With just a few sleeps until the Premiership rugby season kicks off, the excitement is building for what promises to be an exciting build up to the autumn tours, new rugby Champions Cup, 6 nations and then the World Cup. Blimey – I’m out of breath just typing this!
So – once again it’s time for me to put my old chap on the block with predictions for the season. Somewhat surprisingly I did alright last year – with a 73% record in getting my forecasts right. Who says the ‘sticking a pin in’ method is flawed? I even managed to choose Saints as champions, although, to be fair I did have them beating Leicester in the final.
The real Cadbury Cream egg on my face was also having Gloucester in the play-offs – and not just because I now live down here in Turnip Town.
There has been a lot of activity in the transfer market in the last few months – I know it’s Wikipedia, but it looks pretty reliable and is easy to follow! With so much movement you might think that it will be difficult to predict how things will go before we see how the first few rounds pan out – well, you and me both!
However, I am going to have a go anyway. The proper pundits have already given their views in the rugby media, although only a couple have put up their final table. I also won’t go through each team and pontificate about the likely effects of all the comings and goings.
The highlights (and question marks) for me are the arrival in October of big Sam Burgess.
- Will Freddie settle in with the Tigers?
- Can Piri Weepu keep the Welsh afloat?
- Will Gloucester’s signings give the Shed back its growl?
- Are Ginsters making a super-size pasty for us sofa blokes watching the double header?
The Saints and Saracens have been the least active in the market – both shedding a lot more players than they recruited. Having said that, they both have exceptional squads and I again see them as the two to beat. Throw in Bath, Quins, Tigers and with Gloucester as an outside bet and I think you have the top 6 right there.
The big unknowns are – injuries, the pressure from the RC Cup, the games during the 6 Nations. All eyes will be on how Sam settles and not just in at the Rec – all English fans will want him to make a big impact – except when their team are playing them, obviously.
How big an impression might he make? Judge for yourselves in this video – I do suspect, however, that he may have to learn to tackle just a tad lower! Let’s hope he hits the ground (and his opponents) running. Whatever happens I expect the Rec to resound to the sound of ‘Play it again Sam’ come October – despite it not being much of a song.
Anyway – here’s my final table prediction for 2014/5 –
- Saints – but winning the final again at Twickenham
- London Irish
- London Welsh
It all starts on Friday – so, here are my predictions for R1
- Saints to take Gloucester – but not by many
- Bath to win on the road at Sale
- Saracens take off against Wasps
- Tigers to eat the Falcons
- Quins to win at Irish
- London Welsh to start with surprise win at home to the Chiefs
With 4 home wins and just 2 aways I’ve been fairly conservative in my first predictions – we shall see – the main thing is – roll on Friday!