Who’d have thought it? Here we are, one day away from the Premiership final, and Leicester are in it! Most fans would have gladly taken sneaking into the top four as progress this season. Instead we’ve topped the league, beaten our arch rivals Northampton in the semi-final, and now head to battle against the mighty Saracens at Twickenham.
It’s the first time in nine years for Tigers to be in the final. With our history, that’s a long, long time. Expect a lot of Tigers fans filling the Twickenham stadium tomorrow, eager to make the most of it after all the years of drought.
Even though Tigers topped the table, it’s not hard to see why Saracens are favourites. Yes, they came unstuck against Toulon in the Champions Cup, but they are a side loaded with winners, with big-game experience. Tigers just can’t compete on that front.
Come Saturday though, it’s fifteen against fifteen, and there isn’t a single position where one side hugely dominates the other. It’s going to come down to who hits top form on the day, gets the game plan right, adjusts to the inevitable changes as the game unfolds, and seizes control of the key momentum shifts. Sarries may be favourites, but this is a game Tigers can undoubtedly win.
Despite the like of Tim Stimpson calling for a few radical, left-field selection choices, the team is very much a Borthwick selection. He’s gone for experience rather than daring. I don’t think Leicester have a whole different game plan up their sleeve. And this isn’t the time to deviate massively from what has been working for them all season long. It could be viewed as conservative, but Borthwick was never likely to throw any wild, curve-ball selections at this final. He has put his trust in the people who have been performing for him all season long.
Saturday will determine whether that’s enough to win the final or not. This is a selection that, apart for the injury-enforced absence of Dan Kelly, is a first-choice selection by Borthwick. He trusts this group of players. Now it’s up to we fans to do the same and get behind them.
Come on you Tigers!
📺 Kick off is 3pm on Saturday 18 June, and the game is live on BT Sport and ITV.
💬 Ahead of the game, Steve Borthwick had this to say:
It is an exciting day for everyone involved with Leicester Tigers. The players have worked exceptionally hard all season to consistently improve and compete every week. We talk before every game about putting a performance that our supporters, our families and our friends will be proud of and that is the same ahead of Saturday’s game. It is an exciting team to go out and represent Leicester Tigers at Twickenham and we will need an 80-minute performance in each position against an experienced side like Saracens, who have world-class players throughout their squad.
Here are the official line-ups.
🏉 LEICESTER TIGERS
Forwards: 1) Ellis Genge © 2) Julián Montoya 3) Dan Cole 4) Ollie Chessum 5) Calum Green 6) Hanro Liebenberg 7) Tommy Reffell 8) Jasper Wiese
Backs: 9) Richard Wigglesworth 10) George Ford 11) Harry Potter 12) Guy Porter 13) Matías Moroni 14) Chris Ashton 15) Freddie Steward
Replacements: 16) Charlie Clare 17) Nephi Leatigaga 18) Joe Heyes 19) Harry Wells 20) George Martin 21) Ben Youngs 22) Freddie Burns 23) Matt Scott
Forwards: 1) Mako Vunipola 2) Jamie George 3) Vincent Koch 4) Maro Itoje 5) Nick Isiekwe 6) Theo McFarland 7) Ben Earl 8) Billy Vunipola
Backs: 9) Aled Davies 10) Owen Farrell © 11) Sean Maitland 12) Nick Tompkins 13) Elliot Daly 14) Max Malins 15) Alex Goode,
Replacements: 16) Kapeli Pifeleti 17) Eroni Mawi 18) Alec Clarey 19) Jackson Wray 20) Andy Christie 21) Ivan van Zyl 22) Duncan Taylor 23) Alex Lozowski
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce & Christophe Ridley
TMO: Tom Foley
Citing Officer: Chris Catling
Thanks for reading,
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