Exeter Chiefs vs Sale Sharks
These two teams come into the final having taken vastly different paths. Harlequins played their semi away to the log leading Bristol Bears and produced the greatest comeback seen in Premiership knockout history. They came from 28-0 down to force extra time then win it. Exeter had as easier path as they had the home semi and comfortably saw of the physical Sale Sharks. Playing the extra 30 mins in their semifinal already puts Harlequins at a disadvantage. The Chiefs are playing their sixth consecutive Premiership final while Harlequins are in their first final since 2012. Harlequins showed that they are the best attacking team in the league but it won’t be easy to breach the Chiefs defensive wall. The Chiefs on the other hand are like slow poison. They don’t do the flashy things but rather wear down their opponents with their forwards. The Chiefs had their two locks suspended in the semi but hardly missed them as Johnny Gray was outstanding after his return from injury. Harlequins semifinal performance was an once in a season result. Not many if any team can come back from 28-0 but it showed their team spirit and fighting abilities. The man that ignited the comeback was Alex Dombrandt as he scored a try just before the break but the player that was the man of the match was undoubtedly their South African full back Tyrone Green. He beat defenders at will and finished with an incredible 168 run metres and 14 defenders beaten. To top things up he scored a try and had a try assist. I am sure Rob Baxter and co. would have done their homework to keep close tabs on Green.
TIP: As with all rugby finals the forwards will decide the outcome of this match and Exeter have the advantage in this area. The scrum battle will be fierce and both sets of starting props are international players. Joe Marler has been sensational for Harlequins at scrum time and he has singlehandedly won a few games with his prop partner Wilco Louw. Harlequins will need to be better with their discipline as this Chiefs team love kicking to the corner when they win penalties. They have the most dangerous rolling maul in the league and Harlequins will need to find a way to counter it. The bookies have Exeter has heavy favourites and I will go along with that as I tip a comfortable victory for the Chiefs. The best odds on the Chiefs outright win are: Worldsportsbetting 1.22, Playabets 1.19 and Sunbet 1.22
HEAD TO HEAD STATS
Exeter vs Harlequins
- In the last five matches between the sides there have been three Exeter wins and two for harlequins.
- Harlequins have only beaten Exeter once at home in the last 10 meetings.
- Exeter victory margin in their last three victories over Harlequins were under 7.
Latest results for both teams
Exeter beat Sale Sharks 40-30 in their last match while Harlequins beat Bristol 43-36 in their last match.
The Chiefs have the experience of finals and they understand what’s required in these big games. Harlequins love to attack from anywhere on the pitch led by their superb halfbacks Marcus Smith and Danny Care. The entire team is great at going forward but their problem is a porous defence. Against a team like Exeter they will not get many opportunities as the Chiefs are the best at keeping possession among their forwards. The Chiefs sprung a surprise in the semis and started with Jack Nowell ahead of Stuart Hogg and it proved to be a master stroke as Nowell was everywhere and eventually finished with two tries. The game could well come down to the Harlequins attack versus the Exeter defence and my money is on Exeter coming out on top. I feel Harlequins will be drained from their semifinal heroics therefore I’m predicting a comfortable Chiefs victory by 14 points.
- Probable Starting XVs
15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds (captain), 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Richard Capstick, 5 Johnny Gray, 4 Sam Skinner, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Alec Hepburn
15 Tyrone Green, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Aaron Morris, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Jack Kenningham, 6 Tom Lawday, 5 Stephan Lewies (captain), 4 Matt Symons, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Joe Marler.
Odds for this bet
The best odds on the Exeter victory are as follows:
Odds comparison on the Exeter handicap:
The complete odds on the Exeter handicap:
Worldsportsbetting (-11.5) 1.90
Sunbet (-10.5.5) 1.89
Playabets (-10.5) 1.89
Predictions and Odds in details
The finals as always is played at Twickenham with a crowd of 10000 allowed and although this is not ideal its better than playing in an empty stadium. The player that has scooped all the awards this season is Sam Simmonds and he has also destroyed the try scoring records. Harlequins will need to watch him closely as he is deadly near the tryline especially when he breaks away from the maul. The Harlequins back line has threats from all sides but they will only be effective if their forwards can lay a platform for them to attack. This is where I think the game will be won for Exeter as they have the dominant pack. Exeter forwards are ruthless when they have the ball and the Harlequins defence will simply not with stand the constant barrages from them. The odds on the Harlequins outright victory offer poor return for punters therefore I suggest Exeter on the handicap victory. The best odds on the Exeter handicap are as follows: Worldsportsbetting (-11.5) 1.90, Sunbet (-10.5.5) 1.89 and Playabets (-10.5) 1.89
Sports crazy fan that follows all major sport but the game with the oval ball is my real passion. Was an age level rugby coach and a huge supporter of the Springboks and diehard Liverpool man. I’m an experienced punter and sports writer whose predictions/tips are sure to stir up the emotions. I love the occasional wager on the underdog.