As we head towards the end of the season the pressure increases on those at the top and bottom of the table. With playoff and Champions Cup places up for grads there are few games that lack meaning so thoughts won’t be turning to summer holidays yet. Here are my round 19 predictions.
First here is a link to my round-up of last weekend’s action.
How did your round 18 predictions go?
5 from 6, so close but no cigar.
Bath v Saracens
Bath won a local derby last weekend to give their fans some respite from a disappointing season. However this weekend they face a rejuvenated Saracens with their international stars back. After their big win over Exeter last weekend the thing that might trip them up is maintaining their level as they have won nothing yet.
Saracens by 7
Exeter Chiefs v Worcester Warriors
Chiefs were brought down to earth last weekend when they were outplayed by Saracens. This weekend they are back home which will help them bounce back. Warriors are no such overs but you have to wonder if they will be able to maintain their focus now that they have effectively avoided relegation. They will lost this weekend either way as Chiefs look to make sure they get a home semifinal. But how they perform will be telling about the squads ambitions.
Exeter Chiefs by 10
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons
Quins have been in free fall having lost seven of their last nine games and falling out the top 4. Whilst a playoff place is probably beyond them they are still in the top 6 for the Champions Cup is still on the cards. Falcons will be looking for any points they can get to try and keep ahead of Irish. Having not won away all season though their thoughts might be on next weekend’s game against Irish. Even with their mind on this game a LBP would be major victory.
Harlequins by 7
London Irish v Sale Sharks
Irish are four points behind Falcons and safety so even though they are facing each other next weekend these points could be all important. They host Sale who are the most Jekyll and Hyde side in the Premiership. At home they are all conquering but away their wins are few and far between. Even with that poor away form Sale should have enough quality to put away an Irish side that has a losing habit.
Sale Sharks by 3
Leicester Tigers v Gloucester Rugby
The wheels have really fallen off for Gloucester recently as they have lost three games on the trot to bottom 4 sides. That has probably lost them a chance of getting into the top 6 and the Champions Cup. This weekend they travel to an inconsistent Tigers. Even with that though Tigers sit in the Top 4 and will be looking to defend that place. I can’t see anything other than a home victory.
Leicester Tigers by 7
Wasps v Northampton Saints
Saints are the side that is leading the challenge to Tigers for that last playoff position. This weekend though they have to travel to Wasps for my tie of the round. Wasps are sitting in third and will be looking to keep the pressure on Chiefs for a home semi final. I’m going with public opinion here, which was very clear, and expect to see a home win. BTW all my picks are made before I do the polls so they aren’t influenced by the voting and it’s interesting when we disagree.
Wasps by 7
My 30 second one line predictions: