After a pretty dismal performance last week, I’ve given the crystal ball a polish, refreshed the tea leaves and taken up astrology, so here are my predictions for Round 2 of the Aviva Premiership.
The round gets underway with a difficult one to call. I was tempted to back Newcastle at Kingston Park on the basis that it’s a tricky place to get a result, and that their defeat last week was slightly flattering to the Sharks. However, instinct refused to let me back the Falcons twice in a row, so I’ve gone with the favourites for a relatively narrow win.
Quins v Northampton is also tough, but I was impressed by the Saints in Round 1, and surely their kicking performance will be hugely improved and ought to give them the edge. A nine-point win might be optimistic, but the winning margins are hard to predict at this stage of the season, particularly with all the talk of referees favouring the attacking teams.
In Bath against London Irish, we have an early top-of-the-table clash, and whilst Ben Coles is predicting a narrow home win in the Key Clash Preview, I’ve gone for Bath by 8 in a high-scoring affair.
Having attempted to avoid the same mistake twice with Newcastle, I’m predicting a relatively heavy defeat for Exeter Chiefs (as I did last weekend). Without wanting to take anything away for the Chiefs’ dream debut, Gloucester were pretty awful by all accounts and I think they’ll be brought back down to earth at Welford Road.
In the other two games, I’m hoping wins for Gloucester over Leeds and Saracens over Sale are not too controversial, but you never know. Let me know what you think, and whether I’m on track to rise above 71st in The Rugby Blog’s prediction league.
Newcastle Falcons v London Wasps: London Wasps by 7
Harlequins v Northampton Saints: Northampton Saints by 9
Bath v London Irish: Bath by 8
Gloucester Rugby v Leeds Carnegie: Gloucester Rugby by 13
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs: Leicester Tigers by 23
Saracens v Sale Sharks: Saracens by 13