Ollie Phillips: Saracens have shown why they, not Wasps, are going to be crowned Premiership champions

 
Ollie Phillips
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Saracens v Glasgow Warriors - European Rugby Champions Cup
Owen Farrell has shown that he is world class and can do no wrong (Source: Getty)

With the Premiership campaign firmly entrenched in its business end, I really cannot see beyond Saracens holding aloft the Premiership trophy for a third season in succession next month.

The European Champions Cup matches last weekend were a huge indicator as to how the remainder of the season will pan out. When the pressure was on against Glasgow, Saracens rallied and showed they relish those moments.

Sarries demonstrated that even though they’re third in the table at the moment – they trail leaders Wasps by six points and Exeter by one – the north Londoners can go through the gears when needed.

In contrast, Wasps went to Leinster and, while that’s a tough fixture and certain things didn’t go their way, their showing demonstrated to me that they don’t have the quality and class when it’s needed.

Dai Young’s side have produced some fantastic team performances this season and have world-class players but do they have what it takes to win the absolutely critical games? For me, they still need to learn and evolve as a team.

Saracens, who play Harlequins at Wembley Stadium tomorrow, are old hands, know how to win and have made a massive statement. When the heat is turned up, they’re clinical and ruthless.

Their team is crammed with big-game players who stand up and shoulder responsibility. Owen Farrell at No10 can do no wrong and the spine of the side is pure quality.

They also possess Jamie George, who I believe is the most outstanding hooker in world rugby at the moment and could start for the British and Irish Lions this summer, despite not being England’s first choice.

It’s a massive weekend of club rugby in London with Sarries and Harlequins going head to head and Bath and Leicester doing battle at Twickenham. The interesting sub-plot there is that George Ford is going up against Freddie Burns.

Bath's former Leicester player Ford has agreed to rejoin the Tigers next season, while Burns is moving in the opposite direction. It’s an intriguing one.

Ford probably needs a big performance because he’s running out of time to show that he can cope with pressure moments and deserves a place on that plane to New Zealand.

It is also a huge weekend for England in the World Sevens Series. England currently trail South Africa by 23 points in the standings, but if they can win in Hong Kong this weekend and Singapore next, they’ll be in a fabulous position.

These next two legs are vital and I back England to rise to the occasion. Wing Dan Norton is on fire and one more try would see him set a new all-time world record in sevens rugby of 245. Good luck England.

Ollie Phillips is a former England Sevens captain and now a director at PwC, focusing on organisational, cultural and technological change.@OlliePhillips11

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