Leicester Tigers take on Saracens as the two most decorated sides in English rugby union this century go head to head at Twickenham to be crowned Gallagher Premiership champions.
It has been a long journey for Leicester, nine years after they last reached the final having lost a series of semi-finals in the interim. But under Steve Borthwick they have improved dramatically over the past two years and finished the league season on top of the pile with 20 wins from 24 games.
They take on Saracens, who returned from the Championship – where they were sent for salary cap breaches – and bounced straight back into contention at the top of the Premiership. Owen Farrell is in fine form, and his fly-half battle with England teammate and long-time friend George Ford will be at the heart of this match.
“Owen is a guy who will turn up as the Saracens talisman. He is brilliant and it’s an exciting challenge to come up against one of the best flyhalves in the world,” England full-back Freddie Steward said this week. “George is incredible, one of those players you appreciate more when you play with him. The time he creates for others and how he puts them into space, he’s magical.”
Follow the latest score and all the action from the Premiership final below.
Key stats ahead of the final
Here are some stats that OPTA have provided ahead of the final
- This will be the third time that Leicester Tigers and Saracens have met in a Premiership final, having also played each other in the 2009/10 and 2010/11 finals, with the record currently standing at one win apiece; both ties were decided by fewer than seven points.
- The Saracens have won nine of their last 11 games against Leicester in the Premiership, however the two sides were evenly split this season, winning one game apiece in the regular season, with both fixtures being decided by seven points or fewer.
- Saracens have averaged 151 tackles per game in the Premiership this season, more than any other team, also averaging the third most dominant tackles (6.0); Meanwhile, Leicester have averaged the joint most turnover-winning tackles this campaign (3.1 also Sale).
- Leicester Tigers’ George Ford is the top point scorer in the Premiership this season (220), having kicked the most penalties of any player (42); Saracens’ Owen Farrell has the best goal-kicking success rate of any player to attempt more than 10 kicks at goal (84%) – the average goal-kicker would have been expected to slot just 75% based on the difficulty of those kicks.
- Saracens’ Max Malins leads the try-scoring charts in this season’s Premiership (16), while his teammates Ben Earl (11) and Tom Woolstencroft (10) are also in double digits for tries scored this term; Earl has also completed more tackles than any other player this term (347).
Luke Baker18 June 2022 14:53
Last time they met
Saracens took the spoils in a 34-27 victory over Leicester at StoneX Stadium when these two met earlier in the season.
In a game played during the Six Nations, which of course meant that some of the stars were missing, Tigers took the lead through Eli Snyman but Sarries were too strong and tries via Tom Woolstencroft, Alex Lewington, Sean Maitland and Vincent Koch put them in control.
Leicester fought back and scores from Nick Dolly and Ollie Chessum gave them hope, but Woolstencroft touched down late on to seal the win for the hosts.
Luke Baker18 June 2022 14:51
Both teams were greeted by a wall of supporters when they arrived at Rugby HQ earlier.
Luke Baker18 June 2022 14:47
The teams for today’s final
A reminder how the sides line up for today’s Gallagher Premiership final.
Veteran scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth is preferred to Ben Youngs for Leicester, while the Premiership’s all-time top try scorer Chris Ashton starts on the wing.
Saracens make just one change from the semi-final starting XV that beat Harlequins as Nick Isiekwe comes into the second row for Tim Swinson. Mako Vunipola will make his 200th Sarries appearance, while the likes of England internationals Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly and Max Malins also start.
Luke Baker18 June 2022 14:43
Elliot Daly credits Eddie Jones and pub meeting for Saracens’ return to top
Mark McCall’s side is looking to become English champions for a sixth time at Twickenham today when they take on Leicester.
Leicester were the side to benefit from Sarries being relegated for repeated salary cap breaches in 2020 with an eventual 70-point deduction, which meant Tigers did not come at the bottom of the table and go down.
It was a tumultuous time for Saracens, who first discovered they had breached Premiership salary cap rules in November 2019 but only found out they would suffer relegation months later in January.
