The Aviva Premiership Rugby Final this weekend is a long-awaited date in the Twickenham calendar. Saracens player Duncan Taylor tells The Resident what to expect as they take on the Exeter Chiefs…
West London is simply brimming with talent from famous faces such as David Attenborough to David Tennant, and one place that talent can be found is Twickenham – home of England Rugby. And one such weekend in which talent can be found is the Premiership Rugby final, falling this year on 28 May.
With 12 clubs in the premiership made up of Bath, Exeter Chiefs, Gloucester, Harlequins, Leicester Tigers, London Irish, London Wasps, London Welsh, Newcastle Falcons, Northampton Saints, Sale Sharks and, finally, Saracens who won the title last year, the weekend is something that many rugby fans look forward to all season.
Perhaps this is due to the 22 rounds of games that come before the final even arrives, or perhaps it’s because of the high calibre of rugby that can be expected. With Saracens defending their title well this year, the top of the league table looks as though the weekend is set to be a good one with Wasps and Exeter Chiefs following closely behind [since The Richmond & Barnes Resident went to press, the Exeter Chiefs have won themselves a spot in the final]. So, what makes the winning team and what can we expect from the big day this year?
The atmosphere on the day is incredible and there’s always a great buzz about the weekend. It will be an emotional experience for a lot of people
Scottish Rugby Union and Saracens player Duncan Taylor is the strong running centre for last year’s champions, though is particularly modest when it comes to his talent in the squad. ‘I started playing in Scotland when I was five-years-old, but moved around a lot when I was younger including living in Australia. It was only when I came back to England and started playing for Bedford that Saracens spotted me,’ he explains.
‘I guess I just got quite lucky with it, it was never on my radar to actually get to play with Saracens until it started to happen!’ It’s not only his own talent for the game that Taylor tries to play down, but he also thinks of the final as just ‘another game of rugby really’.
Perhaps this is the trick to succeed, a laid-back approach in order to ensure a level head? This is certainly something that fits with the West London ethos too. ‘It’s a game of rugby with a massive award at the end of it, so this means that the atmosphere on the day is incredible and there’s always a great buzz about the weekend,’ he says. ‘I guess it will be an emotional experience for a lot of people though.’
Something that is not so laid-back is the training that goes towards the weekend, in order to ensure they come out fighting for the audience at Twickenham. ‘An average week we train three days a week for the final,’ says Taylor. ‘We start with a lighter day on a Monday, which involves a lot of detail and analysis to figure out what moves we are going to run for.’
Things can often go a bit of an unorthodox way with the Premiership Rugby games, but so long as you believe that you can win it then a lot of things can go your way
Keeping the players and the opposing teams guessing is something that is central to the success of the teams in the final. But it’s not only the players that should always be on their toes with this one as Taylor explains to me that, although they managed to win last year, they actually came fourth in the league, so the audience need to be on top of things too.
‘Things can often go a bit of an unorthodox way with the Premiership Rugby games, but so long as you believe that you can win it then a lot of things can go your way,’ says Taylor.
With Saracens and Premiership Rugby fans all over the UK, and a huge following from the locals and the rest of West London, people get their tickets early for this fixture resulting in a sell-out atmosphere. So, if you want to be a part of it then get to Twickenham and experience the buzz and energy of the final touch in this long-awaited finale.
See more at premiershiprugby.com