2008 Guinness Premiership Final: Leicester, Wasps, Injustice, and Magic

Sean KellyAnalyst IMay 27, 2008

When looking at who finished in the top four of the Guinness Premiership, the two teams that seem to be least deserving of being there are the two teams in the Final.

This is not the first time "injustice" has occurred in the the rugby playoffs. The London Wasps have won the competition before when they haven't quite come out on top of the league, as have Leicester.

Gloucester last year must of felt very unfairly done by, when a semifinal at Kingsholm finished in Leicester's favour by a uncomplimentary amount. The only thing that could make that feeling worse would be for the same thing to happen two years in a row.

Dean Ryan and his men have now finished first in the league twice in the last two years, only to fall short against Premiership giant Leicester. Gloucester have now earned the title of not having the "big game mentality," as they also fell short to Munster in the Heineken Cup.

Bath, however, who possibly played the most consistent and best free-flowing rugby seen this year, were unhinged by a determined Wasps side in the semis.

This may have come as no surprise to some of the public, as Wasps are famed for being able to win the Guinness Premiership without finishing atop the pile.

The Wasps players have put their position in the final down to playing every game as a "must win."

Bath and Gloucester must be looking back now, and wondering where they went wrong. Gloucester topped the table for a large amount of the season, whereas Bath were the only team to challenge their dominance.

In a dream final it would be a Bath-Gloucester match, but I'm afraid dreams do not always come true.

So that now leaves us with a depleted Wasps side and an almost fully strengthened Leicester side to battle out the final at Twickenham.

Wasps now have to fight off the ever-powerful Leicester without their talismatic fly half Danny Cipriani. The young Englishman suffered a horrible ankle injury in Wasps' semifinal against Bath, and now leaves his teammates with a huge hill to climb.

If losing your fly half isn't enough, Tom Voyce is also bound to miss the game after dislocating his shoulder in the same game Cipriani injured himself in.

The Leicester players and management must be smiling at the thought of turning over their rivals London Wasps and Twickenham.

Leicester managed to beat Harlequins on the last day, while Sale managed to lose without the bonus point they needed to get into the playoffs. That left Leicester the last top four spot.

Several pundits laughed at both Wasps' and Leicester's chances of reaching the top four, even though I'm sure anyone could of reached the playoffs from their positions. It had to be the two most successful English teams of the professional era.

Leicester and Wasps will both be counting their lucky stars, and thanking them for getting them this far in the competition.

I honestly can't see this weakened Wasps side beating Leicester—yet with it being Lawrence Dallaglio's last game for his beloved London Wasps, I wouldn't put it off just yet.

And with the magic of a final always surrounding Twickenham, anything could happen.