Holders Saracens take on Gloucester at Allianz Park in the first of Saturday’s semi-finals, as Sarries captain Brad Barritt is hoping to lead his side to a second straight Premiership final. (KO 1:30pm)
There’s no doubt that the key battle on the pitch, will be a mouthwatering battle between two of the worlds best fly-half’s. Saracens all-time top scorer and England captain Owen Farrell lines up against Premiership player of the year Danny Cipriani.
Farrell has been in sensational form for Sarries, and he was a crucial part in their recent Champions Cup triumph over Leinster. The 27-year old came third in the World Rugby Player of the Year awards, but many see him as the worlds best due to his formidable form in the turn of the year.
Eddie Jones’s refusal to pick Cipriani in his squad becomes increasingly baffling, as the standoffs creativity and magic hands would be a game-changing benefit to any side in the world. It is clear to all that Jones has to take him to the World Cup to give England the best chance of winning the Webb Ellis Cup.
Each team won their home game when the two met in the regular season, as Sarries breezed past Gloucester 38-15 in September, while the Cherry and Whites shocked a depleted Saracens back in February beating them 30-24.
Gloucester will be without star winger Ollie Thorley (knee) as he misses the game with a knee injury that he picked up last week in the defeat to Sale and they will also be without winger Matt Banahan.
Sarries are without props Mako Vunipola (hamstring) and Titi Lamositele (ankle), and they will be replaced by Richard Barrington and Vincent Koch, who came off the bench after 29 minutes against Leinster and impressed on the way to European glory.
The game will be Premiership rugby’s 3,000th game since the tournament began almost 22 years ago. It is also Cipriani’s 200th game in Premiership rugby.
The odds are up against Gloucester as the previous seven meetings between the two sides have been won by the home team and the Cherry and Whites have lost on all their last six visits to Allianz Park.
Referee: Luke Pearce (91st Premiership game, 1st semi-final).
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson & Paul Dix. TMO: David Grashoff.
Citing Officer: Buster White
Written by Ben Jaycock