The Aviva Premiership is nearly upon us, the buildup has been overshadowed by the Rugby World Cup and the first few rounds will also be. Here are my predictions for the opening round.
Now it’s time for the disclaimer, it’s always more difficult to predict early on as you don’t know who’s going to hit the ground running or the impact of the squad changes. So with that in mind here are my predictions.
Harlequins v Wasps
Quins have made good signings and have had a good preseason with a couple of wins over London Irish. Wasps had a better home than away record and whilst they have had good signings there is also a change at flyhalf. Putting in a new decision maker can take time to settle and they had a couple of wins over Warriors and a loss to Saints in preseason. Putting that all together I think that Quins will take a narrow win.
Harlequins by 5
Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints
Warriors have got promoted earlier than they had planed and that has led to a big recruitment drive. Add to that they Warriors have had a tough preseason with 4 losses. Saints topped the table last year and whilst there has been some key changes they have come through preseason with a couple of wins and should start the season with a 5 pointer.
Northampton Saints by 15
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester Rugby
Falcons haven’t made many big signings and after coming second to last lost all their pre-season games in the Kings of the North competition. Gloucester were looking much better in the latter stages of last season. They will be missing key players to the world cup in their 9/10 combo especially. A mixed preseason saw losses to Exeter and a win and loss to Bath. I think that Gloucester will land an early away win.
Gloucester Rugby by 5
Bath v Exeter Chiefs
I don’t know if/which England players will be back, but without them Exeter won the West Country Challenge Cup. Exeter won all 4 of their preseason games whilst Bath won once against Gloucester but lost the other 3 games. Whilst preseason games can be misleading I’m backing an away win as the England players are reintegrated.
Exeter Chiefs by 5
Saracens v Sale Sharks
Saracens have had the lest changes of all the Premiership teams and so should start the season the easiest. There are players to reintegrate but they are used to dealing without their internationals. Sale have had a mixed preseason with a couple of wins over Flacons but not such good results against Tigers. At home I think Saracens will take an easy win.
Saracens by 10
London Irish v Leicester Tigers
Irish have made a number of high profile signings but the retirement of Goode has put a spanner in the works. A tough preseason with 3 losses also suggests that they will take time to come up to speed. Tigers have again lost some of their big names and not replaced them with equally recognised ones. A positive preseason though shows that they still have plenty of quality and they should win this one easily enough.
Leicester Tigers by 10
The Aviva Premiership starts next week and I’m running a prediction league again. Join here as I give you my predictions and reviews for every round.