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Posted 18/06/2022 in All things rugby by Host a Fan

Premiership Final Preview: The View From Both Camps

Premiership Final Preview: The View From Both Camps

If yesterday's heatwave was 'Fryday', rugby fans across the country will be hoping today will be 'Tryday' at Twickenham. 

After the red hot heat of a sizzling Premiership season, comes a fiery battle between the top two clubs. From some mind boggling scorelines, to Bath's miserable mire, there's been shock, surprises and sub-plots aplenty. The first post-Covid season that's actually felt a little bit 'post-Covid' all comes down to this. From Newcastle to Exeter, it all comes down to this affluent suburb of west London and 3pm today. Who will be crowned English Premiership Champions? 

I'm sure it's a relief for the League committee and for the oft-loved but often maligned (see below) Play-Offs format when the final is contested by the league's top two sides, as will be the case today. But, can Leicester take that one step further by taking the crown in the capital after finishing top of the regular season? 

It's a repeat of the 2011 Final that Saracens edged by just four points in what host a fan follower Alex Goode described as one of his proudest rugby moments. Playing for the Sarries that day was Steve Borthwick, the man who'll be plotting to unlock his former side and take Leicester to their eleventh Premiership title to extend their lead at the top of the leaderboard. 

Ahead of the the domestic game's showpiece final, we spoke to host a fan members and canvassed opinion from both camps to see which sides' fans were more confident of reigning victorious. 

Quietly Confident: The View from the Saracens Camp

Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming majority of Saracens supporters were confident that their side would use all of their experience and wouldn't melt in the heat of the Twickenham battle. 78% were predicting a Saracens win with a further 20% saying it was simply too close to call. 

Sarries fans, Tom Haslam and Mark Connolley were in confident mood, predicting that their side would draw on their more recent finals experience in a very pro-Tigers atmosphere. Connolley sees a lot of parallels between the two sides, claiming that the five-times winners are simply a more evolved and experienced version of their opponents. 

Hope Rather Than Expectancy: The View from Leicester 

Meanwhile, Tigers fans were much less confident that their side would get the victory they all no doubt crave. 

In one poll of 378 supporters just 28% were backing their side to return from the capital with the trophy in hand. Almost half were unsure, saying it could go either way and a sizeable 15% wishing they could be revelling in their season-long success already by scrapping the Play-Offs and returning to the more traditional champions structure. 

This was largely replicated across our two other polls (total of 208 votes at the time of press) with the collective dream of a Tigers victory being tampered by a respect of Saracens' more recent experience and know-how at this crucial final stage. John Vince and Jon Hutchinson were both happy to declare the London side as favourites and were more hopeful rather than expectant of a Tigers Twickenham win. 

Peter Green and John Glover were both predicting (maybe somewhat idealistically) that'd go right down to the wire with a last minute try and conversion seeing their side crowned champions. Robin Lambert offers some tactical insight, "We need to manage possession better and stop battering of our own 22. If saints had not knocked on half a dozen times, they'd have won"

Matthew Deavin thinks the Saracens squad will be "Out to prove a point and more fired up but highlighted that this may cause them to make more errors, only time will tell"

Indeed, only time will tell, which is why fans from Leicester and London, and indeed rugby fans from across the country will turn their eyes and minds to this home of English rugby this afternoon. Fans who've screamed, cheered and maybe even cried throughout a season of ups and downs, from the depths of Devon to the Falcons flock in the north, will be hoping that domestic rugby's showpiece will deliver a real scorcher, befitting of the incredible ten months or so that's come before. It's what the season deserves. 

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