The Leicester Tigers go up against Harlequins in the Aviva Premierhip final at Twickenham on Saturday 26th May 2012, in the final game of the English domestic season. Quins topped the regular season table, but Leicester head into the Premiership final as favourites. Which way will the title go?
Premiership Final Tip;
Leicester to Win by 1 to 10 points 2/1 (@ William Hill)
Aviva Premiership Final 2012 Form Guide
The Leicester Tigers head into the Premiership final on Saturday 26th May, on the back of eleven straight wins – a run which started in late February. It is this form, coupled with the trophy winning pedigree that the Tiger’s possess, that has made them favourites – they are as short as 2/5 for the win, though 4/9 can still be had with Ladbrokes.
The sequence of victories includes a win at the Twickenham Stoop against their opponents in the final, Harlequins, and also wins away at both of the other teams who made it through to the play offs, Saracens and Northampton Saints. Those victories, away at the 3 other top 4 sides in the Aviva Premiership table, illustrate the strength that Leicester possess, and the ability they have to get over the line in tight, high pressure games. It is a skill the Leicester Tigers are renowned for.
Harlequins have been on a steep up curve for a few years, culminating in their win last year in the Amlin trophy final. That assured a place in the 2012 Heineken Cup, the highlight of which was an away win at French giants Toulouse. Quins have replicated that form in the Aviva Premiership, ultimately finishing top of the table with 17 wins from their 22 fixtures.
Leicester and Harlequins have already faced each other three times this term, twice in the Aviva Premiership and once in the LV Cup. Back in October, Quins went to Welford Road and came away victorious, winning 18-27. The next two clashes both went to the Leicester Tigers however, and that form is much more recent – the LV Cup game saw Leicester prevail at the Twickenham Stoop 9-19, and as recently as April, again at the Stoop, the Tigers won 33-43 in the Premiership. Those wins both came courtesy of a 10 point margin.
There are key match ups all over the pitch, and the game could prove closer than the layers suggest, certainly the best prices of 23/10 (William Hill) on the Quins looks generous. The front rows, so long a strength of the Leicester Tigers, look very evenly matched, likewise the battle at 9 and 10 between Youngs and Flood, versus Dickson and Evans, appears finely balanced. Given the attacking fire power in both teams, any neutrals watching should witness some entertaining rugby.
Premiership Final Betting Tip
Leicester look worthy favourites, back up to full strength and in fine form. The match odds do not offer much in the way of value however, and a price of more interest is the 2/1 on offer at William Hill, about a Leicester winning margin of between 1 and 10 points. The Tigers took a while to finally pull clear of Saracens in the semi final, but they have the big game nous and experience to get their noses in front and stay there. Quins needed a late try to squeeze past a depleted Saints team in their own semi, and the Tiger’s might be too canny to allow a similar fate to befall them.