Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final

English Premiership Rugby 2020/21 Season Playoff Final

This weekend brings us the final of England's top domestic rugby union league! Twickenham Stadium hosts the 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership Season Final between Exeter Chiefs and Harlequins

The game will be played on Saturday the 26th of June with kickoff at 5:30pm. Only 10,000 fans will be allowed inside 82,000 seater Twickenham, home of the RFU and the England national team.

Season Rundown

The 2020/21 season ended with Bristol Bears leading the table on 85 points, followed by Exeter Chiefs on 82 points, Sale Sharks on 74 points and Harlequins comfortably into 4th place with 71 points. The top 4 sides finished some distance clear of their nearest challengers, with Northampton Saints falling well short in 5th place with just 57 points. In the Gallagher Premiership, the four best sides enter into a playoff semi final and final to declare the league winner. 1st place Bristol faced 4th place Harlequins, and the 2nd and 3rd place Chiefs and Sharks made up the second semi final. 

Bristol would have been confident going into the semi final after their table topping season, but were left stunned by an astounding Harlequins comeback. The Bears led the match 28-0 within as many minutes, until Quins' Alex Dombrandt pulled back a try just before half time. Harlequins then ran in three more unanswered tries after the break to bring the score to a close 28-24. Looking for their first ever Premiership final, Bristol pressed to increase their lead, managing one penalty to take the score to 31-24, but a late Quins try and conversion levelled the score to 31-31. The sound of the final whistle meant the game would go into the first ever extra time in a Premiership semi final, keeping alive Quins' hopes of reaching their first final since the 2011/12 season.

Harlequins started extra time strongly, scoring first to take a lead of 31-36. Bristol quickly responded to score and convert for 38-36, but as the game wore on, injuries took their tole on the league winners. Two Bristol players were forced out due to injury and having used all of their subs, they were forced to see out the game with 13 men. Unfortunately for them, Harlequins used their two man advantage to full effect, crashing over the line on the 100 minute mark and converting to win the game 36-43 and be the first team into the 2021 final.

In the other semi final Exeter's blistering start was too much for Sale to handle, allowing the Chiefs to go into the half with a 22-13 lead. In the second half the Chiefs held their lead comfortably for most of the game, but Sale pulled it back to a 7 point deficit with nine minutes remaining to give the Chiefs a sharp wake up call. With three minutes to go though, Exeter gained a penalty and kicker Simmonds sent the ball sailing through the posts to give themselves a 10 point lead and begin the celebrations early.

At the bottom of the table, Worcester Warriors suffered their second relegation in ten years, after winning only 4 games to reach 27 points, well behind 11th place Gloucester on 45. They will be replaced by the returning Saracens, who defeated Ealing Trailfinders 60-0 and 57-15 across a two legged promotion playoff. 

English rugby table, Premiership table, Gallagher Premiership table

(2020/21 Gallagher Premiership Table)

Who are the Finalists?

Exeter Chiefs, Exeter Chiefs PNG, Exeter Chiefs Rugby, Chiefs Rugby

Since promotion to the Premiership in 2010, Exeter Chiefs (Exeter Rugby Club) have become one of the best sides in English rugby club, reaching their sixth consecutive Premiership final this season. Of their five previous finals, the Chiefs have only won two, the 2016/17 final and last year's 2019/20, when they also won the European Champions Cup. This season the Chiefs finished second in the table, with 17 wins, 0 draws and 5 defeats. They missed out on first, just 3 points behind Bristol Bears, who also won 17 matches but managed to gain 1 draw and only 4 defeats.

The Chiefs lineup contains plenty of internationals, including Scotland captain Stuart Hogg and fellow cap Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Wales winger Alex Cuthbert and two player of the year nominees in Englishman, Sam Simmonds, and Zimbabwe international, Dave Ewers, among many top class players. 

They should go into the final the more confident of the two sides, having despatched Quins twice in the regular season already, defeating them 33-3 and 21-20, but will be wary of a team that was able to finish so comfortably inside the playoff spots.

Harlequin FC SVG, Harlequins rugby, Harlequins Premiership

London based Harlequins (Harlequin Football Club) have made it to their first playoffs for 7 years, and their first final in 9 years, where they won their only Premiership title. This season they finished 4th, just 3 points off 3rd place Sale Sharks and 13 points ahead of 5th place Northampton Saints, with 13 wins, 1 draw and 8 defeats. 

Quins go into the final as the underdogs, but their lineup still contains some of the league's best, including player of the year nominee Marcus SmithArgentina scrum-half Martin Landajo, and the club's top try scorer this season, Alex Dombrandt.

Harlequins will be acutely aware of the dangers Exeter pose, but will be more than motivated enough by the opportunity to assert themselves as one of England's best rugby sides against one of the best sides in England and in Europe.

What is the Gallagher Premiership ?

The Gallagher Premiership is the top professional league for rugby union in England, and is one of the major rugby union leagues in the world with four of the last ten European Champions Cup winners coming from England.

The league contains 12 teams and follows a double round robin format before ending in a playoff to declare the league champion. Teams receive 4 points for a win, 2 points for a draw, 0 for a defeat. There is also the possibility for teams to receive a bonus point by scoring more than four tries in a game and/or by losing than less than 7 points in the game.

The playoffs include the top four teams at the end of the regular season, with 1st place meeting 4th and 2nd playing 3rd. The winners of these games progress to the final, played at England's national rugby stadium, Twickenham.

At the bottom of the table the club ranked 12th is automatically relegated to the RFU Championship, the second tier of English rugby union, and replaced by the promotion playoff winner, played between first and second in the Championship.

We hope you find a way to watch the match, and look out for your nearest pro side in the UK and Ireland to support your local side.

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