Strap in, because if the Premiership final delivers just half the entertainment the semi-finals offered, then rugby fans are in for some treat between two highly-entertaining sides in Exeter Chiefs and Wasps.
With both semi-finals going down to the wire, it’s hard to imagine a dull game at Twickenham in the sunshine. The absence of the ever so impressive Saracens sees two running rugby sides go head-to-head; natural entertainers, two sides who clocked the most points in the Premiership season; two sides who gained the most amount of bonus points. Fireworks and expansive rugby are almost a guaranteed.
With such an open game expected, many fans are making Wasps favourites to lift the title. Of course, the league’s first placed finishers boast the best backs, and can score a try out of nothing. But, so can Exeter. The flair of Olly Woodburn and Jack Nowell mean the Chiefs can match Wasps’ expansive style. In addition to this, the loss of semi-final try scorer, Kurtley Beale, could prove detrimental to the highest scoring team in Premiership final.
But, the game won’t be won in the backs.
Exeter will win the final in the forwards. The Devon outfit outthought and outplayed the best pack in England – and Europe for that matter – in Saracens at Sandy Park. The Chiefs line-out ability, and threat from a driving maul being so evident as they scored the winning try in the dying stages last weekend; it is simply unstoppable once it gets moving.
Geoff Parling is a master at orchestrating such an offensive and aggressive approach; this has proven virtually impossible to defend against, and an area Wasps even struggled to cope with Leicester who amicably fronted up at the Ricoh Arena.
With the set-piece from the scrum, Wasps have a brilliant outlet in Nathan Hughes. The tactic to release the ball to Hughes as quickly as possible is a positive one, but one which limits them. If the Chiefs can counter this threat, it leaves Wasps with not a lot of options to take the game to Exeter.
Away from Exeter winning the forwards battle, the South West outfit will go to Twickenham brimming with confidence. They have just defeated Saracens, they were in this situation last year where they fell short against Sarries, and they have a strong bench to turn any game on its head.
Having the luxury of players such as Henry Slade as a replacement shows the quality and depth this Chiefs side have. Of course, Wasps have the X-factor with the likes of Christian Wade, Danny Cipriani and Elliot Daly, but Exeter’s togetherness and team spirit is hard to argue against. The way Stuart Townsend brilliantly united the forwards with the backs at nine last weekend was typical of Exeter Chiefs as a group.
A relentless South West outfit, where a weakness is hard to find; Exeter to clinch the title by five points at Twickenham this coming Saturday.