After being 28 points down, Harlequins completed the greatest comeback in Premiership rugby history to stun Bristol Bears in extra time.
Harlequins may have looked dead and buried at 30 minutes into their game against Bristol, but a stunning second-half resurgence carried them through to extra time where a try by Tyrone Green eventually sealed a 43-36 victory.
Champions Exeter will defend their English Premiership crown against Harlequins next Saturday but will be wary of the fighting spirit their opponents displayed in winning their play-off semi-final.
Harlequins came from 28-0 down to beat Bristol — who had topped the table at the end of the regular season — 43-36 after extra-time.
It was a sense of deja vu for Harlequins supporters as it was the biggest-ever comeback in Premiership history — surpassing their own from 40-13 down to beat Wasps 42-40 in September 2012.
Exeter had a tough battle before prevailing 40-30 over Sale and will seek their first back-to-back Premiership titles.
Exeter will be appearing in their sixth successive final when they run out at Twickenham next Saturday against a Harlequins side bidding to win their first title since 2012.
Harlequins and Bristol had gone into extra-time with both sides tied at 31-31.
However, tries by man of the match Tyrone Green and Joe Marchant — giving them both two for the match — sealed the remarkable win.
Harlequins general manager Billy Millard admitted the end of extra-time had got the better of him.
“I was in the changing room for the last two or three minutes there,” he told BT Sport.
“I couldn’t watch it. We just knew that if we could get some momentum on the scoreboard, it might shift Bristol.
“It’s just unbelievable the spirit from this side and group.”
Bristol’s director of rugby Pat Lam preferred to draw the positives from the painful defeat.
“It doesn’t take away the massive effort of the whole year from the whole team, and at least we fired shots compared to last year and we will come back stronger,” he told the BBC.
Specially pleasing for the Exeter fans would have been the two tries by England star Jack Nowell whose season has been affected by injury.
It was only his fourth match of the season having undergone toe surgery and then suffered a hamstring injury.
Fellow try-scorer Luke Cowan-Dickie said they would celebrate their win and then focus on Harlequins.
“We’ll take a minute to appreciate what we have done,” he said.
“On Monday we’ll have a look at Quins. They never sit down. It’ll be a great game.
© Agence France-Presse