Premiership Rugby has today announced the referee appointments for the semi-final stage of the 2017/18 Aviva Premiership.
And then there were four… after 22 compelling rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby in a stellar season we are now down to the semi-finals, which are back-to-back this Saturdayat Allianz Park and Sandy Park, both live on BT Sport. We kick off at 12.30pm in north London with Saracens 10th appearance in a Premiership Rugby semi-final against Wasps.
Following straight after we head to Devon where defending Aviva Premiership Rugby Champions, Exeter Chiefs, are appearing in their third successive semi-final against a Newcastle Falcons side who are in the semi-finals for the first time courtesy of their best league finish since they won the inaugural Premiership Rugby title in 1997-98.
Saturday 19 May
Saracens v Wasps (Allianz Park, 12.30pm)
Referee: JP Doyle (152nd Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ian Tempest & Hamish Smales. TMO: Graham Hughes.
Citing Officer: Andy Blyth.
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons (Sandy Park, 3.30pm)
Referee: Matthew Carley (74th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Tom Foley & Anthony Woodthorpe. TMO: Stuart Terheege.
Citing Officer: Shaun Gallagher.
Some key statistics from the season so far:
- 6379 points were scored – the most since 1999/2000
- 776 tries were scored – the MOST ever beating the 750 tallied in 1999/2000
- Those tries were scored by 283 different players, eight scored hat tricks including Dan Robson’s four in a game for Wasps against Sale in round one
- For the second season running there were NO tryless fixtures
- 546 conversions – again the MOST ever
- 449 penalty goals kicked – the FEWEST ever – previous lowest was 514 last season
- Overall penalty kick success rate was 82.4% – by far the best ever
- 88 try bonus points – the MOST ever
- Exeter’s tally of 85 league points is the 2nd best ever after Saracens 87 points in 2013/14
- 535 different players were named in matchday squads for the 132 matches, of those four (Ross Harrison, Jono Ross and Faf de Klerk all of Sale and Franco van der Merwe of London Irish) started all 22 games.
- 220 are capped players for 18 different countries, 29 are British & Irish Lions
- 441 started at least one game, whilst six did not actually take to the field
- 112 players made their debut in Premiership Rugby
- Franco van der Merwe played the most minutes (1684)
- Joe Simmonds of Exeter was never on the losing side in his 8 appearances
- The biggest comeback to win this season was 17 points by Gloucester at London Irish in March, and by Sale at home to Wasps in April.
- The fastest try was scored after just 50 seconds by Denny Solomona for Sale v Gloucester at the end of September
- The most points in a game by a player was 24 by Tommy Bell for London Irish against Harlequins in round 1
- The highest scoring match was at the Ricoh Arena in round 1 when Wasps beat Sale 50-35, there was also a season high 12 tries scored in the encounter
- The youngest player was 18-year-old Cameron Redpath against Bath in February although he did not come onto the pitch. The youngest to actually play was Sale team mate Luke James against Saracens in September. The youngest to start was Marcus Smith in round 1, who was also the youngest try scorer against Worcester at the end of October.
- The oldest player was 39-year-old Peter Stringer against Bath in October.
- The oldest try scorer was 36-year-old Schalk Brits at London Irish in round 22.
- In round 22 at Sale George Ford became only the third player since 2010 to score in all four ways (try, conversion, penalty goal and drop goal) in the same Premiership match.
- Three new venues hosted Premiership rugby this season: Talen Energy Stadium in Philadelphia, London Stadium and St James’ Park in Newcastle, taking the tally to 38 different grounds to have staged a game in the competition.
- Owen Farrell and George Ford became the 20th and 21st players to tally 1000 career points in the Premiership.
- Three players scored their 50th Premiership try: Danny Care, Niki Goneva and Jonny May.
- Ben Foden, Stephen Myler, David Paice and Mike Brown all made their 200th Premiership appearance.