This weekend sees the return of the Guinness Premiership once again, and there are some crucial top of the table clashes to savour.
London Irish look down from the top of the tree at second placed Gloucester and will welcome them to the Medejski Stadium on Saturday. Both teams take an enviable record into the game, with the Exiles on a 9 match winning streak, compared with Gloucester’s 7 victories in a row. I’ve picked Gloucester to take the points, but only just.
Also on Saturday, third placed Bath take on Sale with the Sharks sitting two points behind the west-countrymen. Sale will be keen to avenge their unexpected defeat to Montauban last week, but Bath should be too strong for them at The Rec.
Leicester play Newcastle and Welford Road and I can’t see anything but a Tigers victory – I’ve predicted a big Home win, with the Falcons to be off the pace after their fortnight in Europe’s second tier competition.
Harlequins should be elated after their back-to-back victories over European big guns Stade Francais. They may suffer from a hangover if their feet are not yet back on the ground, but Dean Richards is unlikely to let that happen and I’m backing them for an away victory over Northampton.
Bristol face an unenviable trip to Worcester, and they’ll be desperate to overtake Newcastle to get off the bottom of the table. I can’t see it happening this week though, and Worcester should win at home.
In the last game of the round, I’ve picked Wasps to beat Saracens at Adams Park. If the Champions are to make any sort of challenge at the right end of the table, now is the time to get their act together. Saracens won’t lie down in the ‘London’ derby, but I fancy Wasps to win it.
Here are my SuperBru picks for Round 9:
Game 49: Bath Rugby v Sale Sharks: Bath Rugby by 9
Game 50: Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons: Leicester Tigers by 21
Game 51: London Irish v Gloucester Rugby: Gloucester Rugby by 4
Game 52: Northampton Saints v Harlequins: Harlequins by 8
Game 53: Worcester Warriors v Bristol Rugby: Worcester Warriors by 12
Game 54: London Wasps v Saracens: London Wasps by 10