Last year’s semi-finalists, Newcastle Falcons, are now on the brink of relegation after their latest defeat at home to Northampton.
Bristol and Worcester both won their matches to ensure Premiership survival, and whilst Leicester can still mathematically catch the Tigers, there’s nothing to suggest that Newcastle will win both of their final two matches – away at 3rd-placed Gloucester, and home to Bristol.
It’s quite a fall from grace for last season’s team of the year, and for Dean Richards, so recently heralded as one of the league’s great managers on the back of that success.
Where do they go from here? Will they bounce straight back? Will it precipitate a change of league structure?
Elsewhere, Gloucester booked their place in the playoffs with a losing bonus point against Worcester, whilst Harlequins almost shocked league leaders Exeter at Sandy Park but slipped to 5th courtesy of the Saints’ win at Kingston Park. Sale beat Bath in a 6-3 thriller, whilst Wasps were comfortably beaten at home by Saracens.
The race for that final playoff spot is all that really remains over the last two weeks of the season, although it is incredibly close – Northampton, Quins, Sale, Wasps and Bath all have a realistic chance of making it to 4th.
Here are the final two rounds of fixtures?
Bristol v Sale
Harlequins v Leicester
Gloucester v Newcastle
Northampton v Worcester
Saracens v Exeter
Bath v Wasps
Exeter v Northampton
Leicester v Bath
Newcastle v Bristol
Sale v Gloucester
Wasps v Harlequins
Worcester v Saracens
Who do you think will qualify? An away trip to Exeter or Saracens awaits the lucky team!
What were your highlights from the weekend?