Gallagher Premiership: Round 12 Preview

Rugby players engage in a scrum

Rugby fans will get their first taste of Gallagher Premiership action when the Round 12 action gets underway on Friday the 4th of January. 

The festive season was certainly kind to reigning champions Saracens who cut rivals Exeter's lead at the top of the standings to just a solitary point. While the title race has heated up, the race for the semi-final berths has reached boiling point with only five points separating the fifth-placed Harlequins and 10th-placed Bristol.

We are in for a cracking half year of English Premiership rugby with the log as tight as it is, and this weekend's games should provide fireworks galore.

Sale Sharks v Saracens
Friday 4 January

AJ Bell Stadium
21:45

To Win (80 Mins)
Sale 22/10
Draw 19/1
Saracens 7/20

The Round 12 action gets underway with a tantalising fixture between the South African-heavy Sale Sharks and reigning champions, Saracens. The men from the North of England head into this one off the back of an impressive 15-30 away victory over Gloucester, that saw Faf de Klerk bag yet another try.

Saracens also fared well last week as they responded well to an early Worcester blitz to run out 25-17 victors at the Allianz.

Verdict: Sale Sharks 22/10
This is a big call and I'm only going to have a small punt on it but I think the hosts may well spring a surprise this Friday evening. 

Leicester v Gloucester
Saturday 5 January
Welford Road

17:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Leicester 7/10
Draw 18/1

Gloucester 12/10

Saturday will get underway with a clash between third-placed Gloucester and the seventh-placed Harlequins. Johan Ackermann's side head into this one off the back of a morale-sapping 15 point defeat to Sale, and the former Gloden Lions mentor will want a big response from his charges this weekend.

The hosts, Leicester, were also beaten last weekend but managed to salvage a losing bonus point from their 23-16 defeat to Bath.

Verdict: Leicester 7/10
This should be a free-flowing game with both sides possessing talented backlines. I just think that Gloucester may struggle to bounce back away from home.

Worcester v Bath
Saturday 5 January
Sixways Stadium

17:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Worcester 29/10
Draw 18/10

Bath 6/10

Worcester will be looking to build on their solid showing during last week's eight-point defeat to Saracens when they take on a Bath side that is slowly but surely becoming a threatening unit.

The visitors managed to extend their unbeaten streak to three games as they beat the Leicester Tigers 23-17 last weekend. This was their second successive domestic victory with their previous being a 14-24 away win over Wasps.

Verdict: Worcester 29/10
The Warriors actually looked rather good for long periods of last weekend's defeat to Saracens, and if they can shore up their defence a bit, they may well be able to ease their relegation woes with a victory over Bath.

Newcastle v Harlequins
Saturday 5 January
Kingston Park
17:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Newcastle 7/10
Draw 18/1

Harlequins 5/4

We return to north-east England for our next fixture which will see cellar-dwellers Newcastle play host to fourth-placed Harlequins. The home side will be desperate for a win here as they will be reluctant to go into next month's Six Nations period rooted to the foot of the table.

The Falcons have come close to bagging wins over the past fortnight as they went down by three points to Gloucester and then by seven points to Bristol.

Harlequins enjoyed a more positive Round 11 then their opponents for this weekend as they registered a 20-13 victory over the struggling London Wasps.

Verdict: Newcastle 7/10
One gets the sense that a win is just around the corner for the men from Newcastle. I reckon that win will come this weekend.

Exeter v Bristol
Saturday 5 January
Sandy Park
17:00


To Win (80 Mins)
Exeter 1/12
Draw 35/1
Bristol 6/1


Saturday's final fixture and the round's penultimate fixture will see a struggling Exeter side take on the attack happy Bristol bears. The hosts head into this one off the back of a 31-28 defeat to Northampton which undid much of the good work they did the previous week where they beat Saracens 31-13.

Bristol were in much better touch during Round 11 as they registered a home bonus point win over Newcastle. The 35-28 victory saw them move six points clear of the foot of the table.

Verdict: Exeter 1/12
The Chiefs will still be smarting from last week's defeat and I can see them bouncing back in style here. My money is on the hosts winning it by 13 points or more.

Wasps v Northampton
Saturday 5 January
Ricoh Arena

17:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Wasps 9/20
Draw 19/1
Northampton 37/10

The curtain will come down on Round 12 at the Ricoh Arena where a beleaguered Wasps outfit will be looking to end their horror run by claiming a victory over the in-form Northampton Saints

The hosts head into this one off the back of yet another defeat as they went down by seven points to Harlequins at Twickenham last week.

Northampton, on the other hand, come into Round 12 off the back of a highly impressive three-point victory over the log-leading Exeter Chiefs.

Verdict: Northampton 37/10
The visitors have form on their side and I can see them adding to Wasps woes here.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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