Rugby World Cup years are always funny beasts for the European domestic leagues. The Gallagher Premiership have tried to reduce the impact as much as possible by starting as late as possible. For example the Top 14 have already had 7 rounds and the Pro 14 3 rounds of games.
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Bristol v Bath – Bristol by 3
Bristol last season were good at home and split their 2 games with Bath. Also I’m expecting them to be looking to get points on the board over the next couple of weeks whilst the Rugby World Cup is still on. For Bath they will be wanting to go one better this season they were so close to the playoffs last time out, finishing on the same points as Northampton in 4th. However they are missing a number of their strike players at the moment.
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins – Exeter Chiefs by 5
Quins were also in that logjam of 4th to 7th that was only split by 2 points! Also with player sliek Care and Robshaw out of favour with England they aren’t as impacted as they have been in years gone by. Exeter though as a machine and perhaps didn’t lose as many player as they were expecting to England. Their props for example weren’t selected where as Quins were. Expect Exeter to stick to their strengths and play a forward orientated game.
Sale Sharks v Gloucester Rugby – Sale Sharks by 5
This should be a cracker! Sale are one of those sides that don’t travel well but at home are a really difficult side to beat. Gloucester on the other hand were clearly the best of the rest last season behind Exeter and Saracens. Can Gloucester maintain that level this season? I think that early on Sale are going to be a difficult prospect but as they have to contest the European Rugby Champions Cup as well then they could struggle.
Saracens v Northampton Saints – Northampton Saints by 3
This one was a hard one to call. In the end it came down to the fact that Saracens have got 8 players away with England compared to only 3 for Saints. Sure they both have players away with other countries too, in particular Reinach and Williams. However you have to feel Saracens are just wanting the Rugby World Cup to finish as soon as possible.
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers – Worcester Warriors by 3
This should be a tight game and Worcester are one of those sides that really needs to get points on the board early. Everybody is going to have them in the relegation group even with some of the signings they have made. Tigers were also down that way last season but can such a big name in English rugby be there again? Unfortunately for them it’s not done on reputation by games and I think this will be an early setback.
Wasps v London Irish – Wasps by 7
As the promoted side Irish are also going to be in everyone’s relegation battle group. The big question is how quickly can they gel their new players into a team and will that be quick enough to get those early points? Those early points are essential being a Rugby World Cup year but I just can’t see it happening in week 1.
Record So Far
This is the first round so 0 from 0 🙂
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