Rugby Union

Leicester vs Saracens LIVE: Rugby Premiership final line-ups and team news today

The Gallagher Premiership trophy awaits the winner at Twickenham

Leicester Tigers take on Saracens as the two most decorated sides in English rugby union this century go head to head at Twickenham to be crowned Premiership champions.

It has been a long journey for Leicester, nine years after they last reached the final having lost a series of semi-finals in the interim. But under Steve Borthwick they have improved dramatically over the past two years and finished the league season on top of the pile with 20 wins from 24 games. They take on Saracens, who returned from the Championship and bounced straight back into contention at the top of the Premiership. Owen Farrell is in fine form, and his fly-half battle with England teammate and long-time friend George Ford will be at the heart of this match.

“Owen is a guy who will turn up as the Saracens talisman. He is brilliant and it’s an exciting challenge to come up against one of the best flyhalves in the world,” England full-back Freddie Steward said this week. “George is incredible, one of those players you appreciate more when you play with him. The time he creates for others and how he puts them into space, he’s magical.”

Follow the latest score and all the action from the Premiership final below.

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Mako Vunipola hails brother Billy ahead of final

Mako Vunipola has hailed the “massive” influence of his brother and fellow England international Billy on Saracens this season.

Mako was named in an England training squad last month, but number eight Billy continues to be overlooked by Red Rose boss Eddie Jones.

They have 128 caps between them, yet neither player has featured for their country since the final game of last year’s Six Nations.

Both will be in the shop window on Saturday, though, when Saracens tackle Gallagher Premiership final opponents Leicester 48 hours before Jones announces his squad for three Tests against Australia next month.

“The key for us is to make sure we focus on the present, what is in front of us in terms of playing well for Saracens, which I feel he has done, and that is all he can do,” Mako said.

“As rugby players, we are emotional, we want to be playing, we still want to be playing for England. To do that hasn’t changed,

“We’ve still got to play well for our club and do our job, and then you go from there, really. Those decisions (selection) aren’t in our hands.

“I am a bit biased, obviously, but for us this year he has been massive, just giving us that go-forward that we need.

“Whenever there is a need for us to get a kick up the backside, he is there most of the time to do it.”

Brothers Mako Vunipola (left) and Billy Vunipola with the Heineken Champions Cup (Adam Davy/PA)

Leicester vs Saracens: Talking points ahead of Premiership final

Leicester Tigers and Saracens will contest the Gallagher Premiership final at Twickenham on Saturday in a heavyweight collision between two English rugby giants.

Tigers have won the title eight times but their last triumph was nine years ago, while Saracens are chasing a sixth crown after returning to the Premiership this season.

Here we assess some key talking points heading into the game.

Talking points ahead of Premiership final between Leicester and Saracens

Tigers have won the title eight times while Saracens are chasing a sixth crown

Harry Latham-Coyle’s match preview

Neither man is particularly fond of undue nostalgic recollection but as Leicester’s Steve Borthwick and Saracens’ Mark McCall engage in pre-match pleasantries at Twickenham on Saturday, there may just be a shared smile at the memory of the last Premiership final meeting between these two sides. Now in opposition, McCall and Borthwick then basked in triumph as coach and captain, having guided Saracens to the first of the five domestic crowns that now crowd the cabinet at their north London home.

It is 11 years since that encounter, the second of two consecutive showpiece deciders that offered the first inklings of a changing of the Premiership dynastic guard as Leicester’s empire began to fall and Saracens developed into the side of ruthless winners that would define the next era of English club rugby.

How the mighty fell.

Leicester meet Saracens in Premiership final covered in nostalgia

Leicester meet Saracens in the Premiership final to crown one of two impressive rebuild projects

The teams

Leicester XV: Steward; Ashton, Moroni, Porter, Potter; Ford, Wigglesworth; Genge (capt), Montoya, Cole, Chessum, Green, Liebenberg, Reffell, Wiese.

Replacements: Clare, Leatigaga, Heyes, Wells, Martin, Youngs, Burns, Scott.

Saracens XV: Goode; Malins, Daly, Tompkins, Maitland; Farrell (capt), Davies; M Vunipola, George, Koch, Itoje, Isiekwe, McFarland, Earl, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Pifeleti, Mawi, Clarey, Wray, Christie, Van Zyl, Taylor, Lozowski.

Dan Cole appreciates Premiership Final appearance after barren Tigers run

Dan Cole can recall a time when it was “automatic” for Leicester Tigers to reach the Gallagher Premiership play-offs and final.

But the fact their last Twickenham appearance in English rugby’s showpiece domestic occasion was nine years ago has brought a level of appreciation to today’s final against Saracens.

Dan Cole more appreciative of Premiership Final appearance after barren Leicester run

Long-serving prop has helped Leicester win the league title on three occasions

Mark McCall is the reason Saracens are back in the big time, says Owen Farrell

Owen Farrell has spoken of his admiration for Mark McCall and insisted the consistency of “the boss” alongside his coaching team is the reason Saracens are attempting to become English champions for a sixth time in 11 years.

The StoneX Stadium side face Leicester Tigers at Twickenham on Saturday looking to end their first season back in the Gallagher Premiership with more silverware.

Relegation two years ago for repeated breaches of salary cap regulations was meant to be the end of a trophy-laden era for Sarries, who have won five league titles and three European crowns since McCall was appointed director of rugby back in 2011.

Instead, the experienced Northern Irishman managed to keep the squad together – despite dropping into the Championship – and is now on the brink of a further prize at the home of English rugby.

Mark McCall is the reason Saracens are back in the big time, says Owen Farrell

The Sarries boss has been the driving force behind the club being on the brink of more title success

Leicester vs Saracens – Rugby Premiership final

Leicester Tigers take on Saracens as the two most decorated sides in English rugby union this century go head to head at Twickenham to be crowned Premiership champions.

The Gallagher Premiership trophy awaits the winner at Twickenham

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