Aviva Premiership Semi-Finals: Wasps v Leicester Preview


We preview Saturday's Aviva Premiership semi-final clash between the London Wasps and Leicester Tigers.

The second of this season’s Aviva Premiership semi-finals will see the table-topping Wasps looking to sting the Tigers of Leicester into submission, to claim entry into their first final since 2008. The Londoners have played a remarkably exciting brand of running rugby under coach, Dai Young this term, with many pundits likening them to certain Southern Hemisphere outfits. They will be heavy favourites to advance to the Grand Final against a Tigers set-up that has only managed to score 58-tries in 2016/17, with an attack that will hardly worry their hosts on Saturday.

London Wasps v Leicester Tigers | Saturday 20 May | Ricoh Arena |18:15

To Win (80 Mins)Wasps 1/4 | Draw 23/1 | Leicester 31/10

Despite losing momentum towards the back-end of their campaign, the Wasps were still clinical enough to cement top-spot with their 35-15 victory over Saracens in their final round-robin outing. Their star-studded backline includes the likes of Willie le Roux, Kurtley Beale and Elliot Daly; all of whom have contributed to their side’s unbelievable try-tally of 89 – the most in the competition.

For all their attacking prowess, however, the Wasps have certainly struggled against more physical, pragmatic opponents – something that was never more conspicuous than in their Champions Cup quarter-final exit to Leinster. Nevertheless, they did seem to fix much of these problems in their win over the ever-practical Saracens, and will certainly need similar performances if they are to come out victors this week and beyond.

Wasps managed to stroll to two comfortable victories over this weekend’s same opponents during the round-robin phase of the competition, and they’ll certainly be confident of making that three. Having finished with 18-more log-points than Leicester, I really do think the visitors will hardly prove to be a match for such a hungry Wasps line-up.

The Tigers really have been mediocre in 2016/17, but the sacking of Richard Cockerill in March (in favour of Matt O’Connor) proved the catalyst for a massive turnaround in fortunes. Leicester have lost just once with O’Connor at the helm, with the returning martyr seemingly earning a certain respect that Cockerill had lost over the preceding few months. Fighting off the likes of Bath et al. for a semi-final spot was the task given to the Aussie and, having done so, their finish to the season most surely be seen as a success – no matter Saturday’s result.

The Tigers will certainly give it horns at the Ricoh, but don’t expect them to challenge Wasps for the entire duration of the eighty. Next season looks a much brighter prospect for the most successful club in the competition, and to suggest they will pull it off this weekend may be a rather premature proposition. They lack zest on attack, while their defence will surely not hold out the likes of Beale and co. for too long.

Verdict: Wasps 1/4
Dai Young’s bunch are hungry – starving even – for a first title since 2008. They will be going all out this Saturday for the right to earn a home final eight-days later, and with the players at their disposal; it’s hard to bet against them getting a win against the Tigers.

Written by Shaun Goosen for @Hollywoodbets.net!

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