After gallivanting round Europe and having a little cup competition with the Welsh we are back to the real business of the Aviva Premiership. Here are my round 7 predictions.
Frist up here is a link to the round 6 review so you can remind yourself where we left off.
Before we get into the games here is the table as it stands:
Team Points 1 Northampton Saints 25 2 Saracens 22 3 Exeter Chiefs 20 4 Bath 20 5 Wasps 15 6 Gloucester Rugby 15 7 Harlequins 14 8 Leicester Tigers 14 9 London Irish 12 10 Sale Sharks 11 11 Newcastle Falcons 9 12 London Welsh 1
So tight at the top, with maybe a slight gap to a very congested mid/lower table with Welsh hanging off the bottom. Quins and Tigers in the unfamiliar territory of the bottom half of the table. A real whiff of change in the air with the possibility of one or more different teams in the playoffs for the first time in a few years. So onto the games themselves.
Gloucester Rugby v Harlequins
Gloucester will have potentially lost their 8, 9, 10, and 12 to England, Scotland, Wales and England respectively. To lose your whole decision-making group from a team that is still settling in new players and coaching style I think will be too much. Equally Quins have lost players to the international games including their scrum half and captain. The difference is this has been gong on for a few years now for Quins so they shouldn’t be as affected.
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs
Chiefs players are getting more international recognition but Saints will be more impacted by international call ups. Saints again though are a team that has had to deal with it for several years now. Going to Franklin Gardens is always a tough ask and even with the missing players I think that champions will have too much for the Chiefs.
Northampton Saints win
Sale Sharks v London Irish
Sharks have had a poor start to the season and even though there have been better performances over the last couple of weeks, they haven’t kept it going for a whole game. Irish had a tough start to the season and so weren’t getting the results their performances warranted. If Sharks put in an eighty minutes performance they should win at home but they haven’t been doing that so I’m going with an Irish win.
London Irish win
Bath v Newcastle Falcons
Falcons have had a good couple of wins that pulled them clear of Welsh at the bottom of the table. But they are still going to have to work hard for results and will lose more than they win as they develop. Travelling to Bath has been really difficult this season and even though they have lost their entire first choice midfield to England, should have enough to down the Falcons.
Leicester Tigers v Saracens
Both these teams are used to losing key players during the international windows. However when injuries happen at the sometime there isn’t room in the salary cap to cover everything. Tigers are seeing some of their players returning but they are still down on key players. Due to this I see the Londoners getting an important away win.
Wasps v London Welsh
Wasps are another team that have been impressive at home but also had a hard schedule, so didn’t get the results their performances deserved. Welsh are still searching for that first win and I can’t see it coming this weekend. They were harder to beat last weekend and that’s the main thing we need to see being carried forward into this game.