After last weekend’s thrilling semi-finals, it’s Exeter Chiefs and Harlequins that will contest the Premiership play-off final at Twickenham Stadium this Saturday to decide who the 2020/21 English rugby union champions are.
- This is the sixth straight year that Exeter Chiefs have reached the final.
- Bookmakers make the Chiefs heavy odds on favorites to win the title for the third time.
- Harlequins haven’t been in a final since 2012 when they beat Leicester 30-23.
The Road To The Premiership Final
In the regular league season, Exeter Chiefs finished second in the table, while Harlequins finished in fourth place.
Bristol Bears topped the table with 85 points. They were 3 points ahead of Exeter Chiefs (82), and a massive 14 points ahead of Harlequins (71).
Both the play-off semi-final matches last Saturday were thrillers. First up, Exeter Chiefs defeated Sale Sharks by 40 points to 30.
That doesn’t tell the whole story though. Although Sale were pretty much behind for all of the match, Dan du Preez’s late try for the Sharks ensured a nervy finish for Exeter, and in the end, the Chiefs were relieved to have held on.
Sale director of rugby bemoaned his team’s defense after the final whistle. Alex Sanderson was quoted as saying “you don’t win semi-finals by conceding 40 points.”
If you thought that the Exeter and Sale match was exciting. what about Bristol Bears and Harlequins.
At half-time, Quins were down and out, the Bears led 28-5 and the match looked over.
Harlequins then mounted an extraordinary comeback in the 2nd half, making the match all square at 31 points each at full time.
The match then went into extra time, with Quins running in another 12 points, to eventually win the match 43-36.
Ex Harlequins captain, Chris Robshaw who now plays MLR rugby for San Diego Legion, was quick to tweet his praise for his ex-teammates.
What a game @Harlequins , yes the lads . Green outstanding, Marler playing 95min 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
— Chris Robshaw (@ChrisRobshaw) June 19, 2021
Exeter Chiefs vs Harlequins Betting
In 80 minutes outright winner betting, Exeter Chiefs are huge favorites to win at just -450. A draw is +2200, with a Harlequins win at +350.
In handicap betting, the major Sportsbooks are giving Harlequins an 11.5 point start. In this betting market, you can get odds of -110 on both sides.
In total, the two sides have met 29 times, with Exeter winning 19 matches, and Quins just the 10. Two of the last three meetings between these two sides have ended in victories for the Chiefs, here we look at them in more detail.
Exeter 21-20 Harlequins – 13th March 2021
In their last match, Exeter won a closely fought battle 21-20. In that match, the Chiefs had 56% possession and 55% territory. Exeter also outscored Quins by three tries to two.
Only in the penalty count did Quins win, they had two penalties to Exeter’s none.
Harlequins did hold a 13 points lead at one point in the match, and they managed to achieve eleven turnovers, compared to Exeter’s three.
The match was one that Quins really should have won, and could be a day that has a bearing on this final confidence-wise.
Harlequins 3-33 Exeter – 20th November 2020
Sam Simmonds scored a hat-trick in this match for the Chiefs, in what was the opening weekend of the current season. On the back of such a thrashing, not many would have given Quins a chance of making the final.
This was a bizarre match based on the stats. Exeter had the majority of the possession, 57%, and they also had 60% territory. While in the penalty count, it was 1-0 to Quins.
In the crucial turnover count, the two teams were pretty equal. Exeter turned over Quins 7 times, while Quins managed to complete 6 turnovers. A stat not supported in the final score.
Harlequins 34-30 Exeter – 29th February 2020
The third fixture we are going to look at is from the previous season and is the last time that Quins beat Exeter in the Premiership.
In this match, possession was even at 50% each. Quins just had the better of the territory, winning that battle 52% to 48%. In the try count, it was 4-3 to Quins, while the Chiefs had 4 penalties to Quin’s 3. Harlequins also win the turnover battle, by 5 to 4.
The match was ultimately decided by a bizarre penalty try awarded to Quins in stoppage time at the end of the match. Going into injury time, Exeter was 3 points to the good.
Eventually, the penalty try was awarded after a series of penalties conceded by Exeter on their 22-yard line.
Unfortunately for Harlequins, this match was 16 months ago. Will it have any bearing on this Saturday’s final? I doubt it!
Exeter vs Quins Prediction
Harlequins pulled off a major shock by beating Bristol Bears in their semi-final last weekend.
I do feel that was Harlequins’ cup final though, and that this match is going to be a formality for the Chiefs.
So with that in mind, we need to try and find a value bet.
In handicap betting, Exeter requires an extra 12 points to overcome the -11.5 handicap. In the two matches between the sides this season, the Chiefs have overcome the handicap once and succumbed to it once.
As I alluded to already, last weekend was Harlequins’ final. And as a result, I expect the Chiefs to run out winners in this match, and with plenty to spare.
So I am going to go with Exeter Chiefs to win the final by more than 11.5 points on Handicap betting – and to win their third Premiership Final trophy. The odds on this are -110.
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