Saracens And Wasps Favourites To Reach Twickenham

Rugby Union Preview: Saracens And Wasps Favourites To Reach Twickenham

2017-05-19
Preview of the Aviva Premiership play-offs this weekend.

Exeter are 8/5 to beat European champions Saracens and gain revenge for their defeat in last year’s final when the two teams meet in Saturday's Aviva Premiership play-off showdown.

A repeat of last season's showpiece sees Exeter aiming to book a second successive Twickenham appearance, while Saracens, who will be without injured captain Brad Barritt, are two wins away from completing a league title hat-trick.

Back-to-back European and domestic trophy doubles are also in their sights, and Exeter head coach Rob Baxter knows the size of his team's challenge at Sandy Park.

“I think our ball-carrying, our ball retention and our set-piece has been particularly good in attack over a large part of the season, and we've got to make sure that holds itself up,” he said.

“Obviously, defensively we have to control the gain-line when Saracens are coming at us, and being decisive in our decision-making is going to be very important because Saracens traditionally put a lot of pressure on teams who beat themselves by being indecisive and second-guessing themselves.

“The truth is, they've had a tough game (the European Champions Cup final six days ago), so we have to play in a way that physically and emotionally challenges them.

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“What Saracens have shown is they are very good at recharging their batteries physically and emotionally, so it is a challenge.”

Exeter are unbeaten in the Premiership since Bath toppled them almost seven months ago, but they drew and lost the two regular season games against Saracens this term.

Sarries are 13/25 to triumph again and 11/9 to win by at least eight points, while the draw can be backed at 22/1.

In the other semi-final, regular season table-toppers Wasps are the firm favourites at 1/4 to beat Leicester in front of an expected 30,000 Ricoh Arena crowd.

Dai Young's men are looking to go one better than last season and reach a first Premiership final since 2008.

Leicester, despite finishing 18 points behind Wasps and seeing their campaign dominated by coaching upheavals, have reached the play-offs for a 12th successive time though and are 3/1 to cause an upset.

In the outright betting, Saracens lead the way at 5/4 ahead of Wasps at 7/4. Exeter are available at 13/4 while Leicester are very much the outsiders at 14/1.