Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
London Wasps v Saracens | Aviva Premiership | Sunday 27 December | Ricoh Arena | 16:00
The Aviva Premiership throws up an intriguing game this weekend with the attacking minded London Wasps taking on the team with the best points difference in the tournament, Saracens. Sparks are set to fly when these to lock horns on Sunday afternoon, in what will surely be an incredible exhibition of English rugby.
To Win (80 Mins)
Talk about righting the wrongs of the past. Having been beaten in dramatic fashion by Bath the previous week, Wasps response was emphatic. The London-based club hammered their local rivals 10-36 at the Recreation Ground. The win has seen them move six points clear at the top of Pool Five in the Champions Cup. They will now turn their attention to the battle for domestic dominance. Standing in their way is a team that is yet to lose a game this season.
While Wasps will go into this one as underdogs, they are more than capable of defeating this Saracens juggernaut. They possess one of the most exciting backlines in the league and whilst Frank Halai and Charles Piutau have grabbed all the headlines, centre Elliot Daly's consistent displays have been almost as critical to Wasps solid start to the season. Elliot was in fantastic form again last week: slotting a drop goal and getting his name onto the try scorers sheet. His partnership with Ben Jacobs has truly blossomed and the duo are likely to play a huge role this weekend. Their main task will be to keep Brad Barritt and Marcelo Bosch quite. Not the easiest thing in the world to do but the Wasps centre pairing is more than capable of standing up to their opposite numbers.
Whilst their backs were in impeccable form last week, they couldn't have asked for a better platform to work off. Their pack set a solid foundation, with James Haskell and Joe Lauchanbary doing a lot of the dirty work. The England internationals may have struggled against bath in the first European Champions Cup fixture two weeks ago, ut they more than made up for the under-par showing in the second leg. The two veterans may well be the difference between Wasps winning or losing this one. they put in similar displays to the ones they did last week, then Wasps may well get the upper hand at the breakdown.
Can anyone stop this Saracens side from marching to back to back Aviva Premiership titles? That's a good question if I do say so myself. The Wolf Pack are currently on an incredible run of form that has seen them win all ten of their matches this season. They have been dominant at home as well as abroad. Their unbeaten run has seen them claim some impressive scalps. They've beaten both Toulouse and Ulster in Europe whilst their two big domestic victories came away at Northampton and away at Gloucester.
They were brutal in their dismantling of Oyonnax in the Champions Cup last weekend; beating their opponents 55-13. The French club's playing personnel are likely to throw a fit every time they hear the name, Chris Ashton. The England international grabbed a hat-trick last week and with new England coach, Eddie Jones, likely to be seated in the Ricoh Arena's stands this weekend, you can bet your bottom dollar that Ashton will be looking to impress.
Ashton won't be the only Englishman trying to hawk his wares to the new national coach. Brad Barritt, the Vunipoala brothers, Owen Farell and Maro Itoje will all be looking to stake a claim for a spot in the England Six Nations squad. With national honours on the line, you can expect all the aforementioned players to be " giving it horns" this Sunday.
Verdict: Wasps 31/20
I really am sticking my neck out here, which I really shouldn't do as most of my tips failed to come in last week, but there's something about this Wasps side that makes me think they can upset the applecart. Back Wasps to claim a shock win at 31/20.
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