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The Premiership's greatest ever finals revisited ahead of Northampton Saints vs Bath clash at Twickenham

We pick out five of the greatest Premiership finals in history, revisiting classic clashes from 2012, 2014, 2017, 2019 and 2021; Northampton Saints face Bath on Saturday in 2024's Premiership final (3pm kick-off); Stream Rugby in 2024 and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership

Premiership finals
Image: We revisit the five greatest Premiership finals in history, ahead of Northampton vs Bath at Twickenham on Saturday

Ahead of Saturday's Northampton Saints vs Bath Premiership final at Twickenham, Sky Sports looks back at the greatest witnessed so far...

Since 2003, the Premiership has decided its champions via a dramatic playoff and final structure, moving away from the standard league format.

On Saturday, Bath will make their first Premiership final appearance for nine years, and are seeking to lift the trophy for the first time in 28 long years, dating back to 1996.

Northampton - the Premiership's form side this season - are into their first final in a decade, since they last won the league in 2014 (more on that clash below).

Ahead of kick-off, take a trip down memory lane...

Exeter Chiefs 38-40 Harlequins - 2021: Late Lynagh magic

Three years ago, two late Louis Lynagh tries saw Harlequins secure their first Premiership title for nine years, courtesy of a stunning 40-38 win over defending champions Exeter Chiefs at a sun-kissed Twickenham.

Image: Harlequins clinched Premiership title glory for the first time since 2012 after a stunning win over Exeter in 2021

Played out in a fervent atmosphere of 10,000 returning supporters after the Covid-19 pandemic, a penalty try and further efforts from Wilco Louw, Alex Dombrandt and Andre Esterhuizen had put Quins 12 points ahead early into the second half, but Exeter roared back to lead 31-26.

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That was until Lynagh skipped out of the tackle of Tom O'Flaherty to sprint over with eight minutes left, and Marcus Smith flawlessly converted from out wide. Lynagh then repeated the trick with four minutes remaining to confirm an incredible result for Quins, despite a late Stuart Hogg effort for the Chiefs.

Exeter scored tries through Jonny Gray, Alec Hepburn, Sam Simmonds and Ollie Devoto, while skipper Joe Simmonds landed a penalty too, but on the occasion of their sixth Premiership final in a row, they lost for a fourth time.

Image: Quins wing Louis Lynagh scored two late tries to secure the victory

Harlequins, who were making their first final appearance since they last won the Premiership in 2012, finished fourth in the 2020/21 league standings - 11 points behind Exeter - and fell 28-0 behind in their semi-final away against Bristol before winning 43-36 a week previous.

Their success in one of the greatest Premiership finals of all time, without a permanent head coach too, capped a remarkable season and story.

Saracens 20-24 Northampton (AET) - 2014: Waller's controversial 100th-minute winner

Has a Premiership season ever finished more dramatically or controversially than in 2014?

Northampton Saints won a thrilling final via a last-minute try by Alex Waller in extra-time at Twickenham, but doubts remain as to whether he truly scored.

Image: Northampton's dramatic and controversial title win over Saracens in 2014 remains their only Premiership crown

Saints' victory came just over a week after they had beaten Bath in the European Challenge Cup final and meant double heartbreak for Saracens, who lost to Toulon in the Heineken Cup final in Cardiff a week previous.

With the game 14-14 by the full-time whistle, Charlie Hodgson's two penalties in extra-time looked to have seen Saracens home, but Saints had one more attack left in them and replacement forward Waller pounced for a score that Stephen Myler converted.

Owen Farrell had earlier kicked three penalties and centre Marcelo Bosch scored a try for Saracens, while Northampton claimed touchdowns through full-back Ben Foden and centre George Pisi, with Myler landing both conversions and an extra-time penalty.

When Bosch scored a try in the corner to level the contest with seven minutes to play in normal time, Hodgson had the chance to edge Sarries in front with the conversion, but struck the post.

Image: Prop Alex Waller celebrates his last-gasp extra-time try being awarded after a lengthy TMO review

Into the final stages of extra-time, with Sarries three points ahead, Northampton knew a drop-goal to level the contest was enough to win the final on tries scored, but Waller dived for the line under the posts, leading to a lengthy, lengthy TMO review, which eventually saw the score awarded.

Exeter 34-37 Saracens - 2019: Saracens stage dramatic comeback win

In 2019, a ruthless and clinical Saracens clinched a fourth Premiership title in five seasons - and the second double in their history - courtesy of a 37-34 victory over Exeter Chiefs at a sun-drenched Twickenham.

Image: Saracens came from 11 points down to beat Exeter in front of a crowd of 75,329 in 2019

The final saw no fewer than 10 tries scored - the first of which by Exeter scrum-half Nic White proved the fastest Premiership final try of all time at 27 seconds, beating the previous record of 67 seconds by Josh Lewsey for Wasps against Gloucester in 2003.

