The 2023 Gallagher Premiership final takes place at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon with Saracens meeting Sale Sharks.
English rugby’s top division has had a turbulent season. It has been rocked by financial chaos with both Worcester and Wasps falling out of existence and it is likely London Irish will follow suit next week.
But the final remains the jewel in the Premiership’s crown.
Here is MailSport’s guide to the showpiece game at the home of English rugby.
When is the Gallagher Premiership final and who is playing?
The 2023 Gallagher Premiership final takes place on Saturday, May 27 at Twickenham Stadium with kick-off at 3pm. The match is between London side Saracens and the Manchester-based Sale Sharks, who are looking for their first domestic title since 2006.
Sale Sharks haven’t won a domestic title since 2006, when they beat titleholders Leicester
Saracens topped the table this year and overturned Harlequins to book a spot 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 many still available to purchase.
The match is unlikely to sell out as things stand. Tickets can be purchased here.
Where can I watch the match on TV?
This is the first Premiership final to be broadcast both on a paid for subscription channel and on mainstream terrestrial television.
The match 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 mic 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 (capt), Ivan van Zyl; Eroni Mawi, Jamie George, Marco Riccioni, Maro Itoje, Hugh Tizard, Nick Isiekwe, Ben Earl, Jackson Wray
Replacements: 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 (capt)
Replacements: Ewan Ashman, Bevan Rodd, Coenie Oosthuizen, Josh Beaumont, Tom Ellis, Raffi Quirke, Sam James, Tom O’Flaherty
Referee: Luke Pearce (RFU) – Pearce is one of English rugby’s top whistlers and will take 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 steps up to take overall charge.
Pearce, who took charge of his first Premiership match in 2011, will be assisted by Karl Dickson and Christophe Ridley with Tom Foley in the TMO chair.
Sale will be wearing their maroon change kit to avoid a colour clash for colourblind fans
What will the teams be wearing?
Interestingly, both sides will be wearing their change kits with Saracens in white and Sale in maroon.
They have agreed to do so to help colourblind fans. As the team who finished higher out of the two during the regular season, Saracens would have worn their black home strip for English rugby’s showpiece event with Sale in their maroon away kit.
But the black and red combination is among those highlighted by Colour Blind Awareness as being one to avoid to help both spectators in the stadium and viewers at home. Saracens will therefore wear their white away kit to avoid a clash.
What are the key head-to-head battles?
Owen Farrell vs George Ford: The battle of the two No 10’s will be fascinating. They are close friends off the field and will likely be England team-mates at the World Cup later this year but are rivals for 80 minutes at Twickenham.
Ford was a Premiership winner with Leicester last season but suffered a serious Achilles injury in the final against Saracens. After a long time out, he is playing some fine rugby for Sale. His tactical kicking 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 side. Both players have played down their individual battle but it’s no exaggeration to say that whoever wins, it will likely help their team come out on top.
Ben Earl vs Tom Curry: Even with his twin brother Ben out injured, Tom Curry stays at No 6 for Sale. Earl of Saracens is at openside for his team and wears No 7. Even if they are playing slightly different positions, both will be part of an intriguing back-row battle.
Earl and Curry are both competing for a flanker spot in England’s World Cup squad and a strong Premiership final showing will help that case no end. Saracens and Sale have extremely physical packs and it will be a tight battle to see who edges it.
Maro Itoje vs Jonny Hill: There are a few other head-to-heads we could have picked out – Alex Goode against Joe Carpenter, Jamie George’s battle with Akker van der Merwe, and Nick Tompkins against Manu Tuilagi for example. But our final battle is at lock.
Itoje and Hill know each other inside out as England team-mates. Itoje is a fulcrum for Saracens and Hill has grown into a similar totem for Sale after his move from Exeter. This is another one-on-one England head coach Steve Borthwick will be watching with interest.
So, who’s going to 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 final.
Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson (left) learnt his trade under Saracen’s Mark McCall
Saracens will be out for revenge after losing last year’s final to Leicester Tigers at the last
Farrell against Ford is set to be the headline act. But the battle of the directors of rugby is just as fascinating. Sale’s Alex Sanderson learned his trade at Saracens under Mark McCall’s guidance so the pair know each other incredibly well. Sanderson has done a brilliant job at Sale.
Saracens will say goodbye to club stalwarts Jackson Wray and Duncan Taylor after this final and will want to send them out on a high.
MailSport predicts a brutally physical and tight encounter. Saracens are favourites and are backed to narrowly edge proceedings and make amends for last year’s final defeat by Leicester. It promises to be some game and after an awful season off the field, the Premiership badly needs an epic final on it.
Prediction: Saracens win.