Relegation race intensifies with wins for Newcastle and Worcester

Dean Richards

The bottom two in the Gallagher Premiership both won their matches at the weekend, against Sale and relegation rivals Bristol respectively, and it is now extremely tight at the foot of the table.

Leicester Tigers have become involved after their defeat at home to Midlands rivals Northampton Saints, and here is how the table looks with 5 rounds to play.

Premiership Rugby

Only 12 points now separate 5th from 12th, and apart from Exeter, Newcastle in 12th are showing the best run of form with 3 wins in a row.

At the other end of the table, Exeter have opened up a significant gap on Saracens, but surely the title will belong to one of these two teams. Everyone else appears to be making up the numbers in mid-table, although they aren’t ‘making up the numbers’ quite as well as Sarries if some rumours are to be believed.

Gloucester and Harlequins have a little bit of daylight between themselves and the rest in mid-table, but they can easily be caught with some tough matches still to come.

But don’t get too excited about the run-in just yet, as we’re back to European Rugby this weekend…

Which team do you think will be relegated? What were the other main talking points from the weekend’s Rugby?

18 thoughts on “Relegation race intensifies with wins for Newcastle and Worcester

  1. Yep. Wasps are definitely at risk but with the remaining fixtures I think the few extra points they have should see them clear. At this point it could be any of the bottom 4.

    Out of the 4 teams up for relegation I think Tigers are playing the worst rugby and I wonder if they have the confidence to handle a relegation fight. I imagine it’s a situation that no-one at the club ever thought they would be in. I think that their match with Falcons is a huge one. If they lose that they are my favourites for relegation.

    1. Looking at the run in Wasps have the toughest fixtures list with both Sarries and Exeter to come also tough games against Bath Away and Quins at Home where they would do well to win. If they lose to Worcester at the weekend they will be right in the mire at the end of the season. If they win it should give them enough of a cushion over Newcastle

  2. What is certain is that this season’s relegation battle is a strong argument against introducing ring fencing of the Premiership. There are some terrific games going on at the bottom end and everything to play for until the end of the season which must be good for spectator numbers. Ring fenced, the bottom half dozen teams would by now have nothing to play for.

    1. The counter-argument to this is that ring-fencing might help to make it more competitive at the top of the table, and we’d all be excited about who is going to win the tournament, rather than it being who will win the final between Exeter and Saracens…

      If relegation this year was also a foregone conclusion, there wouldn’t be much to get excited about.

    2. You could also argue that ring fencing would allow recently promoted teams to better establish themselves in the Prem. Bristol, for example, have shown they are capable of mixing it with the big boys, however they need another season at this level to establish themselves. They are playing a really attractive brand of rugby and if they get relegated they will lose players, possibly their coach, and be back to being a decent Championship side as opposed to a Prem side with real potential.

      I’m opposed to permanent ring fencing but would welcome a 2 or year 3 period without promotion/relegation, then a year WITH promotion and relegation, then anbother 2 or 3 years without etc etc.

      1. I’ve always liked this idea. For the team in the Prem it gives them a set time to implement a plan to do well in the league and for the teams in the Championship they can make realistic prep for an attempt at promotion.

        I always thought it would be a good idea to aggregate points over a 3 or 4 year period (for relegation purposes) and then whoever has the lowest points goes down. That way each year there is still an incentive to avoid last place.

    3. I’ve been dead-set against ring-fencing until this season (and I’m a Sarries fan so my change of heart is not for selfish reasons) but I really do believe we have the best 12 teams in the Premiership right now and nobody really deserves to go down. I do like the idea of potentially having the system they tried in Super League for a bit with teams getting 3-year licences for the top level, because in a genuine club system (unlike a franchise/province/region system) not having promotion and relegation seems fundamentally unfair, but then again there must be a reason why rugby league moved away from that model. It’s a difficult one…

  3. As Deano said the other week, “it’s going to be a very good side that goes down”.
    It just seems, that everyone is capable of beating each other on their day.
    My team Bristol are playing a great brand of rugby this year and they could have been up the top if they’d converted 3 or four close fixtures.
    I suppose you have to analyse the run in for the bottom 5 teams.
    However, if there was an algorithm to predict the outcome, it’s still a bit of a lottery.
    There is so much at stake now, both financially and in terms of securing and developing your fan base.
    If you align it to the 6 Nations, if you drop Italy out, they’ll just go back wards in their development, so perhaps ring fencing the premiership is a good idea, maybe with financial incentive, not for finishing top but for improving your position.
    The premiership, thankfully, is supported by rugby philanthropists and a bit of RFU money might keep the intensity of the competion and take the pressure off the owners.
    “ Come on Bris”

    1. As a Worcester fan I can definitely see the bonus of ring-fencing. No more relegation which stifles team development, no more loss of income and no more bouncing between leagues.
      I understand that it adds an edge to the games involving teams at the bottom of the table but the damage relegation can do is huge. Even the threat of it can impact teams for years.

      1. As a Saints fan I can safely say that getting relegated in 2007 was not only deserved but also the best thing that could have happened to us. We went on to rebuild in the championship winning 30/30 games and bouncing back the next season a better team. in their 2nd season back in the prem they finished 2nd and finished in the playoff places for the next 5 seasons until we won it in 2014.

        What went wrong is that in 2009 they introduced the playoffs for promotion. it is notable that this is the most competitive season in the prem yet the first season after they scrapped the playoff

  4. If commercial interests have their way, which is likely in the end, then it’s just a ? of when, not if, ring fencing happens. May well benefit the ‘haves’, but not the ‘have nots’ whom will simply become permanent feeder clubs for the Premiership. If this runs counter to a fundamental tenet of the game, then so what? You can’t stand in the way of progress.. can you?

  5. If the Premiership is ring-fenced will the Championship sides say if we can’t get promoted ring fence up from relegation also?

    1. Seems democratically fair in principle TM, but life or rugby aren’t necessarily like that. Besides rf isn’t actually, nationally fair, is it?

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