Throwback Thursday: Five classic Anglo-Welsh Cup finals
Come Sunday we will see the first ever Premiership Rugby Cup Final as Northampton Saints take on Saracens at Franklin’s Gardens in a mouth-watering clash.
The BT Sport cameras will be there to see the first XVs silverware of the season hoisted and to get in the spirit we’re taking a look back at five classic Anglo-Welsh Cup finals – the competition the Premiership Rugby Cup replaced.
The last ever Anglo-Welsh Cup Final saw Exeter Chiefs defeat Bath 28-11 a year ago, but here are five of the best finals from that competition over the years.
2007 – Leicester Tigers 41-35 Ospreys
In one of the highest-scoring Anglo-Welsh finals, Leicester took on Ospreys at Twickenham and the two sides scored nine tries between them.
Leicester raced into the lead, with tries from Tom Varndell, Tom Croft, Ben Kay and Alesana Tuilagi, but Ospreys produced a fight back to make for a tense finish.
The Welsh side scored some stunning tries from Lee Byrne and two from Shane Williams to reduce the deficit.
Varndell’s second try was the decisive score as the Tigers pulled away once more and a late Nikki Walker try couldn’t prevent Leicester lifting the trophy.
2010 – Northampton Saints 30-24 Gloucester Rugby
Northampton met Gloucester at Sixways for what would be a breathless final in 2010.
Akapusi Qera muscled over for the opening score for Gloucester, who were underdogs against treble-chasing Saints.
Soane Tonga’uiha scored in reply and James Downey’s try then gave Northampton the lead at the interval.
Gloucester regained the lead through a penalty try, but a Lee Dickson try and a handful of Stephen Myler penalties sealed the win.
It was Gloucester’s second Anglo-Welsh Cup final defeat in as many years, but they would make it third time lucky the following season, as they triumphed over the Falcons 34-7.
2014 – Exeter Chiefs 15-8 Northampton Saints
More than 10,000 people squeezed into Sandy Park to watch Exeter lift their first ever major trophy, beating Northampton to the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
In a low-scoring game, Chris Whitehead drew first blood with a catch and drive score.
Dean Mumm finished of a great move to extend the Chiefs’ lead, but Samu Manoa pulled some points back for Saints with a score in the corner with 10 minutes.
But Exeter held on and delighted the home crowd in lifting the trophy.
2015 – Saracens 23-20 Exeter Chiefs
Saracens and Exeter produced one of the Anglo-Welsh Cups most tense finishes as Ben Spencer’s last-minute penalty gave Saracens the win.
Sarries had led 20-6 thanks to two tries from David Strettle and one from Nick de Jager.
But Max Boddily scored twice late on as Exeter set up a thrilling finale with the score at 20-20.
However, Spencer held his nerve to stroke the ball between the sticks and give Saracens the trophy.
2017 – Leicester Tigers 16-12 Exeter Chiefs
Leicester overcame Exeter in a tight game at the Twickenham Stoop in last season’s Anglo-Welsh Cup final.
James Short gave Exeter the lead with a try on 15 minutes, but Tom Brady’s interception of a Matt Jess pass proved crucial as he raced away to score.
Sam Simmonds scored late on to set up a nervy finish, but the decisive player was Freddie Burns and his kicking accuracy from the tee, scoring three penalties as well as a conversion.