Final round preview: Premiership

Date published: May 15 2015

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Relegation might be decided in the Premiership but the play-off spots certainly are not, as we head into the final weekend.

Having every fixture kick-off at 15:00 (BST) this Saturday means that the tension will go right down to the final whistle, which is fitting after another strong season in England's top flight.

Northampton and Bath have already secured home semi-finals but only two of Leicester Tigers, Exeter Chiefs and Saracens can claim the final two places ahead of next week's semi-finals. 

When you factor in their respective opponents, points difference and the potential of try bonus points, fans of those clubs will be feeling the nerves.

Premiership Fixtures

Newcastle v Harlequins
London Irish v Wasps
London Welsh v Saracens
Bath v Gloucester
Exeter v Sale
Leicester v Northampton

Premiership table before Round 22

Pos Team P W D L F A PD B Pts
1. Northampton Saints 21 16 1 4 607 378 229 10 76
2. Bath Rugby 21 15 0 6 575 384 191 10 70
3. Leicester Tigers 21 14 1 6 431 407 24 6 64
4. Exeter Chiefs 21 13 0 8 619 421 198 11 63
5. Saracens 21 13 1 7 596 401 195 9 63
6. Wasps 21 11 1 9 632 487 145 12 58
7. Sale Sharks 21 11 0 10 481 438 43 10 54
8. Harlequins 21 10 0 11 423 477 -54 9 49
9. Gloucester Rugby 21 9 1 11 523 525 -2 9 47
10. London Irish 21 7 0 14 402 538 -136 9 37
11. Newcastle Falcons 21 4 1 16 438 524 -86 11 29
12. London Welsh 21 0 0 21 206 953 -747 1 1

Teams tied on points are first separated by the amount of wins they've accumulated throughout the season and then by points difference, then by points 'for'.

Leicester's superior win count of 14 to Saracens and Exeter's 13 would normally count in their favour, but their points difference margin is so much lower than the two sides below them that Tigers fans won't be completely safe unless they defeat Northampton at home.

Who the league leaders select in their XV will play a massive part in that, but even then Leicester have such a strong home record with only one defeat at Welford Road in the league in the past 18 months. A 15th win would have them home and dry, even if Exeter and Saracens secured try bonus point wins in their games.

As mentioned both of those teams have 13 wins but their points differences are also incredibly similar, 198 for the Chiefs and 195 for Saracens.

Travelling to London Welsh gives Saracens their best possible chance of racking up points and therefore pipping Exeter into mix, given the Chiefs host Sale, but both sides will be hoping Northampton can do them a favour because victories would see them pip Leicester and keep the Tigers out of the top four for the first time since 2003/2004.

The battle for a Champions Cup spot in sixth place is also still alive between Wasps and Sale Sharks, with Steve Diamond's side four points behind Wasps going into the final round.

Sale as previously mentioned are travelling to Exeter, while Wasps are on the road at London Irish. Victory will ensure Wasps book their spot but Sale would oust them by going to 12 wins if they can down Exeter at Sandy Park.

Focusing on the players, Andy Goode and Stephen Myler are locked in a battle to be crowned top points scorer, with Goode on 225 to Myler's 222, while Exeter's outstanding number eight Thomas Waldrom looks to have the top try scoring spot wrapped up with his 16 this season, four clear of the rest.

Saturday is set to be pretty special, so stay with us and track the live centre for updates and to find out who's made the cut on full-time.

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