The Premiership returns this weekend after what seems like a very long hiatus, and with no form to go on as well as a host of international players missing, it’s going to be hard to predict the results!
The long breaks in this competition are very frustrating. Super Rugby has several faults, but this year it will continue uninterrupted every weekend right through to the finals, and maintaining that momentum helps to make it a more exciting competition.
With European Rugby, the second-string Premiership Cup and the Six Nations all going on, it’s not that easy to keep up with how things are going in the league, and even though the stakes are exactly the same, the excitement levels for this weekend compared to the opening rounds in September and October are so much lower.
I’d be interested to hear what other people think of this.
Anyway, enough ranting, here are my predictions for this weekend’s fixtures.
Gloucester v Exeter
Gloucester winning at Sandy Park essentially ended the Chiefs’ European ambitions this season, but then Exeter got their revenge at Kingsholm a week later. It’s a tough pick, but I’m leaning towards the home team to cause another upset. Gloucester by 2
Bristol v Wasps
Wasps have struggled this season, and there seem to be some off-field issues too. After a long break, I fancy Bristol to get another home win and push themselves further towards safety. Bristol by 4
Northampton v Sale
The Sharks are up to 5th, and have won the last three in a row against the Saints, but again I’m swayed by home advantage. Northampton by 7
Bath v Newcastle
The Falcons are running out of games to save themselves, but they won at the Rec last season and have won four in a row against Bath. However, this is a very different campaign to last season, and I’m going for a home win again. Bath by 5
Harlequins v Worcester
This should be another home win on the cards, given that the Warriors have managed one away win all season, and Quins are tough to beat at the Stoop. Harlequins by 8
Saracens v Leicester
Strangely, the away team has won this fixture on the last four occasions, but three of them were Saracens winning at Welford Road, and it’s hard to look past the Sarries at Allianz Park, even with all their absent internationals.
What do you think of these picks? All home wins?