NEW YORK, NY – While last season’s edition of the Gallagher Premiership was a rather disrupted one at times, the show always managed to go on and with the usual end of season showpiece event taking place as normal, it can be considered one of the more dramatic finals in recent memory.
Although for many it could even be considered the most dramatic final of all-time and with Harlequins and the Exeter Chiefs sharing 78 points between them, it was the London outfit who eventually came out on top.
They did so by virtue of a two-point winning margin, as they edged to a frantic 40-38 win and after finishing only fourth in the regular season table, there is no doubt that they upset not only Exeter on the day but also the formbook itself.
Because for those who made use of a BetMGM Promo Code before the final and backed the team who finished second in the regular season table, they would have seen Exeter fail to live up to their tag as favourites.
However, for those who backed the underdog in this instance, they would have seen their outside bet deliver profitability and whether rugby fans staked a wager on the outcome of the game or not, they would have certainly been entertained.
While when it comes to entertainment, there is no doubt that the play-offs delivered this in huge measures and just because one outfit is top of the standings after 22 rounds of regular season rugby, does not mean they earn the honour of being named Premiership champions.
Something that will be nearly the same case this time around and with Harlequins looking to show the rugby fraternity that their 2021 success was no fluke, they will be keen to now make it back-to-back league titles.
Nearly, because 22 rounds of regular season fixtures has now become 24 for this year and with no relegation in place last year – as a result of COVID-19’s impact on the competition as a whole, it means the 12 teams from 2021 are joined by Saracens.
While of course Saracens are best remembered more for their off-pitch antics in recent times and with the team suffering a huge points deduction for financial irregularities in 2020, they would subsequently be relegated to the second tier.
Due to their demotion, there was always going to be something of a mass exodus in terms of talent and although players did jump ship at the first opportunity, there was still more enough quality to earn promotion at the first time of asking.
Saracens will of course be a welcome addition to the Gallagher Premiership, as the competition is always at its best when all the strongest clubs within England are in the setup. However, this one disgraced outfit may have to offer something of a charm offensive throughout the year.
Because it is fair to say that their former infractions have not been forgotten by supporters of rival clubs and especially as such financial doping also helped Saracens to many domestic and European prizes along the way.
Whether they will be found at the sharper end of the table at the end of Week 24 remains to be seen and if they were to find themselves in the play-offs, it can only be constituted as a rather solid campaign.
Then again, their 12 Premiership counterparts will also be looking to make into the final four and with both Harlequins and the Exeter Chiefs looking to pick up where they left off, they will be favourites for the end of season festivities.
Of course, it is not all about the race for the play-offs, as there are plenty of European places on offer for the 2022/23 campaign and with the top eight clubs earning qualification to the Champions Cup, the interest levels should stay high from the first week of the regular season to the last.
In addition to that, the next four clubs who finish eighth to twelfth will be afforded a slot in Europe’s second tier competition – that being the Challenge Cup and with no relegation at the end of the season, whoever finishes thirteenth can at least breathe easy.