Two home wins. Next.
Can you see any other outcome from the two semi-finals this weekend? To my mind, Exeter and Saracens have been several levels above everyone else this season, and playing at home with the prospect of a final next week, I can’t see them slipping up.
Let’s look at the two matches individually.
Saracens v Gloucester
If you had to pick one potential upset, it would be this one. Gloucester have had a great season under Johan Ackermann, spearheaded by Premiership Player of the Year Danny Cipriani, and they managed a win over Saracens back in February at Kingsholm.
It might give Gloucester some confidence, but that was during the Six Nations with all the distraction and player absences that causes, and the semi-final is a different prospect.
Then you notice that the home side has won this match on the last 7 occasions, and that Gloucester haven’t won away since 2008, and you realise that whilst this is more likely to be an upset than the other match, it’s still not going to happen.
Saracens by 9
Exeter v Northampton
The Chiefs have topped the table by a distance, whilst the Saints have struggled most of the year and scraped into the playoffs by virtue of everyone else being a bit rubbish too.
Northampton did manage a win over Exeter over the Christmas period – a 3-point victory at Franklin’s Gardens – but the most telling recent form in this fixture comes from last week. Exeter scored 40 points against them in the final match of the regular season, where the only drive was a psychological edge over their potential semi-final opponents.
Northampton had to win to guarantee a playoff place, and with that motivation could only muster a defeat by 19 points – with Exeter likely to be even more ruthless this weekend, it could actually get a bit ugly.
Exeter by 23
What do you think? Can you see anything but a final between Exeter and Saracens?