This is the last round of the Aviva Premiership and whilst we know the top four and who’s relegated there is still plenty to be sorted out. Here are my predictions for the last round or the regular season.
First here is a link to my round-up of last weekend’s action.
How did your round 21 picks go?
5 from 6, I didn’t see Sale losing their first home game of the season.
Here’s my 30 second One Line Predictions, read below for the reasons.
Bath v Leicester Tigers
Bath will be happy to see the back of this season and to plan for the next. They’ll be hoping that they don’t have the off field issues that clearly plagued them early on in the season and cropped up at the end too. Bath will obviously be wanting to end the seasons on a high in-front of their own fans. How ever I think that Tigers form will carry the day. They will be looking at maintaining their form for the playoffs and with a weekend off in between won’t need to rest players so much.
Leicester Tigers by 5
Gloucester Rugby v Northampton Saints
Gloucester are ending the season with a good little bit of form with wins over Exeter and Sale away. This is something that I remember happening last season too and gave the impression of something to build on this year. They’ll be looking to learn from that and how they can carry this through to next season. Saints have been a bit more up and down but know that a win here is a must. If they stumble then there is a real chance that they could slip to 7th and out of the Champions Cup spots. If that does happen then there is a reprieve as if Quins win the Challenge Cup semifinal that opens up another spot from the league if they have already qualified. That’s not something that Saints will want to rely on and so I see them needing the win more.
Actually on review I think that there is a convoluted set of results that could see Gloucester finish 7th. If Quins also win the Challenge Cup final then they could conceivably make the Champions Cup. So both teams do have something riding on this but I’m still backing the away side.
Northampton Saints by 5
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs
Quins will want to win this game to have their Champions Cup place in the bag before the Challenge Cup final next weekend. However they have lost the last three meetings between these two sides. I have heard Chiefs players say that Quins style of play suits them. Chiefs did slip up against Gloucester a couple of weekends ago but then produced a very good performance to stifle Wasps last weekend. They know that a home semi-final could make all the difference so I’m going with public opinion on this one with an away win.
Exeter Chiefs by 7
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks
Falcons will be happy that they have survived and thoughts will have already turned to how they can do that again next season. They will obviously want to do more than that but there’s been little to suggest that will happen so far. A win over a Sale team that has a real possibility of making the top 6 and a Champions Cup spot would go someway to providing that end of season hope. Sale stumbled last weekend against Gloucester but if results go their way they could finish as high as 5th but 6th is much more likely. With the carrot of Champions Cup rugby dangling there I just think that they will take the victory.
Sale Sharks by 7
Wasps v London Irish
Wasp know that the need the win to try and get that home semi-final. With Irish already down and I’m assuming some players worrying if they have a job next season, this has TBP home win written all over it.
Wasps by 15
Worcester Warriors v Saracens
Warriors have had a great season to finish 9th and safe with several weeks left of the season. For Saracens this game doesn’t matter as they are already going to finish top of the table. With a Champions Cup next weekend and then the Premiership semi-final I’d expect them to use this certainty to rotate some players. Those players will want to prove that they should get to play in these important last games and so will give everything. So this is another one that has TBP written all over it but father away team this time.
Saracens by 15
I did a fun little poll to see which two sides would make 5th and 6th. At time of writing people think it will be Saints and Quins but please do vote if it’s still open when you read this.
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Predicting a rare (this season) away win for Sharks is pretty bold, especially at Falcons where they have a poor record.
Yes true but they have so much to play for and Falcons haven’t. Maybe it’s more me wanting the fairy tale of one of the league’s lower budgets making the Champions Cup…..
Sale have won twice away this season, Newcastle have only won 5 in total.
And Sale won at Newcastle last year too.
Whilst I am not yet opening the champagne to celebrate a Sale victory, Mike’s suggestion that this is a somewhat “bold” selection, I would argue is way off the mark. It’s certainly no more bold than any other.
True but Sale’s away form doesn’t make it a comfortable call. But no less comfortable than plenty of calls this season
That is completely my point.
I am not saying Sale will win, and that it’s not a difficult pick. I am probably one of the most pessimistic Sale fans around. If you only picked one game a week then you wouldn’t have chosen this one, but having to pick a winner from every game means you have to go for some uncertainties. Clearly.
Just that it’s not so unlikely that I would have expected someone to have made a point of accusing you of being particularly “bold”. Even the bookmakers seem to agree with you. (Though we both, I am sure, hope they have got it wrong for the Quins v Exeter game).
There you are. You did overstate Sale’s performance.
Won by 6, not 7.
But you were way out on your own team. Amazing result at Harlequins. Exceptional result. As we have Sky and not BT, I didn’t see it but it must have been quite a performance.
And 5/6 for you again. And I join you in being surprised at the one you got wrong.
Close but no cigar 🙂
Sounds like a great game, will catchup once I’m back from the beach. I need to check the lineups and see who Tigers fielded but Bath do have a good squad it’s just been a poor season for them