We are only a couple of weeks into the season and already we have had some wonderful rugby, here are my predictions for round 3.
First here is a link to my round 2 review.
How did the round 2 predictions go?
5 from 6, that’s twice now that I have been 1 pick away from a clean sweep.
Saracens v London Irish
This is one of the easier ones to pick, Saracens are always strong at home. They have also had the least amount of turnover in the offseason. That is showing in their early form with 2 wins and them top of the table. London Irish are the opposite, with a big recruitment plan and new coaches. The squad and coaches were always going to take time to settle and I’m expecting there to be more pain before it gets better. The thing Irish will be conscious of is not losing touch at the bottom of the table early on.
Saracens by 15
Bath v Harlequins
Both these sides followed up open weekend home wins with away losses last weekend. Both these sides are trying to integrate their England players back in as quickly as possible taking into account player welfare towards the end of the season. The difference is that we have a home settled side against a visiting side that has had significant summer changes. Those changes are for the better but as above take time to fully settle so I’m going for a relatively comfortable home win.
Bath by 10
Gloucester Rugby v Worcester Warriors
Gloucester are another side with the problem of reintegrating players as they get their first choice 8, 9, 10 axis back. Twelvetrees has done a good job at flyhalf but they will be looking to get him back in 12 as soon as possible. Warriors have put in two good performances and if they keep that up should be picking up the odd win and LBPs. Those though are going to be more at home than away. Gloucester should have too much class even with some players still potentially missing.
Gloucester Rugby by 10
Newcastle Falcons v Exeter Chiefs
Falcons have had a tough start to the season and with them visiting Warriors the weekend after this they will be looking for some form. Their recruitment hasn’t filled me with much confidence but Richards is a quality coach. Chiefs have hit the ground running in terms of form and many people are tipping them as top 4 finishers. If that is to be the case then games like this have to be won and they should do fairly easily. The problem is that this is exactly the kind of game that has tripped them up over the last couple of seasons.
Exeter Chiefs by 7
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints
Sharks bounced back from an opening day thrashing to beat Warriors. They are another side that hasn’t filled me with confidence in their transfer dealings. They are hosting Saints who made a statement after their opening weekend loss to Warriors. They will be looking to back that up again this weekend and I think they should be winners. The note of caution though is that this is exactly the kind of game where Sharks have caused upsets and they have won 2 out of the last 3 homes games against Saints.
Northampton Saints by 10
Leicester Tigers v Wasps
Tigers looked to be side in decline after they lost several household name players over the summer and didn’t replace them with similar recognised names. There are rumours that they have a another name to add to de Villiers signing but that won’t help them with weekend. Two wins this season though show that Tigers aren’t all about those big name players. Wasps like many sides are 1 from 2 this season and are also integrating new players into their squad. Last season they were very much a good home team but poor travellers and that’s how the 2 games have gone so far. So I’m going for a home win.
Leicester Tigers by 5
Check out my Rugby Thoughts on the Aviva Premiership salary cap and how the investigation has been handled.