Thursday, 16 May 2013

Premiership Final Preview: The Full Record

Next Saturday's Premiership final against Northampton will be Tigers 30th final in all competitions since their inaugural John Player Cup final, a 6-3 defeat to Gloucester in 1978.  30 finals in 35 years is an incredible record that everyone associated with the club should take great pride in.  You often here the London based media snottily disregard what a great achievement it is to get to so many finals, often battling through without our best players available, instead focusing on our alleged poor record at those finals.  Tigers have won 15 of their finals.  If we actually had managed to win all those titles these "experts" would surely just find something else to whinge about and would probably be campaigning to have us banned to give the other teams a chance.  

This will be our 24th visit to the RFU's headquarters for a final, winning slightly under half visits with 11 wins and 12 losses so far.  We've played Premiership Finals, Knock Out Cup Finals, Anglo-Welsh Finals, an Heineken Cup Final, a "Championship Final" and a Wildcard Final at Twickenham rather guttingly it seems the only competition we will fail to win at the Cabbage Patch will be the greatest of them all, unless the Heineken Cup gets an 11th hour reprieve.

36 players have scored 52 tries for the Tigers in those various finals with club legends Neil Back and Leon Lloyd jointly holding the individual record for 4 tries.  It is fitting that the two scorers from the Paris final hold that record.  Not that I'd be complaining at a Ben Youngs hat trick come the 25th!

Tigers remarkable recent consistency in reaching finals is reflected by Andy Goode being head and shoulders above his nearest rival as Top Points scorer.  Goode slotted 80 points (1 try, 1 drop goal, 9 conversions, 18 penalties) in 10 games compared to Dusty Hare's 49 in 5 (1 try (worth 4 points then), 2 drop goals, 11 penalties, 3 conversions).  Toby Flood has scored 36 points (10 penalties, 3 conversions) in 2 games and needs another 7 to overtake Tim Stimpson in third place, Flood has missed 4 finals in his short time at the club already otherwise he would be pushing Goode for the top place on current form.

George Ford's lack of first team action is amply demonstrated by only be 4th on the all time scoring list ahead of such no names as Les Cusworth, John Liley and Joel Stransky, at the ripe old age of 19 he clearly can't let himself rot playing finals at Tigers all his life so needs to move on.
Top Ten Points and Try Scorers in Finals

