- Both semi-final playoffs are being played on Saturday 21 May
- Recently crowned European champions Saracens host Leicester Tigers
- Wasps travel to take on Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park
Saracens v Leicester Tigers
This is genuinely a difficult game to call. But with the game being played at Saracens, you would be hard pressed to argue against a home victory. They have so many solid performers and so many players who have real experience. Their win last weekend in the Champions Cup will have also given them momentum and confidence.
Leicester are starting to find their feet again. They've definitely progressed under Aaron Mauger. I think over the past couple of seasons they were a bit lost, but Aaron has given them a lot more stability in the way he's developed their style of play, which I think has suited a lot of the players, such as the likes of Harry Thacker.
Maro Itoje (Saracens)
Maro has certainly made huge strides since captaining Saracens to their LV= Cup win back in 2014. What I love watching in players like Maro is how they deal with the hype and pressure. Despite playing in the second row he plays like a back rower. I would like to see him at 6, but why have three back rowers on the pitch if you can have four?! He's making turnovers, giving offloads and making yards. I love how hungry he is for the ball and also the positive body language he uses on the pitch. He must be inspiring to play with.
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Whenever he plays he is so solid. When you think there's nothing on, he somehow manages to find his way to create an opportunity. He reminds me of the old Leicester full back Sam Vesty in the way he understands how to read the game, combined with a great pass and great boot. His performances at the back are one of the reasons Saracens have been so consistent this season.
Harry Thacker (Leicester Tigers)
I personally love that tenacity to go and play the game and do whatever it takes. He's never prepared to accept defeat. He will have gone in to make the tackle, he'll then be fighting to get out and make another one or get the ball back. His tenacity forces his inclusion in the side and he's incredibly worthy of all of the praise that's comes his way recently.
Mat Tait (Leicester Tigers)
Sarries play a more complete game than they are given credit for, but there's no doubt that Mat Tait will be tested under a high ball if he starts. He's a player that only a couple of years ago was written off, but in the last eighteen months he's really found some form. If he starts, he will have a big job on his hands.
PREDICTION: You can’t go against Saracens at home, I think they're a different proposition. I hate calling it against Leicester but I think Sarries will be too strong at home.
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps
I've genuinely enjoyed watching these two sides of contrasting styles this year.
The way that Wasps play the game has developed over the past 5-6 years and has gradually been growing but now they've got some forward nous and some guys that link well with the backs. They're able to play a much more fluid game but they've not had the consistency of ball – which they now have.
Exeter are a little bit like Saracens, they've built a platform on performances that are all about going back to the basics – forward dominance, keeping the ball and having a high pressure kicking game.
Defensively, their forward pack have also been very solid and have the ability to play the percentages around the pitch .
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
A former LV= Breakthrough Player Award winner, Jack is not necessarily your out-and-out winger. He's not a top speed merchant like Rory Underwood, nor is he a floating, graceful finisher like Anthony Watson. He’s nuggety, abrasive and always gets you over the gainline. He'll run into three defenders and still make yards. Plus, he's got that little bit of west country fight in him and it’s that kind of attitude I really like but which is seldom seen in wingers.
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
I was gutted for Henry when he broke his leg early in the season and missed out on the Six Nations. As a ball player he's got such an instinctive brain and I enjoy watching him play. He's a real talent that can change a game for you.
Julian Salvi (Exeter Chiefs)
The contest between him and George Smith will be great with two Aussies going head to head. They're quite similar in the way that they play the game. Salvi is really aggressive over the ball but he's also a great ball player. He'll have a point to prove over George Smith given their history at the Brumbies.
George Smith (Wasps)
I love the back row and what George Smith has brought to Wasps. His Players' Player award speaks volumes of how he's regarded around the league. Combined with James Haskell playing as well as he has been, George has given them that little bit of experience and coolness under pressure. They aspire to play beautiful rugby but now with a bit of a hard-nosed forwards edge.
Whenever Jimmy has moved around you've seen that when he's surrounded by quality players you really see what he can offer. He's been an inspirational signing by Dai Young. He likes to play the game and likes to experiment, he's not confined by just kicking all the time. He fits into that style of play that Wasps have looked for and are now getting right.
PREDICTION: I'll say Wasps as I like the way they're playing. I think it'll be a cracking game.