Aviva Premiership Predictions: Rd 5

Home Truths

There are some tough calls this week and I am tempted to go for 4 home wins (and just 2 x aways) to be on the safe side with my predictions. But to hell with playing safe (as Liberace might have said) I’m going to stick my neck out (so to speak) and go for 3:3.

We’ll see just how much of a risk that is on Sunday night.

Bath are at Sale Sharks on Friday night and the Sharks have a good record both at home and when they play Bath – having won 3 out of the last four games against them. Add to that the fact that Bath aren’t great on the road and you’d think I’d have the Sharks as a dead cert. But no – I fancy Bath to steal it late in the second half.

Saturday sees the Irish v Quins, Wasps travelling to Saracens and Worcester Warriors welcoming (?) the Falcons. Plus the big one – when Northampton go to the dreaded Welford road to face the Tigers

I think Quins will get back to winning by putting away the Irish – but without a bonus point (although Irish may well get one for losing by less than 7 in a tight game)

Saracens aren’t everyone’s favourite team but they will be firm favourites to stay top come Sunday night by eventually getting another relatively comfortable win to send Wasps packing.

Worcester v. Newcastle Falcons looks like the first big relegation battle – despite being less than a fifth of the way through the season both of these sides are already struggling and whoever wins, it is likely to be an important 4 points come the death. I take the Warriors to break their duck and halt the terrible run of 9 successive defeats. It won’t be pretty but neither Dean Richards nor Dean Ryan will care if they come out on top.

The first of the big battles will take place at Welford Road at 3.15 pm on Saturday. Both teams are looking good – better for me than Saracens to be honest – despite what it says at the top of the table.

This will be a hard affair that will be settled by a narrow margin. Again common sense says stay with the home side, but I’ve been impressed with Northampton in all games – including their last minute controversial loss at the Rec. It could easily end up as the first draw of the season but I’m taking the Saints to march out of Welford with 4 bruising points under their belts. The Tigers to get an equally hard earned bonus point.

Sunday’s game sees a big clash in the West Country – Gloucester hosting the Chiefs. Rob Baxter will ensure that the Chiefs play for the full 80 minutes this week and they have a good record on the road. But here I think home advantage and the Kingsholm crowd will see Gloucester over the line – just.

To summarise –

Bath to win at Sale

Quins also to win on the road against London Irish

Saracens to take the sting out of Wasps

Worcester to win the battle of the basement

Northampton to scrape an impressive win in Leicester’s cauldron

Finally – Gloucester to win the battle for the West

So – some very difficult calls this week – I think that the only bonus points on offer will be for the losing sides and my shout of three away wins looks to be either very brave or very stupid – we shall see!

Table after R4 -

Pos

 

Team

Pl

W

D

L

Pts

1

 

Saracens

4

4

0

0

19

2

 

Northampton Saints

4

3

0

1

15

3

 

Leicester Tigers

4

3

0

1

15

4

 

Bath Rugby

4

3

0

1

13

5

 

Harlequins

4

2

0

2

10

6

 

Sale Sharks

4

2

0

2

9

7

 

Gloucester Rugby

4

2

0

2

9

8

 

Exeter Chiefs

4

2

0

2

8

9

 

London Wasps

4

1

0

3

8

10

 

London Irish

4

1

0

3

5

11

 

Newcastle Falcons

4

1

0

3

5

12

 

Worcester Warriors

4

0

0

4

1

 

It’s down to the wire in the Rugby Championship – and whilst the big game is at Ellis Park – I see the Pumas v Wallabies game as anything but a dead rubber.

There won’t be any faint hearts at the game in Johannesburg – it’s a huge match and there will be some huge hits – let’s hope they are all legal. It will be a cauldron with loud shouts of ‘BEEEAASSST’ to celebrate his 50th cap.

However, talk of a try bonus point for the Springboks is a bit fanciful for me – I don’t even think they will win. The All Blacks don’t have to get parity of possession to win – but they will have more than enough ball to get four points and for Richie McCaw to lift the trophy as unbeaten champions.

Winning in South America is hard – as the Boks will attest. (I don’t count England Saxons playing Argentina’s 3rd XV last summer).

I fear that the Wallabies will be under extreme pressure up front and their exciting backs will struggle for ball and space against a Puma side desperate for the win. However, as we know in the Northern Hemisphere, a wounded Wallaby is a dangerous animal – they won’t go down without a fight and it should be close. But I don’t think it will be Argentina crying after the game.

A final prediction – none of the Aviva or Championship games will end up with try bonus points but they could all feature a losing bonus point!

 

 

About David Shute

Shutey’s obsession with all things rugby far exceeds his ability on the pitch during his playing days as his blog (www.rugbyoldbloke.wordpress.com) certainly testifies.
He lives in England and can be caustic about the progress of his team since his mate Clive resigned – this is reflected in his writing about the state of Northern Hemisphere rugby. You can follow Shutey on twitter but only if you seriously have nothing better to do.

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