AFTER two epic semi-finals, albeit of contrasting score lines, the action-packed rugby season reaches its peak tomorrow as Bath and Saracens do battle in the Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham.
Saracens became the fifth away side from 21 play-off semi-finals to progress to HQ after triumphing 29-24 over reigning champions Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens. Owen Farrell racked up 19 points and the 23-year-old will be eager to continue his fine form against England compatriot and opposite number George Ford tomorrow.
Bath have been irresistible to watch at times this season and didn’t disappoint last Saturday running in seven tries (47-10) against a courageous Leicester Tigers outfit at the Recreation Ground.
The West Country back-line, led by the Aviva Premiership Player of the Season, Ford, have grabbed the headlines with their fluid, attacking intent. Kyle Eastmond and Jonathan Joseph have forged a creative midfield partnership to help break up defensive patterns, releasing the likes of Anthony Watson and Bath’s all-time leading try scorer Matt Banahan, who secured the first hat-trick in Premiership semi-final history six days ago.
Saracens were left empty handed following defeats in the Heineken Cup and Premiership finals last year and will offer Bath a much sterner test than the Tigers did. Mark McCall’s team have a pack capable of going head-to-head with Bath’s forwards.
So long as Mike Ford’s side don’t abandon their style of play, the fact that they haven’t been in a domestic final since 2004 shouldn’t be decisive – they will field a starting XV with 12 internationals. Marginal favourites Bath will know that Saracens will bring a high quality kick-chase game but the aerial threat will be counteracted by their attacking philosophy. It’s worth backing the West Country men at 17/20 with Betway.
The weather is set to be fair which should mean that both sides will utilise their pace out wide. In the last five finals, there has been an average of more than 50 points scored, indicating that a buy of total points at 45 could prove lucrative.
Bath to win at 17/20 with Betway
Buy total points at 45 with Sporting Index