Gallagher Premiership Rugby final: Five classic Twickenham encounters from the last decade

Whet your appetite for Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs in the final of the Gallagher Premiership with these classic encounters from the last decade

By Callum Davis Published: 24 June 2021 - 3.16pm
Premiership final rugby BT Sport

Premiership final

Underdogs Harlequins and reigning champions Exeter Chiefs will go toe-to-toe for the right to be crowned kings of English rugby as the Gallagher Premiership reaches its thrilling conclusion at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon.

Ahead of what is sure to be an enthralling heavyweight encounter, BT Sport takes a trip down memory lane with five of the best finals from the last decade of top-flight rugby.

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2012: Harlequins 30-23 Leicester

Harlequins won their first ever English title in style nine years, toppling reigning champions Leicester in front of a packed Twickenham. 

Three Nick Evans penalties and a try from Tom Williams gave Quins a one-point half-time lead as Steve Mafi's try and eight points from teenager George Ford kept the Tigers close.

Evans then kicked three penalties and converted Chris Robshaw's try.

Anthony Allen crossed for Tigers and Ford converted and landed a late penalty, but Harlequins held on.

Victory represented a redemption of sorts for the south-west London club, three years after they were vilified for the 'Bloodgate' controversy. 

Quins became only the third club in Premiership history to finish the season top of the table and go onto win English rugby's top prize after Sale and Leicester.  

2014: Northampton 24-20 Saracens (aet)

It took until the last minute of extra-time of the final game of the season for the Premiership title to be decided in 2014.

With so many internationals on show, it was the unlikely name of Alex Waller on everyone’s lips as the Saints prop burrowed over for the match-winning try in a thrilling climax to a dramatic clash with Saracens.

Ben Foden’s try was cancelled out by the boot of Owen Farrell in the first half and while George Pisi crossed after the interval, Marcelo Bosch dived over to level up proceedings and send the game to extra-time.

Charlie Hodgson, Premiership winner with Sale in 2005, then came on and kicked Sarries in front, but with the game coming to a dramatic conclusion, Waller went over and the TMO awarded the score to give Saints their first-ever Premiership title.

The result capped off a miserable seven days for Saracens, having lost to Toulon in the European final the week before.

2017: Exeter Chiefs 23-20 Wasps (aet)

You don’t have to go very far back in time to for one of the greatest finals of the Premiership era.

In 2017 Wasps and Exeter Chiefs played out an instant classic in the baking hot sun at Twickenham as the Chiefs emerged victorious for the first time in their history, just seven years after earning promotion from the Championship.

Tries from Jack Nowell and Phil Dollman in the first half put Rob Baxter’s side in front and seemingly cruising to a maiden title.

But they were pegged back by scores  Elliot Daly and Jimmy Gopperth, who both went over to put Wasps on the brink of glory.

In a nail-biting end to normal time, the Chiefs needed a last-gasp Gareth Steenson penalty to send the game to extra-time at 20-20.

Neither side could find a way through for the majority of a gruelling additional period until Steenson ensured he would never have to buy a drink in Devon again by slotting the match-winning penalty.

2019: Saracens 37-34 Exeter

The third and most recent Premiership final between these two rivals was arguably the greatest of them all. 

In a eye-wincingly physical clash, Saracens retained their league crown to wrap up a second European and domestic cup double. 

Just two weeks after overpowering Leinster in another brutal encounter, Mark McCall's men overturned an 11-point deficit to retain their Premiership crown.

It looked as though the Chiefs were on course to deny Sarries an historic double and become champions for a second time after England centre Henry Slade crossed the whitewash to give the Devonians a 27-16 lead early in the second half.

But a Saracens side packed with internationals proved their big-game credentials as tries from Liam Williams, Sean Maitland and Jamie George helped them take the lead late on to set up a nail-biting finish. 

Despite a late Chiefs try from Sam Hill, the north Londoners held on to make it three defeats from three for Exeter in finals against Saracens. 

No side had ever come back from a deficit of more than six points in a Premiership final before but Saracens' record-breaking fightback was a fitting way to become just the second club to win the double twice in their history after Leicester, who won back-to-back English and European titles in 2001 and 2002.

2020: Exeter 19-13 Wasps

On the 10th anniversary of their promotion to the Premiership, Exeter completed their first domestic and European double as they beat Wasps for a second time in three years to win a second league crown.

Slade's try cancelled out Jimmy Gopperth's early penalty before rookie wasps fly-half Jacob Umaga's score briefly put the Midlanders in front, only for Joe Simmonds to kick two penalties to put the Chiefs ahead at the break.

A second Gopperth penalty was followed by a third from Simmonds in a tense second half played in miserable wet weather at Twickenham.

A tense last quarter saw Exeter repel a late Wasps late surge before another kick from the boot of Simmonds sealed the match.

The victory came seven days after Exeter beat Racing 92 to win their maiden European Champions Cup title as the Chiefs became just the fourth English side to win both the Premiership and top-tier continental title in the same season.