Aviva Premiership Predictions: Rd 20

Expect More Drama

With just 3 games to go until the play-offs (and European places) are decided, it is inevitable that there are going to be some big clashes on all three of the final weekends in the Premiership.

First up on Friday night Harlequins take on the Tigers at the Stoop. If Quins can get a win, then they will put serious pressure on Bath who are currently just above them in the final play-off position. It could also lead to a very exciting final day of the regular season when Bath will be coming to the Stoop – possibly as a decider for than coveted 4th spot.

But it will be tight tomorrow as the Tigers have a number of their long-term  injured players available and, as usual at this point each season, are coming good at just the right time.

A big game that, luckily for us, is live on BT Sport. Almost too close to call, but I am staying with home advantage and think that Harlequins will just edge it.

After last week’s feisty affair at Kingsholm, Bath are back home at the Rec for the visit of Worcester. Both teams have much to play for – Bath – the play-offs and for the Warriors an outside chance to survive.

Bath didn’t play well last week and only just scraped the win against the 11 of Gloucester in the final minute or so. But they are unlikely to lose, even though the Warriors will put up a pretty decent fight – although hopefully not in the same way as Tavis!

Sale travel to Exeter knowing that, although they won’t make the semi-finals, their place in the new Champions Cup is pretty much already secured. The Chiefs however, can still make the play-off for the Cup and will be keen to put distance between themselves and Wasps. I take the Chiefs to take all four points from this one.

For the same reason Wasps will want to gain maximum points from Gloucester’s visit to London where the game has been moved to Twickenham for a match called ‘The Stinger’

I think Wasps will stay in the ‘Mix’ and come out on top on what promises to be a fun filled afternoon – keeping the pressure on Exeter and making next week’s games just as interesting.

Last Sunday Saints almost made a dramatic comeback against Saracens – they are at some risk of losing home advantage for the play-offs and need a good win. Their opponents at Franklin’s Gardens are London Irish – fresh from a 6 try trouncing of the Falcons. It’s pretty certain that Irish will be without Wallaby James O’Connor, but even with him I think they’d struggle against the Saints.

The last game of the weekend sees top of the table Saracens going up to Newcastle – where they will come away with all four points and may just give Warriors a little hope if they do manage to get something from their game at Bath

My predictions then are 5 home wins with just Saracens succeeding on the road;

Harlequins scrape past the Tigers

Bath dash Warriors hopes

The Chiefs over the Sharks

Wasps to win the ‘Stinger’

Saints bounce back against Irish

Newcastle fall to Saracens

 

Whatever happens there will still be big games in the last two weeks of the regular season to look forward to!

 

 

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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