The season finale for rugby clubs

Henry Slade of Exeter Chiefs and Joe Simmonds of Exeter Chiefs celebrate winning a turnover during t

Henry Slade of Exeter Chiefs and Joe Simmonds of Exeter Chiefs celebrate winning a turnover during the Gallagher Premiership rugby match between London Irish and Exeter Chiefs at The Brentford Community Stadium, Brentford, London on May 18 2021. - PHOTO: Micah Crook/PPAUK - Credit: Micah Crook/PPAUK

The final stretch is always my favourite time of the year, injuries pending, as the weather (usually) begins to improve.  
I look forward to this time next year and what we have in store for the Sidmouth men in green, with some new faces at training and we look to host a few training matches or exhibition type sessions at the Blackmore throughout the summer months.  
At the top end of the game, however, teams and individuals begin to ramp up performances to finish on a good note, whether reaching for top four, fighting for survival or looking to leave the year behind with a good impression.  
The pending five-week break from rugby also offers a carrot to finish strong, which was sorely missed with the back-to-back seasons. 
The lack of relegation this year has stunted the excitement slightly but I’m pleased to see the Chiefs in the mix again. The issue of ringfencing pops up again but is a discussion for another day. 
A fantastic season all round, considering the challenges laid out for team sports and especially rugby. Some of the best free-flowing rugby is being played at this time of year and I must say that Bristol Bears are leading the way in open expansive rugby that I associate with this part of the season. 
The question is whether they have the game plan that returns silverware because, if you look at winners of competitions traditionally, they are primarily strong defensively, and organised across all aspects.  
If I were to describe the way Bristol play, it would be ‘predictably-unpredictable’. We know they are going to run it from their own try line, but can you stop them, and we know their threats, but can you stop them? 
The thing that gives me confidence for an Exeter victory come Twickenham time, is the continual improvement across the board with the Chiefs.  
If the team manage to get on top of any team defensively, the inevitable pick and go from LCD and Simmo with Big Dave and ‘The Kirstenator’ ram raiding them over the line will surely lead to the big prize. 

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