. 
 
Onto the the Semi final and what was billed as a potential Titanic clash between two hard hard teams became a try fest, a total of 90 points was scored in a remarkable game in the sunshine, Sarries were victorious 57 - 33 and Chris Wyles scored what is his 5th semi final try in that game, making him the top scorer in the semi final stages. This win sent Sarries south of the river for what will be a clash of defense against the Exter chiefs at Twickenham on Saturday. Twickenham is almost a second home to Sarries and they have been here 4 times in the last 5 seasons the only time they missed out was last season when Exeter beat them 18 - 16 at Sandy Park in the Semi Final stage. 
 
Saracens had a near full strength team out and their line up against wasps had 14 Internationals on the squad, the only one who wasn't (and who definitely has been unfortunate to not recieve an English call up) is 200 cap man and Saracens player of the Season Jackson Wray. With news that Billy Vunipola is fit and Liam Williams is a possibility it seems that a team of internationals will take the field once more, some of this players were there back in 2011 final (Brits, Wyles, Barritt, Jamie George, Owen Farrell) and with Brits and Wyles last game they will to bow out in style and would love to add another medal to their already impressive record.
 
A Sarries team could look like this:
M Vunipola, Jamie George, Vincent Koch, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Mike Rhodes, Jackson Wray, Billy Vunipola, Richard Wigglesworth, Owen Farrell, Chris Wyles, Brad Barritt, Alex Lozowski, Liam Williams, Alex Goode
 
Replacements
Schalk Brits, Richard Barrington, Juan Figallo, Will Skelton, Nick Isiekwe, Ben Spencer, Marcello Bosch, Sean Maitland
 
Also congratulations to Wayne Barnes who will be officiating his 200th Premiership match on Saturday
 
Officials:
Ref: Wayne Barnes (200th premiership match, 8th final)
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce and Paul Dix
TMO: David Grasshoff
Citing Officer: Paul Hull
 
Match Prediction: it's going to be a collosal encounter, but Sarries to just edge it by 9 points
 
The final countdown is on, here's hoping both teams play to their abilities, may the best team win! This is going to be one of the best finals in history
 

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THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
TheSaracens.com (IP Logged)
24/05/2018 15:49
Thanks Sean for this and all your other previews throughout the season
It's gonna be tight and we need to be at our very best but we CAN do this!

Now would anyone like to volunteer to do the Final Report???



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2018:06:10:20:19:57 by Darraghgirl.

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