The European competitions are now behind us and we can concentrate on the end to the domestic season. There are still 6 teams fighting it out for the playoffs and here are my predictions for round 21.
First here is a link to my review of round 20.
How did your round 20 predictions go?
3 out of 6, so a poor week for my crystal ball.
Harlequins v Bath
Quins are coming off the back of a couple of good wins, but Gloucester’s win in the Challenge Cup has taken away the playoff carrot of 7th place. So Quins season is now truly over even if 6th is still mathematically possible. Bath on the other hand are looking to claim that home playoff spot that look like it might have slipped away during the 6 nations. Bath are back on a good run of wins even if they include the bottom 3 teams and I expect them to go along way to claiming that home playoff spot this weekend.
Bath by 7
Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons
This is one of the few games of the weekend that doesn’t really matter. Again 7th place doesn’t mean anything to Sharks anymore and whilst they could just make the top 6 it’s really unlikely. So with both teams thinking about their holidays and next season I’m going for a narrow home win.
Sale Sharks by 5
Gloucester Rugby v London Irish
The other game that doesn’t matter, however Gloucester know that they have a playoff game or two coming up. They can’t just rest their players as they need to stay match fit but anyone with a niggle I think will be left out and some starters might be on the bench. That’s exactly what happened two weeks ago and the bench came on to win it. Irish will very much be thinking of holidays and next season so a home win.
Gloucester Rugby by 6
Northampton Saints v London Welsh
Very simply a large home win that secures Saints their home playoff position.
Northampton Saints by 40
Wasps v Leicester Tigers
This is a very tasty game as both sides are fighting it out for a playoff spot and that’s shown by the 30,000+ sellout crowd. We have the team that is the top scoring side in the premiership against a side that only just has a positive points difference. As long as Wasps can get some parity up front their much better attacking play and back should win the day. Tigers will be looking to get the upper hand in the pack and sticking the ball up the jumper all game long. But this isn’t the christmas period and the hard ground should mean this doesn’t work.
Wasps by 5
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs
Saracens came up short against the Saints last weekend where they were forced into giving up penalties which is so unlike them. However this is a side that knows how to recover mentally from these setbacks and they have only lost once at home in the league. The Chiefs did get the better of Saracens at home but lost twice in the LV=Cup including the final. With the loss last weekend to Wasps they are in danger of slipping up with 2 away wins at the end of the season. As a Chiefs supporter that really hurts but unfortunately that’s how I see it going.
Saracens by 5