The 2023 Gallagher Premiership final takes place at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon with Saracens meeting Sale Sharks.
English Rugby Premier League has had a turbulent season. It has been rocked by financial chaos with the demise of Worcester and Wasps and the London Irish are likely to follow next week.
But the final remains the crown jewel of the Premiership.
Here’s MailSport’s guide to the flagship game at the birthplace of English rugby.
When is the Gallagher Premiership final and who plays?
The 2023 Gallagher Premiership final takes place on Saturday May 27 at Twickenham Stadium with kick-off at 3pm. The game will pit London Saracens against Sale Sharks Manchester, who are chasing their first domestic title since 2006.
Sale Sharks haven’t won a domestic title since 2006, when they beat holders Leicester
Saracens topped the table this year and overthrew Harlequins to book a place in the final
Can I still buy tickets?
Ticket sales for this year’s final have been slower than in previous years and there are still plenty to buy.
The game is unlikely to sell out as things stand. Tickets can be purchased here.
Where can I watch the game on TV?
It is the first Premiership final to be shown on both a pay channel and mainstream terrestrial television.
The game will be available on the Premiership’s main broadcast partner, BT Sport, but will also be on ITV 1. Nick Mullins will be BT Sport’s commentator with Miles Harrison on the microphone for ITV 1.
What are the teams and who is the referee?
The teams and referee for the final are as follows:
Saracens: Alex Goode; Max Malins, Alex Lozowski, Nick Tompkins, Sean Maitland; Owen Farrell (captain), Ivan van Zyl; Eroni Mawi, Jamie George, Marco Riccioni, Maro Itoje, Hugh Tizard, Nick Isiekwe, Ben Earl, Jackson Wray
Subs: Theo Dan, Mako Vunipola, Christian Judge, Callum Hunter-Hill, Toby Knight, Aled Davies, Duncan Taylor, Elliot Daly
Sale Sharks: Joe Carpenter; Tom Roebuck, Rob du Preez, Manu Tuilagi, Arron Reed; George Ford, Gus Warr; Simon McIntyre, Akker van der Merwe, Nick Schonert, Jean-Luc du Preez, Jonny Hill, Tom Curry, Sam Dugdale, Jono Ross (captain)
Subs: Ewan Ashman, Bevan Rodd, Coenie Oosthuizen, Josh Beaumont, Tom Ellis, Raffi Quirke, Sam James, Tom O’Flaherty
Arbitrator: Luke Pearce (RFU) – Pearce is one of English rugby’s finest whistlers and will be taking charge of his first Premiership final. The 35-year-old was among Wayne Barnes’ assistants for last year’s showpiece between Leicester Tigers and Saracens and now takes over as the overall lead.
Pearce, who took charge of his first Premiership game in 2011, will be assisted by Karl Dickson and Christophe Ridley with Tom Foley in the TMO chair.
Sale will wear his brown change kit to avoid color clash for colorblind fans
What will the teams wear?
Interestingly, both sides will wear their change kits with the Saracens in white and the sale in brown.
They agreed to do this to help colorblind fans. As the team that finished better of the two during the regular season, Saracens would have worn their black home jersey for England rugby’s showpiece event with Sale in their maroon away kit.
But the black and red combination is among those highlighted by Color Blind Awareness as the one to avoid to help both spectators in the stadium and viewers at home. The Saracens will therefore wear their white away kit to avoid a confrontation.
What are the main one-on-one battles?
Owen Farrell vs. George Ford: The battle of the two No 10s will be exciting. They are close friends off the pitch and will likely be England’s team-mates at the World Cup later this year, but they are rivals for 80 minutes at Twickenham.
Ford won the Premiership with Leicester last season but suffered a serious Achilles tendon injury in the final against Saracens. After a long period of inactivity, he is playing good rugby for Sale. His tactical kicks and awareness will be key.
The battle between Owen Farrell (left) and George Ford will be one of the most compelling
As Saracens captain, Farrell is the heartbeat of his team. Both players played down their one-on-one battle, but it’s no exaggeration to say that whoever wins will likely help their team win.
Ben Earl vs. Tom Curry: Even with his twin brother Ben injured, Tom Curry remains at No. 6 for sale. Earl of Saracens is open for his side and wears number 7. Although they play in slightly different positions, the two will be part of an intriguing battle at the back.
Earl and Curry are both in competition for a flanker spot in England’s World Cup squad and a strong Premiership final will help that never-ending affair. Saracens and Sale have extremely physical packs and it will be a close battle to see who wins.
Maro Itoje vs. Jonny Hill: There are a few other one-on-ones we could have chosen – Alex Goode vs. Joe Carpenter, Jamie George’s battle with Akker van der Merwe and Nick Tompkins vs. Manu Tuilagi for example. But our final battle is locked.
Itoje and Hill know each other well as England teammates. Itoje is a fulcrum for Saracens and Hill has become a similar totem for Sale following his move from Exeter. It’s another one-on-one England head coach Steve Borthwick will be watching with interest.
So who will win?
Saracens finished the regular season top of the Premiership final while Sale were second, so both teams deserve to be in the final. There are so many intriguing subplots to the finale.
Rugby sales manager Alex Sanderson (left) learned his trade under Saracen’s Mark McCall
Saracens will be out for revenge after losing last year’s final to Leicester Tigers in the last
Farrell vs. Ford should be in the headlines. But the battle of the directors of rugby is just as exciting. Sale’s Alex Sanderson learned his trade at Saracens under Mark McCall, so the two know each other incredibly well. Sanderson did a brilliant job at Sale.
Saracens will say goodbye to club stalwarts Jackson Wray and Duncan Taylor after this final and want to send them off on a high.
MailSport predicts a brutally physical and close encounter. Saracens are the favorites and are backed to narrowly weather the proceedings and make amends for last year’s final loss to Leicester. It promises to be a game and after a dreadful season off the pitch, the Premiership badly needs an epic final.
Prediction: Victory of the Saracens.