After the over-excitement and general hype of the Heineken Cup it’s a welcome return to domestic affairs this weekend. Here are my SuperBru predictions for round 7 of the Aviva Premiership.
Friday night sees Worcester take on Sale in an intriguing encounter at Sixways. The form book says Worcester should win, but despite a trouncing at Montpellier last weekend Sale have made improvements over the past couple of weeks. They finally got the monkey off their back a fortnight ago with their first win of the season, and could pose problems for the Warriors, especially if Cipriani continues his upturn in form. I’ve gone for a home win though, but the Sharks to take a bonus point.
Saturday’s opening fixture is one of the many West Country derbies, with Exeter making the trip to the Rec to challenge Bath. The Chiefs took a bit of a pasting last week against Clermont and will be keen to bounce back, and although it’s difficult to gauge form on the Amlin Cup Bath will be keen to rise from their current mid-table standing. Both teams have three wins, so it should be a close one, but I expect home advantage to tell and Bath to take the victory. Again though, Exeter could bag a bonus point.
Another tough call comes in the shape of two title contenders squaring off at Franklin’s Gardens. Saracens are the visitors, and carry some scintillating form into the fixture from the European break. The Saints are tough to beat at home though, and they should win – but once again a losing bonus point is well within the realms of possibility. Elsewhere, the Tigers travel to Kingsholm on the back of one of the most impressive 10 minutes of rugby seen this season, where they will look to convert that form into Premiership points. I’ve gone for them to win, but only by a narrow margin as the hostile atmosphere in Gloucester will doubtless make it a close match.
Quins have gone off the boil slightly in terms of their Premiership form, but showed good spirit in the Heineken Cup to gain two wins. London Irish also showed impressive steel to win away in France over their European break, and should pose more of a threat to Quins than they would have a month ago. I still think the champions will win fairly comfortably though, having not lost 3 in a row in the Premiership since 2009/2010. On Sunday Wasps take on London Welsh at Adam’s Park, where I expect the home team to take the spoils fairly comfortably. The Exiles have already performed admirably in proving to everyone they’re not going to be the whipping boys they were expected to be, but probably won’t have enough to trouble Wasps here.
Worcester Warriors vs Sale Sharks: Worcester by 6
Bath vs Exeter Chiefs: Bath by 4
Northampton Saints vs Saracens: Saints by 4
Gloucester vs Leicester Tigers: Tigers by 6
London Irish vs Harlequins: Harlequins by 10
London Wasps vs London Welsh: Wasps by 13
How do you see the weekend going?