Premiership Immortals - The Debate ShowAug 29
Saracens take on Sale Sharks in the Gallagher Premiership final at Twickenham on Saturday, live on BT Sport.
The division’s top two teams clash to decide the title winners, with Saracens the slight favourites having finished five points ahead of their opponents.
Here are three reasons to watch what promises to be an enthralling contest at the home of English rugby.
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Saracens out for redemption
The cruel reality of last year’s Premiership final defeat to Leicester will have taken some time to get over for everyone associated with Saracens.
With the score level at 12-12, Freddie Burns' last-minute drop-goal secured victory for Leicester Tigers in the most dramatic fashion.
There was jubilation for the winners but devastation for the beaten Saracens players, who looked on disconsolately as Leicester lifted the trophy for an 11th time.
England’s most successful team aren’t in Saracens' way this time, though. Instead, the less fancied Sale Sharks will attempt to stop the Premiership’s most consistent team.
Owen Farrell and co will be determined to put right the disappointment of 2022 and secure a sixth Premiership title for Saracens, a total that would take them level with Bath and Wasps.
After a relatively comfortable semi-final victory over Northampton, in which Scotland winger Sean Maitland starred with two tries, there is just one step left to take for the North London club.
Sale aiming to end long wait for Premiership success
Sharks fans haven’t had a huge amount to celebrate over the last couple of decades.
The 2019-20 Premiership Rugby Cup title was a rare honour for a club that have generally found themselves mid-table in the top flight.
Sale’s Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson has taken the team to new heights, though, since his appointment in 2021.
Victory over holders Leicester Tigers in the semi-final thanks to tries from Tom Roebuck and Arron Reed and some impressive kicking from George Ford sent Sharks into their first Premiership final in 17 years.
Sale won that final in 2006, beating Leicester 45-20 to win their first and only title.
A lot has happened since, but the long wait could be worth it for Sale fans if they come out on top this weekend.
Ford vs Farrell on the biggest stage
Club rugby doesn’t get much bigger than this and there are few players better suited to such an occasion than George Ford and Owen Farrell.
With close to 200 England caps between them, both players are hugely influential for their respective teams.
Dependable when called upon for penalties and conversions and expert kickers in open play, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one of the two make a decisive impact in the final as Burns did for Leicester last year.
There is also the question of which fly-half gets the nod for England with the World Cup in France looming over the horizon.
Steve Borthwick will be watching closely, then, in what will be an intriguing battle.
Farrell has played more often this year than Ford, who has been set back by injuries and only returned recently.
But there’s little to separate the two and either could be a potential match winner on Saturday.