Premiership Final - Teams and Prediction
PREVIEW: Top seeds Saracens and second-place finishers Sale Sharks will battle it out as they bid to be immortalised as Premiership champions for 2022/23.
Mark McCall’s men have been the dominant side for much of the campaign, remaining undefeated on home turf all season, and ran out comfortable winners against Northampton Saints in their semifinal.
Opponents Sale Sharks edged out Leicester Tigers in a thriller to make just their second Premiership Final.
In their previous Final appearance, in 2006, the Sharks defeated this year’s semifinal opposition Leicester Tigers 45-20.
Saracens captain Owen Farrell Says Saturday’s occasion is exactly why he plays the game as he looks to steer Saracens to their sixth Premiership title.
The skipper pulled the strings in the semifinal to book their place at Twickenham a fortnight ago, and now he will be aiming to go on step further and get his hands on the most prestigious trophy in English club rugby once again.
Director of Rugby Mark McCall has named a squad packed full of experience for the showpiece event against Sale Sharks, and there is one change from the side that beat Northampton Saints in the semi as Eroni Mawi comes in to start at loosehead.
Mawi, Jamie George and Marco Riccioni start in a strong front row, with Maro Itoje and Hugh Tizard operating the line-out in the second row.
Nick Isiekwe and Ben Earl continue at No.6 and No.7, and they will be joined by Jackson Wray at the base of the scrum who will make his 309th and final Saracens appearance after over a decade of service to the club.
Ivan Van Zyl starts at No.9 fresh from signing a new two-year contract, and he will have Farrell as his halfback partner at Twickenham.
Nick Tompkins and Alex Lozowski keep up their ever-reliable midfield partnership, and a back three of Sean Maitland, Max Malins and Alex Goode will be aiming to take any chances that come their way.
On the bench Mako Vunipola will add a wealth of experience when called upon, and Aled Davies has recovered from a hamstring injury to take his place amongst the replacements.
“These games are the reason you play and that makes it so exciting,” said Farrell.
“We’ve worked hard this year and the lads have done a brilliant job to put us in this position but we want to make sure we finish it off.
“Last year is in the past, it took us a while to think about how to get the best out of ourselves but we’ve made some good steps forward this season and hopefully that is shown on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Alex Sanderson makes just one change to his starting Sale line-up with flank Sam Dugdale replacing the injured Ben Curry (hamstring) in the side to face Saracens at Twickenham.
The Sharks Director of Rugby makes just one more change to his matchday squad for Sale’s biggest game in 17 years, with former Saracen Tom Ellis named on the replacements bench in place of Dan du Preez, who will undergo surgery on a dislocated shoulder.
The Sharks front row is unchanged from the semifinal win against Leicester, with Si McIntyre and Nick Schonert lining up either side of Armand van der Merwe, who has been on the winning side in all 11 of his Sale games this season.
Jonny Hill, who tasted a Premiership victory in his time at Exeter, and Jean-Luc du Preez line up in the second row.
And in the back row, academy graduate Dugdale starts at openside flank alongside Tom Curry with skipper Jono Ross, playing his last Sharks game before retirement, at No.8.
Gus Warr teams up with semifinal man of the match George Ford at halfback, and in the centres, Manu Tuilagi joins the ever-present Rob du Preez, who has started Sharks’ last 36 games.
Fresh from their try-scoring heroics at the AJ Bell against the Tigers, top scorer Tom Roebuck and fellow academy graduate Arron Reed start on the wings, with Joe Carpenter at fullback.
Scotland international Ewan Ashman, who will also play his final game for the club, lines up on the replacements bench alongside England international Bevan Rodd and multi-capped Springbok Coenie Oosthuizen.
Josh Beaumont and Ellis offer further forward cover for the season finale, whilst Raffi Quirke, Sam James and Tom O’Flaherty will give a serious energy boost from the bench.
@rugby365com: Saracens by four points.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Max Malins, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Ivan Van Zyl, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 5 Hugh Tizard, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Jamie George, 1 Eroni Mawi.
Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Callum Hunter-Hill, 20 Toby Knight, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Elliot Daly.
Sale Sharks: 15 Joe Carpenter, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Robert du Preez, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Arron Reed, 10 George Ford, 9 Gus Warr, 8 Jono Ross (captain), 7 Sam Dugdale, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Jean-Luc du Preez, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Simon McIntyre.
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Bevan Rodd, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Josh Beaumont, 20 Tom Ellis, 21 Raffi Quirke, 22 Sam James, 23 Tom O’Flaherty.
Date: Saturday, May 27
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 15.00 (14.00 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson and Christophe Ridley
TMO: Tom Foley