Twickenham on Saturday will be a blaze of colour, feathers and passion as the superb Exeter Chiefs attempt for a second time to make history for the club. What an advertisement for promotion and relegation the Chiefs are with the way they have fought their way into the top league and demonstrated year on year they not only belong but are one of the top sides.
As everyone probably knows Rob Baxter’s team is not stuffed with superstars but excellent players who are superbly coached and have bucket loads of team spirit In many ways they remind me of Saracens in their relentless pursuit of improvement and they way they all play for each other. This is what made that semi final so fascinating for me. Outstanding commitment and passion from two teams never prepared to step down. Saracens were clearly running on empty but still put in a monumental shift which almost won them the game.
As for my old club Wasps, they have their own story to tell of a club facing financial ruin and relegation taking the massive risk of upping sticks and moving to the Midlands. A crowd of over 30k watched them beat Leicester in the semi final which is quite astounding. Wasps have a back line that has to sit up there with the best in Europe and here they are with the chance to be crowned Premiership champions.
This is going to be one hell of a tasty battle with no real underdog. Either team can win this and as both a proud South-Westerner and ex Wasp you can imagine my loyalties are going to be tested. The romantic in me would love to see Exeter do it to complete the fairy story but who could argue that Wasps do not deserve it after the stunning season they have had and finishing top of the league.
The game pits two different styles against each other. Exeter’s pack is so well drilled and they are very dangerous close to the try line. I would expect them to win the forward battle especially in the scrum and then capitalise on it. Wasps will look to strike from anywhere on the pitch and there could well be even more dramatic last minute scores. So grab a cold beer and settle down on Saturday because as either a neutral of a fan this is going to be a cracker of a match.