Are the Guinness Premiership play-offs outdated?

By Robin Woolley
guinness premiershipLeicester Tigers take on Saracens in their sixth successive Guinness Premiership Final next Saturday
guinness premiership

Photo: Vincent Cornelius

Leicester Tigers take on Saracens in their sixth successive Guinness Premiership Final next Saturday.

Richard Cockerill’s men will be looking to retain the title they won last year after beating London Irish 10-9 in a hard fought final.

Saturday’s game will be the last time that former England flanker Lewis Moody pulls on a Tigers shirt before he completes his move to long-term rivals Bath.

Tigers booked their place in the showpiece event with a close win over Bath at Welford Road, whilst Saracens powered past Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens.

There is a sense that the play-off system, now a decade old, still offers a slightly limp end to the season.

For the team who finish the regular season top of the table, there is a feeling that all of that can be undone in one game. Whilst for the team who finishes second, third or fourth, there is the risk that they will be labelled as undeserving of the title.

However, one can understand the drama and excitement connected to the play-offs, as seen in football, and realise that it is a big money-spinner for both the clubs and the television channels.

That doesn’t stop the purists’ argument that the team who performs best over the course of the season should be crowned champions at the end, without having to endure two further games against teams who they have already out-performed.

It still looks like it will be an exciting game, not least as it features a fair few names who might well become England regulars in the not too distant future.

Alex Goode, Ben Youngs, Andy Saul et al should provide a good afternoon’s spectacle.

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