And so the season finally begins! The first round of fixtures are always difficult to call, but here are my thoughts on the opening matches.
My most controversial prediction is probably the opening game, where I’ve gone for a Falcons victory away at Sale. The Sharks have had such a tumultuous few months, they are missing talisman kicker Charlie Hodgson and I’ve a feeling they’ll start slowly this season as a result. Newcastle won at Edgeley Park at the end of last season, and I’m backing them to do the same tonight.
I’m hugely excited about seeing Exeter in the Premiership, but I’ve gone for a big Gloucester win as they find their feet at the top level. I suspect they’ll struggle to start with and their learning curve will be steep, but perhaps they can follow Leeds’ example last year with a strong second half of the season to survive.
Otherwise, I don’t think there’s anything too contentious. I expect Bath to beat Leeds, the London Double Header fixtures could go either way, but I’ve gone for Wasps and Sarries to win, whilst I fancy the Saints to win at home against the Tigers.
Here are my Aviva Premiership Rugby predictions for Round 1. Four Away wins out of six? Let me know what you think:
Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons: Newcastle Falcons by 5
London Irish v Saracens: Saracens by 8
Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester Rugby: Gloucester Rugby by 27
London Wasps v Harlequins: London Wasps by 6
Leeds Carnegie v Bath: Bath by 13
Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers: Northampton Saints by 6