The Final Whistle

By Andrew Hartup, Rugby World reader

The Final Whistle

So, justice was done this weekend. Leicester, the winners of the Guinness Premiership regular season won the play-off final against Saracens. They came top of the table, they deserve to lift the trophy. And they did it with style. Anyone who likes to grumble about Leicester playing dull, forwards-based rugby will surely be silenced (for now) by what they saw on Saturday.

The final was a glorious, tense, try-filled affair – a far cry from last year’s nervy, underwhelming penalty shoot-out. Players like Ben Youngs and Geoff Parling showcased themselves as talents to watch on England’s forthcoming summer tour, while key performances from Andy Saull and Brad Barritt only served to highlight the ridiculousness of their exclusion from the 44-man squad.

It’s bound to be a worry rattling round in Martin Johnson’s head following England’s last-gasp win against the BaBas yesterday. A late Olly Barkley penalty saved the experimental team’s blushes, after they’d thrown away a commanding lead. Yes, a win is a win going into a tough tour, and some players put in decent performances, but the team will have to perform for the full 80 minutes if we’re to avoid another massacre in the Southern Hemisphere…

Wales will certainly have cause to be chipper going into their tour. Last week’s Amlin win for the Blues was echoed in the Magners final on Saturday as the Ospreys finished off a Leinster team who will be happy to forget the 2009/10 season having failed to make the grade domestically or in Europe…

But surely the ‘Most Aggrieved Team Award’ for the week has to go to Bristol. Having topped the Championship table, and endured the bizarre pool-system to force their way into the play-off final for that solo promotion place, they failed to turn up against the Exeter Chiefs on Wednesday, and are facing the prospect of a second season in the lower league. So, justice may have been done in the Guinness Premiership, but the Championship play-offs have left many feeling cheated.


3 Responses to The Final Whistle

  1. Melvin Ward says:

    I disagree with the most aggrieved team of the week. Yes Bristol did top the championship most of the season but Exeter have been on there heels all the way and did defeat Bristol at the Memorial during the season. Exeter did a job at Sandy Park and then took the fight to Bristol at the Memorial and came out deserved winners, look at the scoreline on the night. I am actually a Plymouth Albion fan!!!

  2. Steve says:

    What a fun weekend of finals! I had a chance to watch the Super 14, Magner’s Grand final, and the English Guiness Final..the two former were good games, the final with Leicester gutting out a win in breathless fashion over Saracens was a classic. One of the best matches I have seen in a long time.

  3. Andy Hartup says:

    Hey Melvin

    I agree Exeter deserve their place in the Premiership, and as a man who has lived in Exeter, I’m glad to see them there.

    But you have to admit, the process of playing a regular season, then playing group-stage play-offs, then a semi, then a two leg final and still not getting promoted is a raw deal…

    Good to see Ryan Davis joining the Chiefs, by the way. He’s a talent and he deserves some game time. However, as a Bath man, I’m not sure I like the idea of Higgins ‘suddenly coming out of retirement’ to play for the Chiefs.

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