With the 6 Nations coming up and international players away it’s time to go back to the LV=Cup. Here are my predictions for round 3.
Incase you need a reminder of where we left this off here is a link to my review of the last games including a brief review of how things stood.
Just a word of warning, these predictions come with a large health warning. The results will be highly influenced by the sides selected to play. Which might sound obvious but many teams will choose to rest players as this is the least important tournament. So some results will come down to how rests the least players.
Harlequins v Bath Rugby
Both these teams are highly affected by international call ups. Quins will be missing their first, second and third choice captains. Bath will be missing their entire first choice midfield. I’m going to go with Bath as they beat Quins at home during the November internationals and Quins second string looked vulnerable when they played Welsh earlier in the season.
Gloucester Rugby v Ospreys
Gloucester will at least have Hook available at 10 but will be missing all the leaders he is used to having around him. Ospreys only have 1 point so far and so are probably already out of this competition. So I expect a very experimental Ospreys side to lose to the home team.
Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints
Both these teams will be missing many of their stars to international duty. With this being a such long-standing rivalry it will still be a hard-fought game. Now that Tigers are out of Europe, this is their best opportunity for silverware and so I think will rest fewer players. Add in home advantage and I’m backing a Tiger’s win.
Scarlets v London Irish
Both these sides only have one point and so this is purely a matter of pride. With Irish still in Europe I think a very experimental side will make the journey to Wales, even if they aren’t affected by the international window so much. Scarlets will also be using the opportunity to give youngsters a taste of senior rugby and home advantage should carry them home.
Wasps v Cardiff Blues
Going into the Sunday games and both these sides are still in with a chance of qualifying even if they need results to go their way. With both through in Europe, I think this is a distraction neither side need. Blues are probably affected more by international call-ups and Wasps have a good home record. Wasps I feel will win this as they are still trying to build up a following and so will play some of their stars.
Dragons v Exeter Chiefs
Both teams are still in this competition and have home European quarter finals to think of later in the season. Exeter will more impact due to losing several players to the Saxons game against Ireland this weekend. So this is one where I’m going with the head and not heart (I’m a Chiefs supporter) and back a home win.
London Welsh v Saracens
Welsh have no points and won’t be progressing, Saracens need the win to keep a head of the chasing a pack. Saracens will be without a bunch of players and will want to rest players after a couple of hard European games. However they are also playing a preseason game against the Bulls on Saturday, should could be stretching their resources thin. Even so Welsh haven’t won a game all season so I’m going for Saracens.
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks
Falcons with only one point are out of this competition and so will be resting a lot of players. Sale need Blues and Saints to trip up to go through and getting top 6 or 4 in the Premiership is much more important. So this could be one of those dead rubbers that could come down to who doesn’t want it the least. Both have bigger fish to fry, I’m flipping a coin and going with Sale as they still could qualify.