Anglo-Welsh rugby’s first piece of silverware is up for grabs this weekend as the LV= Cup Final takes place at Worcester’s Sixways Stadium.
The defending Aviva Premiership champions take on a side in Sale Sharks that have spent most of their domestic season rooted to the foot of the table but have found some consistency in the Anglo-Welsh competition.
Sky Sports will screen all the action from the 2013 LV= Cup Final at Sixways exclusively live on Sunday, March 17, with free-to-air evening highlights on ITV4 at 8pm and a repeat showing later on ITV.
Harlequins are bidding to become just the second reigning Premiership champions to carry off the LV= Cup following London Wasps in 2006. Quins are also aiming to be only the second side to win the title with a played six, won six record since Northampton in 2010.
Both sides came through intense semi-finals with Harlequins overcoming a full-strength Bath side 31-23, while a youthful Sale upset current Premiership leaders Saracens 21-15.
Harlequins have won their last five appearances at finals since their 27-30 defeat to Newcastle in the final of the 2001 Tetley’s Bitter Cup at Twickenham.
The Londoners’ solitary defeat in their seven previous visits to Sixways was 7-33 to Worcester in the Premiership on 2 October 2004. Sale Sharks’ only defeat in the LV= Cup this season came in round one, 28-34, to London Irish at Madejski Stadium.
The Sharks have not played in a final since they won the Premiership title at Twickenham in 2006, and have not lost a major final since Newcastle beat them 37-33 in the Powergen Cup final of 2004.
Sale have lost on their last three visits to Sixways since beating the Warriors there, 37-20, in the Premiership on 31 January 2009.
In the context of the competition the English domination continues as this is the fourth successive LV= Cup final with no Welsh involvement.
Harlequins have won the last six meetings between the two clubs in all competitions since the Sharks won 21-17 at Edgeley Park in the Premiership on 17 September 2010.
This will be their third fixture this season following a 37-14 Quins win at the Twickenham Stoop on 15 September and a 30-21 win at Salford City Stadium on 22 February.
The sides have met five times before in a knockout cup situation, with Sale victorious only once – the 1997 Pilkington Cup semi-final at Heywood Road.
They have clashed twice before in the pool phase of this competition with Sale winning 28-27 at the Stoop in October 2006 and Harlequins victorious 37-25 at Edgeley Park five years later.
Sky Sports will screen the 2013 LV=Cup Final between Harlequins and Sale Sharks exclusively live.
Alex Payne presents presents live coverage on Sky Sports 2 from 2.30pm with features and interviews from both camps in the build-up to the match.
Studio analysis and touchline insights come from a team including Will Greenwood and Dewi Morris.
Commentary on the final comes from Johnnie Hammond and Ieuan Evans.Sunday 17th March LV= Cup Final 2013 – Harlequins v Sale Sharks LIVE: 2.30pm-5.30pm – Sky Sports 2
Free-to-air highlights of the 2013 LV= Cup Final will be shown in the evening on ITV4 and repeated later on ITV.
Martin Bayfield will present an hour-long show looking back at all the action from Sixways, including all the pre and post-match interviews, as well as extended highlights of the final itself, with commentary from Martin Gillingham.Sunday 17th March Rugby Highlights: LV= Cup Final Highlights: 8.00pm-9.00pm – ITV4 Highlights: 11.15pm-12.15am – ITV