Bold predictions for the finale of the Gallagher Premiership season
There’s no doubt that the 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership season has been one of the most captivating in years.
We’ve seen the re-emergence of Leicester Tigers, the re-integration – like it or not – of formerly disgraced Saracens, and some scintillating rugby from the likes of London Irish and Harlequins.
As the campaign draws to a close, however, attention turns to the most important matters at hand: Who will top the league table, and who will prevail in the Grand Final?
Here is some educated guesswork on what will happen in the final weeks of the season, which may be of interest to those with a penchant for sports betting in the UK.
Tigers’ home comforts
There is no doubt that Leicester Tigers’ renaissance has been powered by their incredible form at their Welford Road home.
At the time of writing, their record on home soil reads W9 D0 L0 – an immaculate return and clearly the foundation of their success this term.
It does mean that they are operating at a rather more ordinary W6 D0 L3 on the road, and that may have implications further down the line when it comes to the play-offs.
Despite Saracens and Harlequins pushing them hard, the Tigers still have to play Bristol Bears, Wasps and the expansive London Irish on home soil, and three victories there would complete the Tigers’ perfect campaign at Welford Road. It would likely also be enough to secure them the regular season title.
Grand day out
While topping the table during the regular season is a noteworthy achievement on its own, the true measure of success – as far as the history books are concerned, at least – is in winning the post-season Grand Final.
This is where some teams really come into their own. For example, Exeter Chiefs have played in each of the last six Grand Finals despite only winning the league title in three of those campaigns.
Exeter will be hoping that history repeats itself, as their Gallagher Premiership campaign has not been the best so far. They have the lowest tries scored and points for tallies of any of the top eight teams in the league table, and although they remain on course for a play-off place, they will need to improve markedly during the post-season if they wish to continue their fine Grand Final tradition.
Purists and neutrals might be rooting for London Irish, whose gregarious style of play has seen them plunder 69 tries – the league’s best tally – and concede 58 (the most of any top-eight team) in their 18 games so far. Whether that expansive strategy can work in the cauldron of the play-offs remains to be seen, but Les Kiss’ men have been the Premiership’s great entertainers this term.
You probably won’t find many neutrals cheering on Saracens given their controversial recent past, but they have let their rugby do the talking in 2021/22, and a win over the Tigers in March has consolidated their claims as the possible Grand Final champion.
It would be an unpopular victory, but right now, it looks to be the most likely one.