Olly Woodburn was not involved in Exeter’s semi-final triumph over Saracens through injury
Aviva Premiership final
Venue: Twickenham Stadium Date: Saturday, 27 May Kick-off: 14:30 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire and BBC Radio Devon, plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

Wasps back Kurtley Beale has been ruled out of Saturday’s Premiership final against Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham.

The Wallaby, 28, has not recovered from a hamstring injury picked up in their semi-final victory over Leicester.

Willie Le Roux switches to full-back, with Josh Bassett, who scored the winning try against the Tigers, starting on the wing.

Exeter make one change to the starting XV which overcame Saracens, with wing Olly Woodburn replacing James Short.

Short is Exeter’s top try-scorer this season, having scored 11 tries in the Premiership, 14 times in all competitions.

The Twickenham form guide

  • Wasps have won only four of the past 15 Premiership meetings between the two sides since Exeter were promoted in 2010.
  • In 14 past Premiership finals, the league winners have only gone on to win at Twickenham five times (Sale 2006, Leicester 2009 and 2010, Harlequins 2012, and Saracens 2016).
  • All four of Wasps’ past Premiership triumphs (2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008) have come after finishing second in the league. This season, they finished first.
  • Exeter have not won at Twickenham in six previous visits. But victory for the Chiefs would equal Leicester’s Premiership record of 17 matches unbeaten.
  • Wasps have won their last 10 finals in all competitions, since Saracens beat them at Twickenham in the 1998 Anglo-Welsh Cup final.


Chris Jones, BBC Radio 5 live rugby reporter

Pace-setters all season, Wasps have been the great entertainers of the campaign, scoring tries at will and playing a brilliant brand of rugby.

However, their set-piece fell apart against Leicester – this area is one of the Chiefs’ strengths – and if Wasps don’t win enough good quality ball they will lose. Conversely, if their scrum and line-out does function, they have the tools to blow any team away.

Both clubs thoroughly deserve to be here, having finished in the top two and having showed remarkable composure under pressure to edge their semi-finals. They actually met on round one of the Premiership – Wasps edged it that day – so the league has come full circle.

But, while Wasps may have slightly tailed away at the back end of the season, Exeter have been on an upward curve. This may be decisive.

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon:

“We’ve got to make sure we leave the semi-final behind. The big thing is, with a semi-final that was that good a game, won in such a manner and was such a thriller for everybody who was there, sometimes it gets hard to leave it behind – you’ve got to move on.

“We’re actually probably a stronger group going into the final than we were last week, which is always nice. There’s a larger playing group who’ve had more time training and more time to return from injury.

“We’ve got to make sure that we don’t expect that having a bit of experience from last year will be that big a factor. We’ve got to demand that what the big factor is, is the quality we play at.”

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young:

“The final is new territory for this group of players, but really exciting territory. But, as much as we are going to enjoy the day, we want more than that.

“We are not there to make up the numbers. We are there to give absolutely everything we have to try to win the trophy. Saturday is about more than the matchday 23 lucky enough to wear the shirt. It will be about every player who has played their part this season to get us to Twickenham.

“We have a lot of respect for Exeter Chiefs, who are a quality team and a quality club. We’ve had some memorable battles over the past couple of seasons and know how well drilled and coached they are, so we will have to be at our absolute best to win. Produce our best and I know we are a match for anyone.”

Wasps: Le Roux; Wade, Daly, Gopperth, Bassett; Cipriani, Robson; Mullan, Taylor, Swainston, Launchbury (capt), Symons, Haskell, Young, Hughes.

Replacements: Johnson, McIntyre, Moore, Myall, Thompson, Simpson, Leiua, Halai.

Exeter Chiefs: Dollman; Nowell, Whitten, Devoto, Woodburn; Steenson (capt), Townsend; Moon, Cowan-Dickie, Williams, Dennis, Parling, Horstmann, Armand, Waldrom.

Replacements: Yeandle, Rimmer, Francis, Lees, S. Simmonds, Chudley, Slade, Campagnaro.


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