After the revelations this week regarding Saracens’ breach of the salary cap, I wondered whether to bother with these predictions.
The integrity of the tournament has been totally undermined, it’s not a level playing field, and in that context, is there really any point in following it?
If Saracens had put their hands up and apologised, promising to change their ways, I might feel better about it – but they are appealing and continuing to pretend they are doing nothing wrong, despite it being something of an open secret that they are flouting the rules.
Anyway, with a huge cloud hanging over English rugby, here are my predictions for Round 4.
Sale v Wasps
I’m leaning towards Wasps at home in this one, even though the away team has won the last two meetings. Plus Sale thrashed London Irish, who beat Wasps. Sale by 4
Bath v Northampton
Normally I’d pick the home team, but the Saints have started the season well and it is making me think. Six of the last eight meetings have been decided by 4 points or fewer, so it’s likely to be close. Bath by 2
Gloucester v Saracens
This could be a feisty one, with Saracens likely to face an extremely hostile crowd at Kingsholm. For all their cheating, they haven’t won there since 2015, and with morale likely to be extremely low, I’m picking the home side. Gloucester by 13
Harlequins v Worcester
This is a match that Quins have to win if they are to contend at the right end of the table. Harlequins by 6
London Irish v Leicester
Last week’s win over Gloucester will give the Tigers some confidence, and they ought to be too strong for the newly-promoted exiles. Leicester by 8
Exeter v Bristol
The Bears sit 2nd in the table after three weeks, but a trip to Sandy Park is not easy and they’ve never beaten the Chiefs in the Premiership. Exeter by 9
What do you think of these picks?