Premiership semi-finals: Saracens, Gloucester, Exeter and Northampton in last four


Who will prevail from Gloucester, Saracens, Northampton and Exeter?
Gallagher Premiership play-off semi-finals
Date:Saturday 25 May well
Saracens v GloucesterVenue:Allianz ParkKick-off:13:30 BST
Exeter v NorthamptonVenue:Sandy ParkKick-off:16:30 BST
Coverage:Both matches live to tell the tale BBC Radio 5 Dwell and BBC local radio with live textual shriek material and rating updates on the BBC Sport web dwelling and app

Twelve teams kicked off with objectives of Premiership success and silverware in September. Now, in behind May well, moral four stay as we attain the semi-finals.

Defending champions Saracens and last season’s runners-up Exeter Chiefs seem favourites to book a repeat oftheir 2018 finalafter finishing in the top two.

Nevertheless Gloucester and Northampton Saints stand of their procedure and can honest hope to spring a shock (or two).

BBC Sport appears forward to each matches on Saturday with the aid of BBC Radio 5 Dwell’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast pundits Ugo Monye and Danny Care.

Saracens v Gloucester (Allianz Park, 13:30 BST)

Alex Goode and his Saracens team-mates accept as true with already lifted the European Champions Cup this season

2nd towards third from the usual season shuffle head-to-head first up on Saturday as Saracens host Gloucester in what’s going to be the 3,000th sport of Premiership rugby since the competition started in 1987.

Saracens accept as true with misplaced moral once of their previous 5 semi-final appearances whereas Gloucester procure themselves paired towards Sarries for the third time in the last four.

How beget the pundits admire this one unfolding?

Ugo Monye, gentle Harlequins, England and British and Irish Lions winger:

“Gloucester beat Saracens at Kingsholm earlier in the season, however they had been neatly overwhelmed at Saracens. That they had 50-odd capabilities attach on them.

“Nevertheless Gloucester stand a severely better likelihood than Northampton of causing an upset this Saturday as they and Saracens are the 2 extra energizing sides going into the semi-finals.

“You moral wonder what classes Gloucester accept as true with learned from that heavy defeat. Nevertheless they’ve purchased to contend with their like sport and they’ve purchased to take it to an unparalleled stage to beat Saracens.

“If we search at what this Saracens team accept as true with completed, especially in the European Champions Cup final, you’ve got purchased to be better than anything you’ve got ever attach collectively this season – put-part, defence, assault, kick-inch, work-payment.

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“That is the put you’ve got purchased to be to beat the handiest team in Europe. Gloucester accept as true with purchased one key operating cog of their machine inPremiership player of the season Danny Cipriani.

“He is assisted extra tries than anybody, however it indubitably’ll take extra than moral are trying assists.

Can Danny Cipriani cap off a ambitious week by reserving his Gloucester facet a Premiership final dwelling?

“You are going to accept as true with purchased to accept as true with the fleshy kit to beat the handiest team in Europe.

“For Cipriani to accept as true with a blinder, it methodology his pack accept as true with purchased to play neatly. If he does no longer accept as true with a blinder, it is since the fellows in entrance of him have not played neatly.

“Nevertheless that you simply would be in a position to no longer rely on Cipriani throwing 50-yard passes and pulling rabbits out of hats for 80 minutes to beat Saracens.”

Danny Care, Harlequins and England scrum-half:

“Gloucester need their handiest efficiency of the year and I accept as true with they also need Saracens to accept as true with an off-day.

“From staring at Saracens first-hand in that Champions Cup final, in the occasion that they protect anything fancy they did that day, they could possibly be no longer doable to shift.

“Cipriani cannot beget what he does with out his pack giving him the ball, with out centres Tag Atkinson and Billy Twelvetrees on his outside working these lines for him.”

Exeter v Northampton (Sandy Park, 16:30 BST)

Exeter proved too solid for Northampton in the last sport of the usual Premiership season

As soon as the important semi-final is over, consideration shifts to Devon the put first-positioned Exeter and fourth-positioned Northampton could possibly accept as true with a decided feeling ofdeja vu.

These two met every different moral last Saturday on the identical venue in the last sport of the usual season withChiefs at last powering by procedure of to care for 40-21.

Nevertheless will that dress rehearsal tell us anything about what to interrogate now that it is a winner-takes-all affair?

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Exeter are of their fourth Premiership semi-final in as decades, all of which accept as true with been at dwelling, whereas Northampton are in the last four for the important time since 2015.

Ugo Monye:“How are Northampton going so that you simply can overturn that 19-point deficit from last weekend?

“Exeter weren’t at their very handiest, however what I was once impressed with was once how Northampton indubitably went at it in the important 20 minutes. Nevertheless they could possibly no longer take it for 80 minutes.

“That is their assignment this weekend. Within the occasion that they would possibly be able to, then they’ve purchased a possibility.

“I originate no longer think Exeter’s scrum is anywhere advance the put it can possibly perhaps be. If Northampton are to accumulate a foothold in the sport, then it is the scrum.

“Exeter beget quit scrum penalties, however it indubitably’s what you beget with the ball when you happen to beget accept as true with it.

“If Exeter accumulate 60% possession, they could possibly whisk you aside fancy they did last Saturday. If that you simply would be in a position to take take of it, then you’ve got purchased every likelihood.”

Danny Care:“Exeter wished to care for last weekend to total first.

“It ought to’ve been tricky mentally these old few games, the put you’ve got purchased a dwelling semi-final, getting up for games when you happen to originate no longer want to accumulate injured, you moral want to accumulate by procedure of and accumulate to the meaningful games.

“It was once massively crucial for them that they purchased aid to a success ways and they’ve attach an enormous marker down towards the team they’re going by procedure of in the semi-final.

Northampton winger Taqele Naiyaravoro has scored seven tries in 19 Premiership appearances this season

“They’ll be fleshy of self belief now and I accept as true with they could possibly be in the final. Nevertheless it indubitably’s a one-off sport – you’ve got purchased every likelihood and anything can happen.

“If Northampton can take take of the ball for long ample, they’ve purchased some good avid gamers. Taqele Naiyaravoro on the hover is a freak, it takes two or three other folks to model out him.

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“Within the occasion that they would possibly be able to take take of the ball for longer and be extra clinical with it, they could possibly be in with a shriek.

“When Exeter accumulate the ball, they take it for minutes and minutes and minutes – and moral grind you down and rating tries.”

And who makes it to Twickenham?

Ugo Monye:“Statistically, 83% of play-off semi-finals accept as true with been won by the house facet.

“I accept as true with they could possibly be two wide games and the stats would dictate that the house sides will be favourites, however throw stats out of the window for an emotional, one-off sport.

“You are going to accept as true with purchased to give all people a possibility.

“It’s been a crazy year and I am no longer announcing it can possibly perhaps be a Gloucester-Northampton final, however when you’ll want to possibly perhaps be in the top four, I moral originate no longer think at this point it is magnificent to jot down these teams off.”

Saracens famed their third Premiership title care for in four years by beating Exeter in the 2018 final

Danny Care:“I could possibly perhaps be very vastly shocked if it wasn’t a Saracens-Exeter final.

“I could possibly perhaps be vastly shocked if Northampton can overturn that 19-point deficit in per week, so Exeter will be in the final.

“I’m in a position to’t admire Gloucester going to Saracens and a success, so this can even be a Saracens-Exeter final.”

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