- Exeter Chiefs in Premiership final for first time
- Saracens bidding to win title for fourth time
- Buy tickets for Saturday's Aviva Premiership final
A legend bids farewell, as a club look to make history while a referee blows the final whistle on his career. Stories to look out for in this weekend's Aviva Premiership final between Saracens and Exeter Chiefs.
HODGSON CALLS TIME ON CAREER
After 252 Premiership appearances and 2,623 points, the league's leading points scorer Charlie Hodgson will play for the last time after a glittering domestic career. Former England fly-half Hodgson has won Premiership titles at both Sale and Saracens while also lifting the European Champions Cup earlier this month.
Hodgson joined Saracens from Sale Sharks in 2011 and the veteran fly-half could cap a remarkable career by becoming an Aviva Premiership Rugby champion for a fourth time – 10 years after his first title with the Manchester outfit in 2006.
The 38-time England fly-half will hang up his boots after Saturday’s showpiece to become Saracens’ new head of recruitment and talent identification.
And Guinness Director of Rugby of the Season Mark McCall thinks a European and domestic double would be an apt finale to Hodgson’s stunning career at the pinnacle of English rugby.
"I would have thought he is probably one of the greats of Aviva Premiership Rugby down the years," McCall said of the 35-year-old.
"The word class sums him up. He was class out on the training field today and he is one of the best passers of the ball I have ever seen."
REFEREE SMALL BLOWS FINAL WHISTLE
Legendary referee Andrew Small is set to make his final appearance as fifth official for Saturday's final after 23 years in the job.
The New Zealander has taken charge of 124 Premiership games and he looked back on his long career with EnglandRugby.com at some of his highs and lows in the game.
“I think it’ll hit me the most the first game of next season when the boys are out there doing their thing and I’m not," said Small.
“To celebrate we’ll probably just have a glass of wine in the changing room."
EXETER LOOK TO END HOODOO AT HQ
Exeter Chiefs are the 10th different club to participate in a Premiership Rugby final, and have played in four previous finals in other competitions at Twickenham, losing them all: to Rotherham and Orrell in the 2002 and 2003 Pilkington Challenge Shield, and to Cornish Pirates and Northampton in the 2007 & 2008 National Trophy.
The Chiefs have won their last three matches since their 9-16 defeat at Gloucester in round 20 of Aviva Premiership Rugby and victory in their final game of the season would see them lift English rugby's domestic title for the first time in history.
The two clubs have met on 12 previous occasions in Premiership Rugby with Saracens having the edge by eight wins to four, they have also locked horns in one previous final, in the 2015 Anglo-Welsh Cup with Saracens running out 23-20 victors at Franklin’s Gardens.
100 NOT OUT
England and Saracens prop Mako Vunipola will make his 100th appearance for the London-based club since joining them in 2011.
Vunipola has enjoyed his season with both club and county and he will have one eye on a starting jersey in the Summer tour to Australia through the absence of Joe Marler.
FROM FINALS TO THE FINAL
Saracens lock Maro Itoje had his final exams at SOAS London University earlier this week and now he has another big final to play on Saturday.
The 21-year-old has studied International Relations at the University of London and at the same time earned European Player of the year for 2016.
Owen Farrell could break the record for the most individual points by a player in Premiership Rugby finals if he takes to the Twickenham turf for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on Saturday, The England star sits tied on 44 with Wasps’ Mark van Gisbergen.
The New Zealand-born Van Gisbergen racked up 26 points during the 2005 final, including a try, to help Wasps to a 39-14 win over Tigers to complete his overall haul of 44.
Farrell racked up 17 points in his debut final in 2011 as Saracens beat Leicester 22-18 for their first title. He then scored nine as his side were downed by Northampton Saints in 2013 but came back strong two years later with 18 points to help Saracens to their second Premiership Rugby title.
If you want to be at the world’s biggest club rugby final, this year’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on Saturday 28 May at Twickenham, tickets are available from premiershiprugby.com/final