Aviva Premiership 2016/17: Semi-Final Predictions

Aviva Predictions

Exeter v Saracens
Everyone is talking up Saracens at the moment, not least all of us here at The Rugby Blog – we even had two pictures of George Kruis on the homepage at the same time. But the question this weekend is how will they fare after their Champions Cup exertions just a week ago?

The Chiefs will be fresh from a week off, whilst Saracens would have been physically drained by their tournament-winning effort in Edinburgh, and then presumably by some modest celebrations afterwards.

Exeter’s winning streak after a slow start to the season is nothing short of remarkable, stretching back to their last league defeat back in October. They only won two of their first seven games, but haven’t lost a match in the Premiership since then. If it were Leicester Tigers, everyone would be talking of how well they have timed their run into the end of the season.

Saracens may have a winning mentality, but so does Exeter, and given home advantage plus the more focused preparation, I’m picking Exeter to make the final. Exeter by 2.

Wasps v Leicester
This match feels slightly more clear cut to me, although people will say you can never write off the Tigers.

Wasps have won the last three meetings between the two sides, and are on a different trajectory as a team – they know how to beat Leicester, they have the confidence and superior personnel to do so, and I’m going to write off the Tigers.

I think Wasps will reach the final. Wasps by 8.

8 thoughts on “Aviva Premiership 2016/17: Semi-Final Predictions

  1. Exeter v Sarries is definitely going to be a cracker. I would flip your logic on its head though and say that Sarries are more battle hardened after last weekend and that might well give them a mental advantage. Exeter haven’t played for two weeks and so might take some time to get going so s strong start from Sarries could be enough for them to wrestle the win, here’s hoping anyway!

    I can’t see past a Wasps win in the other match. Much as I want a win for Tom Youngs I just don’t see how you can play with that hanging over you, my heart goes out to him and his family, so sad!

    1. Agreed. Sarries to pile on points in the first half until Exeter wake up. Winner will depend on how many Sarries get and how big a hill Exeter have to climb.

      1. Possibly, but you can also guarantee that after a couple of slow starts in recent games Rob Baxter has been pushing the team to be coming out of the blocks really fast for this game though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Exeter being ahead by the end of the opening quarter!

        1. Exeter may be ahead after the first quarter, but Sarries are also one of the best teams to come back in second halves and last quarters. Just saying.

  2. Exeter are a great side…no argument. Gloucester ran out of puff in the last game – until then Exeter were just keeping up. Saracens are a different animal. Skilled…very fit…with a winning mentality. It will be very tough but I predict Saracens by 7. If they win this game they will beat Wasps in the final.

  3. I don’t think there could be any “more focused preparation” than winning the European Cup last week. I think playing in those tough semi finals and finals is the best preparation for playing in more semis and finals.
    Having a week off probably won’t really help Exeter when it comes to match time. They have had more rest, but also more time to relax. Trying to get yourself up for a match after two weeks off will be much harder than trying to get yourself up for a double double, and triple Premiership trophy on the bounce.

    It will be a tough game, and Exeter are a great team, but I have to go with Sarries on this one. There’s too much experience of being in this situation in this team to let it go.

    1. I take my hat off to Exeter they fully deserved the win. Sarries looked tired out there, which is not surprising really.

      Good luck to Exeter in the final, I will be cheering you on against Wasps next week.

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