May 28, 1044 days ago

2014 Aviva Premiership Final preview

2014 Aviva Premiership Final preview

This year’s Premiership final marks the end of an era. It has been ten years since Leicester Tigers failed to appear in the end of season showpiece and this season’s final will feature the two best teams from the regular season: Saracens and Northampton Saints.

The sides experienced mixed fortunes in their respective European finals last weekend – Northampton won the Amlin Cup while Saracens lost out to Toulon in the Heineken Cup – and it promises to be a terrific occasion at Twickenham.

Keep reading for our betting preview.

European finalists bid for domestic title

Since Christmas, there has been one outstanding team in the league. Saracens only defeat in Aviva Premiership Rugby in their last ten games came at Leicester in round 22 and the Londoners have scored at least one try in 36 of their last 37 Premiership matches. This run included a win over their rivals in the final, Northampton, as recently as 13 April.

Northampton are bidding to become the eighth different side to become champions of England, having never win the title before. A win at Twickenham will also see Northampton become the first team since Wasps in 2003 to attain a Premiership and European Challenge Cup double.

This is the first time that the two clubs have met at Twickenham, and also the first time they have met in any final. They have clashed in eight previous quarter-finals or semi-finals in tournaments, with Saracens winning just twice.

Twickenham experience could be crucial

They have been the two best teams in the league this season but it is Saracens’ Twickenham experience that could prove crucial. The Saints have just two victories in seven previous finals played at Twickenham and the most recent of those was against Exeter in the National Trophy in 2008.

Sarries have won on five of their last seven visits to Twickenham in all tournaments including the Premiership final in 2011. In addition, fly half Owen Farrell has lots of experience of playing at HQ wand this could be critical. Twickenham is a big pitch and the best final performances are often by sides that use its wide, open spaces early on in the match.

Saying that, Saracens have lost four of their past five matches to Northampton and their last two victories against the Saints have been by narrow margins. The two Northampton second rows, Courtney Lawes and Samu Manoa, could have a huge influence on the game while Saints have plenty of pace out wide in the form of George North, Ken Pisi and Ben Foden.

Saracens centre Brad Barritt says: “We are desperate to finish the season with a trophy. If we achieve that, we will be able to reflect on a very successful campaign.

“It will take a concerted effort, but we are as hungry as ever. We were not that far off against Toulon, it was just minor things in the game. A big strength of this team is the way we bounce back and we have to show that this week.”

It promises to be a terrific match and Northampton are coming in on the back of their excellent win over Leicester Tigers in the semi-final and their Amlin Cup triumph. However, Saracens have simply been the best team in the league in 2014 and I expect them to overcome a 3 point handicap and win at 10/11.

Rugby Union Betting

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