Tigers Finals Record
Opponent Result Tigers Scorers Competition Date Venue
Harlequins  L 23-30 T: Allen, Mafi; C: 2 Ford; P: 3 Ford Premiership 26/05/2012  Twickenham
Northampton  W 26-14 T: Mafi, Hamilton;          C: 2 Ford; P: 4 Ford Anglo-Welsh 18/03/2012  Worcester
Saracens  L 18-22 P: 6 Flood Premiership 28/05/2011  Twickenham
Saracens  W 33-27 T: M.Smith, B.Youngs, Hipkiss; C: 3 Flood; 
P: 4 Flood 
Premiership 29/05/2010  Twickenham
Leinster  L 16-19 T: Woods; C: Dupuy; 
P: 3 Dupuy
European 23/05/2009  Murrayfield
London Irish  W 10-9 T: Crane; C: Dupuy;
P: Dupuy
Premiership 16/05/2009  Twickenham
Wasps  L 16-26 T: Varndell, Ellis; 
P: 2 Goode
Premiership 31/05/2008  Twickenham
Ospreys  L 6-23 P: Goode; DG: Goode Anglo-Welsh 12/04/2008  Twickenham
Wasps  L 25-9 P: 3 Goode European 20/05/2007  Twickenham
Gloucester  W 44-16 T: 2 A.Tuilagi, F. Murphy, Moody, Jennings, Corry, Goode; C: 3 Goode;
 P: Goode
Premiership 12/05/2007  Twickenham
Ospreys  W 41-35 T: 2 Varndell, A.Tuilagi, Kay, Croft; C: 4 Burke, Goode; P: 2 Goode Anglo-Welsh 15/04/2007  Twickenham
Sale  L 20-45 T: Moody, Hamilton; C: 2 Goode; P: 2 Goode Premiership 27/05/2006  Twickenham
Wasps  L 14-39 T: Bemand; P: 3 Goode Premiership 14/05/2005  Twickenham
Sale  W 48-27 T: 2 Lloyd, 2 Back, Gibson, Healey; 
C: 3 Goode; P: 4 Goode
Wild Card 29/05/2004  Twickenham
Saracens  W 27-20 T: West, Back; C: Stimpson; P: 4 Stimpson; DG: McMullen Wild Card 31/05/2003  Northampton
Munster  W 15-9 T: Healey, G.Murphy; C: Stimpson; P: Stimpson European 25/05/2002  Cardiff
Stade Francais  W 34-30 T: 2 Lloyd, Back; C: Stimpson; P: 5 Stimpson European 19/05/2002  Parc des Princes
Bath  W 22-10 T: Johnson, Healey, Stanley; C: 2 Stimpson; 
P: Stimpson
Premiership 13/05/2001  Twickenham
Sale  W 9-6 P: 3 Stransky Cup 10/05/1997  Twickenham
Brive  L 9-28 P: 3 Liley European 25/01/1997  Cardiff
Bath  L 15-16 T: Malone, Poole; C: Liley; P: Liley  Cup 04/05/1996  Twickenham
Bath  L 9-21 P: 3 Harris Cup 07/05/1994  Twickenham
Harlequins  W 23-16 T: Potter, M. Johnson; C: 2 Liley; P: 2 Liley; 
DG: Harris
Cup 01/05/1993  Twickenham
Bath  L 6-10 P: 2 Hare Cup 29/04/1989  Twickenham
Bristol  L 22-28 T: Evans, I.Smith; C: Cusworth; P: 4 Cusworth Cup 30/04/1983  Twickenham
Gosforth  W 22-15 T: Barnwell, Kenney, Hare; C: 2 Hare;
P: 2 Hare
Cup 02/05/1981  Twickenham
London Irish  W 21-9 P: 4 Hare; DG: Hare, 2 Cusworth Cup 19/04/1980  Twickenham
Moseley  W 15-12 T: Kenney; C: Hare; P: 2 Hare; DG: Hare Cup 21/04/1979  Twickenham
Gloucester  L 3-6 P: Hare Cup 15/04/1978  Twickenham

This will be Saints 11th final in all competitions and the 7th time they go to Twickenham.  In 4 Knock Out Cup finals at Twickenham they returned potless each time, losing their debut final in a thrilling match with Quins which required extra time before finishing in the Londoner's favour.  Defeats against Wasps, London Irish and Gloucester were to follow.  Squeezed between these final defeats was Saints' greatest day; the 9-8 Heineken Cup Final victory over Munster in May 2000.

Under Jim Mallinder they boast a record of 3 finals  victories to 2 defeats making him Northampton's most decorated coach; winning the EDF Trophy whilst in National League Divison 1 (now the Championship)in 2008, the Amlin Challenge Cup against Bourgoin in 2009 and completing three trophies in three years after sealing their first top tier domestic trophy with the LV Cup win against Gloucester at Sixways.

Heartbreak was to follow though as Leinster over turned a massive 16 point deficit at half time to win by 11 points in Cardiff, holding the Saints scoreless in the process, and denying Northampton a second European crown.  Northampton's most recent final was last season's LV Cup final against our good selves in Worcester.  And we all know how that turned out.  

Saints Finals Record
Opponent Result Comp Date Venue
Leicester L 14-26 Anglo-Welsh 18/03/2012 Worcester
Leinster L 22-33 European 21/05/2011 Cardiff
Gloucester W 30-24 Anglo-Welsh 21/03/2010 Worcester
Bourgoin W 15-3 Euro Challenge 22/05/2009 Stoop
Exeter W 24-13 Trophy 12/04/2008 Twickenham
Gloucester L 22-40 Cup 05/04/2003 Twickenham
London Irish L 7-38 Cup 20/04/2002 Twickenham
Munster W 9-8 European 27/05/2000 Twickenham
Wasps L 23-31 Cup 13/05/2000 Twickenham
Harlequins L 13-25 A.E.T. Cup 04/05/1991 Twickenham

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