Aviva Premiership: London Wasps v Saracens Preview


English giants, the London Wasps and Saracens, will square off in an epic Aviva Premiership clash on Sunday the 7th of Janaury.

With just one point separating the second-placed Saracens from the third-placed Wasps, at such a crucial stage of the season, Sunday’s blockbuster showdown at the Ricoh Arena has all the makings of a classic. Dai Young’s troops have hit a wonderful run of form, but 'Sarries will offer them their biggest domestic test in quite some time.

London Wasps v Saracens Rugby |  Sunday 7 January | Ricoh Arena | 17:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Wasps 21/20 | Draw 19/1 | Saracens 8/10

London Wasps
At one point in the season, it appeared that Wasps, one of England rugby’s finest football clubs of late, would fail to reach the playoff stage this campaign. After winning their opening two domestic fixtures, the Londoners went on to lose four matches straight; placing them at a crippling disadvantage so early on. Their turnaround since then, however, has been nothing short of remarkable, and that old Wasps attacking spark seems to have been rekindled amongst the players. Kudos to them for coming back so strongly.

This weekend’s clash with Saracens offers them a chance at leapfrogging their opponents into second, and Young and his charges can hardly pass up such an opportunity. After racing out to a 19-point advantage after only 16-minutes, Wasps’ coaching staff would have lamented the manner in which their side let Bath back into the game a week ago, and, if they do manage to get some kind of early ascendancy over 'Sarries, they can ill-afford to let them back in the game so easily. Saracens are a team packed with experienced internationals, and giving them even a sniff of a chance may come back to bite the hosts.

If they can dominate possession and stretch the visitors’ defence with their breakneck speed of play, Wasps’ X-factor players will convert pressure into points.

Much like Wasps, Saracens too experienced a lull in form this season but, again, managed to stop the rot. The European Champions’ seven-game losing streak in all competitions came to a halt against Leicester a fortnight ago, and they followed up that 29-17 win by dispatching Worcester 46-31 last week.

While things may seem to be back on track for Saracens, it must be noted that their latest two results did come against sides currently languishing in ninth and 11th-place respectively, and this weekend will be a much truer indicator of just how far they have come since that wicked spell.

Wasps will again rely on quick ball to unleash their game-breakers, and Saracens will gain the upper hand if they can knock their hosts’ much lighter forwards back in contact. Owen Farrell’s tactical kicking game will again play a huge role in exactly how big a say his team has in the contest; without the majority of possession, his side will struggle to assert themselves.

Verdict: Wasps 21/20
Very tough one to call but, considering the way Wasps are playing their footy at the moment, they should outdo a shaky Saracens outfit. Playing at the Ricoh Arena and with favourable conditions expected, back them to force themselves on 'Sarries.

Written by Shaun Goosen for @Hollywoodbets.net

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