Sale have waited 17 years for a chance to add to their sole Premiership title, but that wait is almost over for the Greater Manchester side as they prepare to face Twickenham regulars Saracens in Saturday’s Grand Final.
Sarries hadn’t made a Grand Final the last time the Sharks were crowned English champions but have been to plenty since, taking home the top prize on five of their eight appearances.
Another Saracens victory is expected, but with the two sides looking well-matched on paper and having been separated by just five points in the regular season standings, Sale certainly aren’t at Twickenham just to make up the numbers.
Saracens v Sale Sharks Betting Tips
- Saracens to win by one to 12 points @ 9/5
Date: Saturday 27th May
Saracens make one change from their semi-final win over Northampton with Eroni Mawi coming in for Mako Vunipola at loose-head prop, while Aled Davies is included on the bench.
Sale are without injured England flanker Ben Curry with Sam Dugdale replacing him, while Tom Ellis comes in for Daniel du Preez amongst the replacements.
Saracens to win by one to 12 points @ 9/5
Premiership Grand Finals have a recent history of being tight, with the last four decided by six points or fewer, and the 2023 edition looks likely to follow that pattern.
Fixtures between these two sides have been close, with the last five decided by 11 points or fewer, with Sale beating Saracens 35-24 at home in March, while Sarries won the reverse fixture by 11 points.
After a disappointing 2021/22 campaign, Sale have really upped their game to match Saracens this season, with the Sharks’ core of homegrown talent having matured under the watchful eye of director of rugby Alex Sanderson.
They won just one game fewer than Saracens in the regular season and were impressive when seeing off Leicester in the play-off semi-finals.
They boast a strong pack that will back itself to go toe-to-toe with Saracens, while the backs are a nice blend of the experience of George Ford, the power of Manu Tuilagi and the pace of some talented youngsters.
Ford has seen and done it all in his career and was part of the Leicester side that turned over Saracens last season. The fly-half’s experience will prove vital to a Sale team containing individuals who have never experienced playing at Twickenham before.
In a game of this magnitude that’s likely to be decided by fine margins, that lack of big-game experience could prove the difference between the teams.
Several of the Saracens squad have won multiple Grand Finals, with skipper Owen Farrell seeking his sixth Premiership title.
Sarries know what it takes to get over the line in a Grand Final and have shown in recent matches they can go up a gear when needed, easing past Northampton 38-15 in the semi-finals.
The London outfit have spoken all year about the pain of losing last year’s final to Leicester and how disappointed they were with their performance that day.
Following their demotion from the Premiership in 2020 and subsequent return to the top flight, Saracens saw last year’s final as a missed opportunity to complete their redemption arc.
That extra motivation, coupled with the big-game know-how that comes with winning four of the last eight finals, should see Saracens edge out Sale in a nail-biting finale to an exciting Premiership season.