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Chief Tomas Francis Gets Ready To Block Liam Williams’ Road To The Triple Crown

Tomas Francis will try to deny his Wales teammate Liam Williams the perfect season when they clash in the Gallagher Premiership final next weekend.

The Exeter Chiefs prop will face the Saracens full-back at Twickenham in the showpiece of the English season after both came through their respective semi-finals.

Williams has already won a Six Nations Grand Slam with Wales and a Heineken Champions Cup winners medal for Sarries and could become the first Welshman to win the ultimate triple if his club retain their domestic title.

For Francis, it will be an opportunity of his own and a chance for revenge in a repeat of last year’s final.

With both players’ requiring a month off after their season is completed on June 1, it also means they will not join up with Wales’ World Cup training squad until the first week of July after they have both had a month’s break.

Exeter reached a fourth successive Gallagher Premiership final after beating play-off rivals Northampton 42-12 at Sandy Park.

The Chiefs will face title holders Saracens at Twickenham next Saturday – the third time in four years for those clubs to contest English rugby’s biggest domestic prize.

A week after defeating Saints 40-21 on the final day of regular season action, Exeter again powered to victory following a tight opening 40 minutes.

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Tries by prop Harry Williams and fly-half Joe Simmonds gave Exeter a flying start, but Saints responded before the break with a penalty try and full-back Ahsee Tuala’s touchdown.

Exeter, though, pulled away during the third quarter as lock Dave Dennis and wing Tom O’Flaherty added further scores.

Substitute Sam Simmonds then claimed a late score, as did centre Sam Hill, with Simmonds’ brother Joe converting all six tries for a 17-point haul.

Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter, who brought his team up to the Premiership just nine years ago, will now only be content with the trophy.

“It feels great to be in a final but it doesn’t feel amazing,” he said.

“’It would feel amazing to win it because that’s something we have only experienced once. It is only a big day if we win it. We are still a bit way off our optimum game.”

Williams made it through just as comfortably as Nick Tompkins scored a hat-trick of tries as Sarries overwhelmed Gloucester 44-19 in their semi-final at Allianz Park.

The European champions crushed the league’s third strongest team in a six-try rout headlined by Tompkins to seal a fourth appearance in the Twickenham final in five years.

Tompkins replaced hamstring injury-victim Brad Barritt in the 32nd minute and helped himself to three second-half tries as Gloucester fell apart.

The rot had set in during the second quarter, however, when they repeatedly failed to deal with the precision of Saracens’ kick-chase game while their own attacks fell apart through self-inflicted errors.

Sean Maitland, Ben Spencer and Williams also touched down to heap embarrassment on an outclassed Gloucester, who gained some scoreboard respectability with a flurry when the game had already been lost.

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