Guinness Premiership predictions: Round 4

Friday evening sees the start of a packed schedule of Guinness Premiership rugby over the next eight days, and as always, there are some potentially brilliant clashes.

Leicester and Wasps meet at Welford Road, each with a 100% record so far this season. Danny Cipriani has been making headlines about his possible return to action, but James Haskell is banned and captain Raphael Ibanez is rested. Leicester have made a few changes in the pack, and certainly are the favourites on paper. I’m predicting that both clubs will maintain their 100% records.

Sale host Gloucester at Edgeley Park looking to set a record for conceding no tries in four games, and they won’t be weak at the knees at the news that Iain Balshaw will make his first start of the season. Another home win should be on the cards for the Sharks.

Newcastle Falcons are at Home to Bristol in another Friday night fixture. This isn’t the most exciting match on the list this weekend, and although Richard Hill has recalled his old guard in the shape of Matt Salter, Roy Winters and Mark Regan, Newcastle ought to take the points.

Worcester visit Bath on Saturday afternoon and face another difficult fixture after last week’s narrow loss to Leicester at Sixways. In contrast, Bath had a good away victory, and are favourites to pick up further points at The Rec.

Harlequins play London Irish at The Stoop, with both sides looking to return to winning ways after narrow defeats in the previous round. Quins have only lost once at Home since January, but London Irish have strong Away form – nevertheless, I’ve predicted another Home win.

In the final match of the round, Saracens face Northampton after a crushing bonus-point victory over Newcastle last week. A difficult match to call, but seeing as I’ve picked the Home team in every other fixture, I’m backing Saracens but not by much.

Here are my SuperBru predictions for Round 4 – you may notice I’ve revised my strategy of predicting large winning margins, since nearly every game has been so close:

Game 19: Leicester Tigers v London Wasps: Leicester Tigers by 8
Game 20: Sale Sharks v Gloucester Rugby: Sale Sharks by 5
Game 21: Newcastle Falcons v Bristol Rugby: Newcastle Falcons by 8
Game 22: Bath Rugby v Worcester Warriors: Bath Rugby by 10
Game 23: Harlequins v London Irish: Harlequins by 6
Game 24: Saracens v Northampton Saints: Saracens by 4

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