Wasps v Exeter Chiefs: Premiership final

Phil Dollman

Kurtley Beale will miss out on a Wasps swansong after the hamstring injury he suffered in last weekend's victory over Leicester Tigers ruled him out of Saturday's Premiership final against Exeter Chiefs, with the table-toppers making three changes for the Twickenham encounter.

It was a fitting finale to Steenson's testimonial season after 10 years at the club.

Much of the final's build-up had been about the potential dominance of the Exeter pack, and those comments appeared justified as Chiefs gained two penalties inside the opening four minutes to pile pressure on Wasps.

Seven years after winning promotion to the top flight for the very first time, Exeter Chiefs are Premiership champions.

The men from Devon made it second time lucky as they shrugged off the disappointment of last year's Twickenham defeat by Sarries to deny Wasps.

However, they survived, then thrived, building gradually within their means, bringing in the odd experienced signing while producing a pipeline of academy players into the first team and have become every fan's second-favourite club.

But the Exeter possession eventually told and Jack Nowell wriggled through a defensive gap and crossed over in the corner for the first score of the match. Exeter led by 11 points approaching half-time, but Wasps' pursuit of the Premiership title for a first time since 2008 was driven relentlessly by centre Jimmy Gopperth, who scored a try and kicked two penalties and two conversions.

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The Chiefs opted against a virtually guaranteed three points and instead went for the scrum, and did the same minutes later as the clock ticked down and it looked like poor decisions when Wasps forced a turnover.

Fast forward to modern day and tomorrow the Chiefs are back at headquarters, looking not only to dispel the bitter disappointment of last season, but at the same time forge a new - and hopefully - happier chapter in the club's history by overcoming rivals Wasps.

The Australia worldwide suffered the blow in Wasps' 21-10 semi-final win over Leicester Tigers last weekend, in which he scored a seventh-minute try.

"We went through it a year ago, went through that, know how it feels".

"We were happy how we came back into the game", he said.

"We backed ourselves on our fitness, we don't work so hard to give up on 80 minutes, we knew Wasps would be great today, but we knew we'd go beyond 80 minutes", said Nowell, who now travels to New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions.

With the sun beating down and the players visibly wilting, the first 10 minute half was scoreless but Exeter upped the ante in the second and battered at the line relentlessly before finally earning a shot at goal which Steenson, fittingly, slotted home.