The final showdown of the Aviva Premiership 2016/17 will take place this Saturday at 2:30 where Wasps will face Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham.
Hard Fought Semi-Finals
Both semi-final games had lots of action and late drama. Exeter managed to beat back a resurgent Saracens with a last minute rolling maul sparked by Henrey Slade’s amazing kick to the corner. They deservedly won 18-16. This game will have taken its toll due to the physicality that Saracens bring to every game.
Wasps took on their new Midlands neighbours, Leicester, in a game that was fraught with errors from them. However, a Josh Basset try right at the death of the game secured victory with a 21-20 win for the Wasps. This did spell injury for Kurtley Beale, Wasp’s marquee player, who now faces a race to get fit for his final game before a move back to Australia.
Wasps and Chiefs are both attacking teams. Wasps have more experience as a club and more history in this final. Chiefs were in this position last year and were knocked out by Saracens so will be hungry for a victory.
Wasps defence has looked a little shoddy recently, and they have not looked at their best. Chiefs, however, are starting to look like a team that will win at any cost with six victories in a row.
However, I believe that Wasps will come through victorious. The quality of their squad and a number of leaders on the field, such as Joe Launchbury and James Haskell, should lead them to a narrow victory.
Playoffs? What are they are why do we have them?
The playoffs are a system by which the top four teams battle it out to determine the winner of the season.
Many have stated, myself included, that this system is inherently unfair. It is a money-grab to create big games. While these games can be good for growing domestic rugby it does not recognise a continued and consistent effort throughout the season. If this is to be in place then surely there should be some form of recognition for the winning team.
Furthermore, it results in internationals playing more games than counterparts. Ultimately, Billy Vunipola would probably still be travelling on the Lions tour if not for the semi-finals. Playing this many games gives a disadvantage against the southern hemisphere teams such as New Zealand who centrally contract players and give them the rest they need.