Six Nations Rugby | Talking points: Ford vs. Farrell and the Top 14 playoff battle
Twickenham will take on the hosts as the regular season top two battle it out as the Tigers seek an 11th title, but their first since 2013.
Their challengers Saracens are seeking an immediate return to the top of English rugby after being promoted last season after winning four of the last eight finals.
In France, four teams face each other in the semi-finals of the Top14 with a very tight chance of silverware.
Here are five key talking points for the coming weekend:
Saracens stalwarts line up for Leicester
Mark McCall’s side will see familiar faces watching them when the game kicks off at 3pm tomorrow.
⏮ Throwback to the 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 final against Leicester 1️⃣1️⃣ years ago.
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) June 16, 2022
Richard Wigglesworth has entered the Leicester Tigers line-up to face the team with which he won five Premiership titles.
England international Chris Ashton is also named among the backs as the league’s top try scorer faces one of his former sides.
The rhino against the pearl
Two of England’s brightest stars will face off in the attacking squad as Leicester Tigers captain Ellis Genge takes on Maro Itoje.
Both men are known for speaking out off the pitch, but on this they let their rugby do the talking.
Itoje and his second line partner Nick Isiekwe have amassed 24 interceptions this season, while the Tigers have the best defensive record in the league, having conceded the fewest tries.
Ford vs. Farrell
It’s a move that has left England head coach Eddie Jones scratching his head on several occasions, but this weekend no one misses out as George Ford and Owen Farrell go head-to-head at the n ° 10.
So far this season has been quite a journey so far…
– Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) June 15, 2022
Ford tops the league points charts having scored 220 of Leicester Tiger’s 726 points this season.
While Farrell is the most reliable kicker in the league converting 84% of the attempts he makes, no one who has taken 10 more kicks has a better return.
Dupont and Ntamack eyeing more silverware
France’s most successful team, Toulouse, will face one of the league’s smaller clubs for first place in the Top 14 final under the Friday night lights.
– Stade Toulousain (@StadeToulousain) June 17, 2022
Defending champions Toulouse have won 21 titles to Castres’ five and boast plenty of French stars, including the deadly duo of Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack.
The French international Mathieu Babillot is the captain of Castres, very present in the southern hemisphere.
Nice margins in the second semi-final
With the first semi-final boasting 26 titles, Montpellier v Bordeaux is more of a humble affair, with Montpellier having never won the top prize.
– Montpellier Rugby (@MHR_officiel) June 17, 2022
Bordeaux have won the Top 14 twice, most recently in 1991, and have triumphed in both meetings between the two sides this season, but form suggests the play-off should be a hard-fought affair.
Only five points separated the semi-finalists in their matches this season, with Bordeaux leading the last encounter 23-22, with 2022 Grand Slam winner Maxime Lucu hitting the decisive penalty in the last minute.