The Gallagher Premiership is almost back! There is a bit of a rush to get the season finished so that the internationals don’t impact it so much and also the next season can get underway.
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This does raise concerns about player welfare and teams that have deeper squads will benefit from the condensed timetable. That enforced rotation and not knowing what form teams will bring out of lockdown really does make picks in this round a bit of a lottery.
Harlequins v Sale Sharks – Sale Sharks by 5
Quins are a team that like their home comforts. 4 of their 5 wins have come at home with London Irish and Worcester Warriors the only teams to win at the Stoop.
Sale on the flip fully deserve their second in the table position with the meanest defence in the league. I’m looking at that defence to have the upper hand on the day.
Bristol v Saracens – Bristol by 3
Bristol were on a run of 5 wins when the league got shut down. Will they have been able to keep any of that momentum during the lockdown??? Also they have only lost once at home all season so you have to go with the home side surely???
The problem is that they are playing Saracens and who knows what shape they are in mentally. Sat last and knowing that their games don’t really mean anything, however having a record that would out them up in second. I am going with the home side but not with a lot of confidence.
Bath Rugby v London Irish – Bath Rugby by 3
This is another tough pick. Irish have a better away record than home record with 3 wins and a draw!
The Rec though is one of the most home friendly grounds in the league and we see that in Bath’s results. So I’m backing the London Irish West as they have been teasingly called in the past.
Exeter Chiefs v Leicester Tigers – Exeter Chiefs by 10
This is a simple pick for me. Exeter are the top team in the league and there’s not reason to think that will have changed in lockdown. There have been off the pitch issues around the clubs branding but I don’t think that will have distracted the players.
Leicester would be worried about relegation if it wasn’t for Saracens salary cap breach. With the worst record in the league this is a very tough game to start with after the break.
Worcester Warriors v Gloucester Rugby – Worcester Warriors by 3
Tenth hosting ninth in the league and for me this will come down to who coped with lockdown best. Gloucester are back into a rebuilding mode with their head coach and DOR departing. I’m backing the more settled Worcester to get the home win.
Northampton Saints v Wasps – Northampton Saints by 3
Forth host fifth in the table and another one that I think will come down to who had the better lockdown. I’m going with the home side but I have no faith in that pick and it’s going to come down to the team in best form.
Record So Far
47 from 78 or 60%, I’ve not been having a great season so let’s see how I do from here on in.