Daly reflected on how a meeting in the Wicked Lady pub resulted in the club’s senior players committing to staying and the journey back to the top flight in essence started there.
Luke Baker18 June 2022 14:39
England lock Maro Itoje never had any doubt Saracens would return to top table
Maro Itoje never had any doubt Saracens would be back competing for the biggest prizes but has admitted it would be an “amazing achievement” to secure more Twickenham success.
The StoneX Stadium club are back in the Gallagher Premiership final, 12 months after a two-legged victory over Ealing earned promotion from the second tier.
Sarries’ relegation to the Championship in 2020 was expected to be the end of an era for the north London club, who had won five league titles and three European crowns during a glittering decade of success before being shamed by the salary cap scandal.
However, for England international Itoje it was a matter of when, not if they would return to the home of English rugby to battle for honors again.
“I felt Saracens was the best place for me to continue to grow as a rugby player and as a person and I still felt certain towards it being an environment where I could achieve all my goals,” the lock said.
Luke Baker18 June 2022 14:35
Twickenham getting ready
Only 30 mins until kick-off and it promises to be a raucous atmosphere at Twickenham today. Harlequins’ victory in last year’s Premiership Final was only in front of 10,000 fans, so it’s great to have a full crowd again
Luke Baker18 June 2022 14:31
‘Bad words’ helped spur Saracens towards Premiership final
World Cup winner Vincent Koch believes the “bad words” aimed at Saracens helped underpin their recovery from relegation to contesting another Gallagher Premiership title.
Saracens will secure the Premiership crown for a sixth time in 12 seasons if they topple Leicester at Twickenham today
It is barely 15 months since they were beaten by Cornish Pirates after being demoted to the Championship following repeated salary cap breaches.
South Africa international Koch started that game at the Mennaye Field in Penzance and he has been a key part of Saracens’ rapid renaissance under rugby director Mark McCall.
Luke Baker18 June 2022 14:29
Freddie Burns ready to complete ‘unfinished business’ in Premiership final
Freddie Burns says that a Gallagher Premiership title triumph would “mean the world” to him as his 13th season of professional rugby heads towards a Twickenham finale.
The 32-year-old returns to a ground where he marked his Test debut by helping England beat New Zealand in 2012.
Now in his second spell with Leicester, Burns has also featured for Gloucester, Bath and Japanese club Toyota Jido Shokki during a much-travelled career.
Burns’ versatility as a fly-half and full-back has proved invaluable for Tigers boss Steve Borthwick this season.
And he is set to continue that key bench role on Saturday when Leicester’s first Premiership final appearance for nine years sees them tackling fellow English heavyweights Saracens.
Luke Baker18 June 2022 14:23
Biggest game of my life, says Ellis Gange
Leicester captain Ellis Genge has described today’s Gallagher Premiership final against Saracens as the biggest game of his career.
Genge, who has won 36 England caps and has been part of a World Cup squad, will make his Tigers farewell at Twickenham.
The 27-year-old Bristolian says he is “at peace” with his decision, which was announced six months ago, to join his hometown club later this summer.
And whatever happens this weekend, he will leave a club that he has helped revitalise from relegation candidates to title contenders in just two years.
Leicester finished 11th in the Premiership for two successive seasons – 2019 and 2020 – and won just 13 of their 44 league games over that period.
But they are now chasing league silverware again, nine years after their last Twickenham triumph.
“It has been a lot of hard work and a lot of good people putting a lot of time in away from the scenes, outside working hours, to get us where we are,” Genge said.
“I made a pact a long time ago that I would never leave Tigers if they were in a dark hole.
“I had all sorts of offers in 2017, 2018 and 2019 to go elsewhere when we were at the bottom of the pile, and I said I wanted to stick it out and see brighter days.
“So, I can hopefully leave on Saturday with my head held high.
“I want to be with my family. I just want to be accessible for my family. I am at peace with it (his move to Bristol).
“I’ve still got my stuff in the changing rooms. I haven’t packed up, I still live up here, and I’ve got the biggest game of my career on Saturday, and I will wait until after that for thinking about that stuff.”
Lawrence Ostlere18 June 2022 14:13