Gallagher Premiership 2018/19: Round 1 Predictions

Gallagher Premiership Predictions

Here we go then for the new Premiership Rugby season, and the first of my weekly predictions articles. New coaches, new players, a new team, and lots of excitement ahead of the long build up to the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year.

In a case of extremely bad timing, I am moving house this week, and so writing these predictions on Wednesday, well before any team news or lineups have been announced.

So with the excuses out of the way before I’ve even begun, here are my Gallagher Premiership predictions for Round 1.

Bristol v Bath
I really want Bristol to do well this season, and they have a strong-looking squad that should be able to compete. They’ve been preparing for a while for life in the Premiership, and with some of Bath’s internationals having a shorter pre-season, and others such as Francois Louw still away with South Africa, I want to pick an upset. A Bristol win in the West Country derby would be a splendid way to kick off the season, but history says that Premiership experience counts for a lot, and the smart money is on Bath to win this one. They’ll be well aware of the home side’s threats, a big 45-12 preseason win over the Scarlets will give them some confidence, and Todd Blackadder will have prepared his cohort effectively. Bath by 13

Gloucester v Northampton
Northampton will be keen to put a torrid season behind them as quickly as possible, but a trip to Kingsholm is a tough start. Gloucester will have a strong South African contingent this year, with coach Johan Ackerman recruiting several of his star players from the Lions, and if he can replicate the success he had there, the Shed will be buzzing. Saints have won 5 of the last 6 against Gloucester, but I’m backing the home side in this one. Gloucester by 6

Harlequins v Sale
Here’s another team that needs a strong start after a disappointing campaign last year, and they have a slightly kinder opening match. The home team has won this fixture on the last six occasions, and I think Quins will start with a win. It’s a new era under Paul Gustard, with various coaching changes that should see them get more from their stellar squad, and a relatively kind opening 4 fixtures means they can build some confidence and challenge for Europe at least. Harlequins by 9

Worcester v Wasps
I think it could be a long season for Worcester, not helped by the fact that they play 4 of last seasons top 5 teams in the opening 5 rounds. Wasps have beaten them in the last eight matches between the two sides, and all but two of those have been double-figure winning margins. Wasps by 16

Exeter v Leicester
The Tigers are looking a bit weak in the front five at the start of the season after a couple of key injuries, and Sandy Park is no place to play without a solid pack. The Chiefs are looking like title contenders once again, and I expect them to get their campaign underway with a home win. Exeter by 7

Newcastle v Saracens
Expectations in the north-east are considerably higher than this time last year, and whilst they have a very tough opening fixture, what better way to lay down a marker for the season than by beating the champions? I’m having to put aside my long-held beliefs about Newcastle’s weaknesses, but I still can’t see them defeating Saracens in Round 1. The quality of their first-choice team, allied to the extraordinary squad depth, means it’s safer to pick Sarries to win every week. Saracens by 6

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Follow Hutch on Twitter: @Hutch_James

16 thoughts on “Gallagher Premiership 2018/19: Round 1 Predictions

  1. Can’t really argue with many of those, even without team sheets being available.

    The only one I’m struggling with settling on at the moment, is the Sixways fixture. Worcester have been known to be a potential banana skin and they always seem to win against a few teams above them each season there (most notable one last year was probably Newcastle).

    Will only be able to decide that one once the team sheet comes out, if Rob Miller is at 10, I can see the upset being on the cards.




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        1. Team announcement now made and Cipriani starting! Mostert obviously still with SA. Bad news is that Willi Heinz is injured (again…). Interesting that Callum Braley has been preferred to Ben Vellacott to start, although BV is a wonderful impact sub (or finisher as they’re now called).




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  2. Having seen the Bath Bristol team sheets, its hard to look past Bath. Even without their lions, that team with Blackadder settled in should be pushing top 6 at minimum, cant see Bristol keeping up in this game or the season. Not that bath are anything more than geographical rivals




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  3. Tigers will beat Exeter, but only to get my hopes up before disappointing me, for another year while my Grandad rolls in his grave.




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  4. Bath by 10 – they look too strong all round.
    Glos by 3 – possible game of the round,. This one will be very close.
    Sale by 2 – Quins will take time to adapt to Gustard and Sale have a settled squad well capable of winning this one.
    Worcs by 3 – Wasps are going to badly miss Cips. Worcs wont be easy to beat at home and, if they can field a first choice side, should be very competitive.
    Exeter by 9 – very hard to back against Exe at SP.
    Saracens by 4 – Falcons will push hard, but Saracens have the quality – and the depth if the bench becomes a key factor.
    Some very close games likely this weekend, I suspect, that really could go either way.




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  5. I haven’t seen the Falcons team sheet but Sarries have an interesting mix in their 23. Mostly as predicted but Earl at 7 with Spencer and Skelton starting is interesting.




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  6. Bristol v Bath, 17-10! Who’d have thought it? Not me.. or likely any, except Bris diehards? Anyway, make a few sit up & take note, like Todd Blackadder for the return fixture. Hope it’s not a 1 hit wonder scenario, like Irish last season. In any event, it’s good start for the ‘Bears’, but a kick in the guts for Bath. Bladder needs to start winning & fast. Otherwise he might be considered too much of a goorie not to get a plane back home & become Hansen’s 1/2time orange boy for the AB’s! Fingers xxed.




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  7. “Exeter stronger in the front five”? I’m sorry but Francis is a third choice tighthead for Wales, Yeandle is uncapped and Hepburn is new to the international scene, we’ve got two Lions in our front row and Bateman with Polota-Nau, a capped Argentinian (Cortes) and a capped Tongan on the bench. Exeter are weaker than us in the second row with the absence of Lees and Hill. I’m not exactly predicting a Tigers victory, but Exeter will not steamroll today.




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    1. Some humble pie to be eaten me thinks Jacob!…especially with that last sentence. Steamrollered and strangled. Tigers completely rudderless.




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      1. To be fair Tigers were competitive for 20 minutes! But then their big forwards started to blow and by 30 minutes they were out on their feet. After that, there was only ever going to be one winner. Looks like the Tigers pre season training manual came from the 90’s. More time in the gym and get bigger, whereas the Exeter one was an up to date programme for the modern game. Baxter showing what a good coach he is.




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        1. Baxter has had ex-Royal Marine PTI’s as his S & C for a good few years now. Preparing young would-be commandos to be physically fit and firing for offensive operations also crosses over to preparing professional rugby players it would seem!




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  8. Howzit Hutch I noticed that at the back end of the season you stopped predicting the Pro14, my gut tells me you have less interest in it but I hope im wrong.




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