A stunning final saw Jamie George (two), Ben Spencer, Liam Williams and Sean Maitland all cross for Saracens tries, with Owen Farrell adding 12 points via his boot after two penalties and three conversions.

The Chiefs, who led 22-16 at half-time and 27-16 into the second period, scored through White, Dave Ewers, Jonny Hill, Henry Slade and Sam Hill, but could not hold on for a second-ever title.

nic white
Image: Exeter's Nic White scored the fastest ever Premiership try after 27 seconds, but despite Chiefs leading 27-16 in the second half, they were beaten by Sarries again

As a result, Exeter, contesting their fourth successive final, suffered a third defeat in four seasons - all to Mark McCall's Saracens.

Wasps 20-23 Exeter (AET) - 2017: Steenson extra time strike creates Chiefs history

In 2017, Exeter were crowned champions for the first time in their 146-year history after Gareth Steenson nailed a penalty with two minutes to go in extra-time to give them a 23-20 win over Wasps at Twickenham.

2017 Premiership Champions Exeter
Image: Exeter became Premiership champions for the first time in their 146-year history vs Wasps in 2017, just seven years after promotion

In one of the most exciting finals for years, both sides were willing to attack at every opportunity, but nerves were on show too in the shape of dropped balls.

Exeter, who were only promoted to the Premiership in 2010, opened up the scoring after 13 minutes as Jack Nowell cut inside from a lineout and raced over to score. By the half-hour, the Chiefs were 14-3 ahead in the final after a Phil Dollman try.

With the clock in the red at the end of the first half, Wasps hit back with a Jimmy Gopperth try to narrow the gap to 14-10, and four minutes into the second half, Elliot Daly scored after a Christian Wade chip as Wasps turned things around to lead 17-14.

Gopperth struck a penalty to increase Wasps' lead to six points, but Steenson narrowed the gap off the tee with 14 minutes to play, and then struck an equalising penalty in the final minute of normal time after Nathan Hughes was penalised at the breakdown.

Gareth Steenson wins it for Exeter with his penalty kick
Image: Gareth Steenson showed huge nerve to level the final in the final minute of normal time, and then kick the winner with two minutes left of extra-time

Exeter were denied a Sam Simmonds try after 25 phases due to inconclusive replays with five minutes left in extra-time, but a scrum penalty handed Steenson a kick for the lead with time running out, which the Irishman landed for an emotional Exeter success.

Harlequins 30-23 Leicester - 2012: Quins hold on to shock Tigers

In 2012, Harlequins were crowned champions of England for the first time - three years after their reputation looked battered beyond repair - by defeating Leicester 30-23 in a thrilling Twickenham final.

Three years previous, Quins were rightly vilified for the Bloodgate scandal that rocked rugby and saw Dean Richards lose his job as head coach.

Image: Harlequins clinched their first Premiership title in 2012 vs Leicester, just three years after the Bloodgate scandal

Conor O'Shea's Quins were appearing in their first-ever Premiership final, while Leicester took part in their eighth successive Premiership showpiece match.

Despite the gulf in experience, Quins came to the party by refusing to abandon their free-flowing style, and such adventure was rewarded as skipper Chris Robshaw lifted the Premiership trophy, holding off a late Tigers fight back.

Tries in each half by wing Tom Williams - the man who took the blood capsule in the Harlequins scandal - and Robshaw, accompanied by 20 points from fly-half Nick Evans' trusty right boot, saw Quins become the sixth different club to be crowned Premiership champions after Newcastle, Leicester, Wasps, Sale and Saracens.

At 8-0 behind, a Steve Mafi try after a mix-up in a Quins lineout saw him collect a Dan Cole offload to race in from halfway, with George Ford then kicking Leicester ahead with a penalty. Evans struck in the final minute of the first half for a narrow 14-13 Quins lead.

Image: Under intense pressure near their own try-line at the end of the match, Harlequins held on to beat Leicester Tigers

Two further Evans penalties were followed by Robshaw cutting a great in-to-out angle to force his way over from close range for a 14-point Quins lead, but Tigers hit back through Anthony Allen's try following good work by Ben Youngs after a trademark sniping break, setting up a grandstand finish.

Tigers were camped in Quins 22 as the clock ticked over 80 minutes, but the West Londoners' party could finally begin as a ruck penalty handed them the title and a narrow win.

England's summer fixtures (UK and Irish time)

Saturday June 22 - vs Japan (6.50am)
Saturday July 6 - vs New Zealand (8.05am), live on Sky Sports
Saturday July 13 - vs New Zealand (8.05am), live on Sky Sports

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