Rugby Union: Premiership and Pro-14 Final Previews

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It’s another huge weekend of rugby union with both the Premiership and Pro-14 Finals taking place on Saturday.

Exeter Chiefs defend their Premiership title against against 2015 and 2016 champions Saracens at Twickenham. At the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Leinster attempt to wrestle the title away from Llanelli Scarlets in the Pro-14 finale.

They’re two huge games and the Ladbrokes News crew preview the pair…

Exeter v Saracens

The Chiefs are on a mission to become only the fourth side ever to win back-to-back Premiership titles. The might of Saracens stand in their way, but it looks a close-and-exciting contest that could well be a classic.

Both sides finished as the top-two sides in the country and easily dispatched of their play-off semi-final opponents. But it’s Exeter who are slight underdogs at 5/4, with Saracens at 4/6.

That’s despite the Chiefs beating their opponents home and away in the league campaign. And also looking like a squad who have a lot more potential to grow into.

But Sarries are still top quality and in the Vunipola brothers, Maro Itoje, and Owen Farrell, they possess England’s best players.

Mark McCall’s side beat the Chiefs in the final two years ago, 28-20. But Exeter disappointed that day. And, arguably, Rob Baxter’s squad now possesses a far greater blend of precocious talent and gritted experience.

Exeter are 10/11 on the +3 Handicap market. And the Chiefs look a side primed for more glory.

Leinster v Scarlets

It’s fitting that these two teams meet in the final again this year. Scarlets came out on top last year in a superb game to become champions. And they have been the two outstanding Pro-14 teams once again this season.

This final will be a repeat of the European Rugby Champions Cup semi-final. Leinster emphatically rolled over their Welsh counterparts at the Aviva that day. And the Irish province are just 2/9 to win here at the same venue.

The European champions are simply the best team on the continent right now. We’ve written previously about how they have the perfect blend of outstanding young talents and top-class veterans.

Leo Cullen’s side have brushed all before them this season. However, the head coach does have a slight issue. Robbie Henshaw misses out through injury. And Isa Nacewa could also be absent with a calf problem.

Scarlets will still need a lot to go in their favour here to retain any hope of victory. The Welsh outfit could become only the second back-to-back champions, and that could weigh heavily on Wayne Pivac’s team.

This should be a lot closer than the Champions Cup semi-final. Scarlets are 10/11 to win on the +11 Handicap.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Cian Carroll

Starting life as a football columnist for his local paper in Dundalk, Cian has written for a number of media outlets with pieces published in The Birmingham Mail and Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo. A lover of football, GAA, boxing, rugby and MMA, he’s a big Aston Villa and Dundalk fan. He can be regularly spotted on various mountain tops.