Gallagher Premiership: Round 19 Preview

Rugby players engage in a scrum

Darry Worthington takes a look at what should be a cracking weekend of Gallagher Premiership action.

With just three rounds of the regular season remaining the race for semi-final qualification and to avoid the drop is well and truly on in England. The Exeter Chiefs have already booked a home semi-final, whilst a win for Saracens this weekend would all but assure the North Londoners the second home semi-final berth.

Newcastle v Leicester
Friday 12 April
Kingston Park
20:45

To Win (80 Mins)
Newcastle 5/10
Draw 18/1
Leicester 17/10

We kick things off on Friday evening with a clash between the last-placed Newcastle Falcons and 10th-placed Leicester. Only three points separate these two sides on the standings, and this game may well have a massive impact on who finishes the season at the foot of the log and goes down to the second tier.

Leicester have been struggling for results of late and come into this one off a three-game losing streak with their last defeat coming at last weekend when they were smashed 20-52 by the Exeter Chiefs. And while Newcastle have won three of their last four, the side from the North of England also heads into this one off the back of a loss as they went down 26-12 to Saracens.

Verdict: Newcastle 5/10
The Falcons are a decent side on home soil and I can see them bagging a much-needed win here. 
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Harlequins v Northampton
Saturday 13 April
Twickenham Stoop
16:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Harlequins 9/20
Draw 18/1
Northampton 19/10

We move to the other end of the table for our next fixture with fourth-placed Harlequins taking on seventh-placed Northampton. The two sides are separated by seven points on the standings and a win for the hosts here would put them in a commanding position to claim the last semi-final berth headed into the final three weeks of the regular season.

Both teams head into this one off the back of defeats with Northampton going down 31-40 to Gloucester last weekend and Harlequins losing 28-17 to Sale. The defeat to Sale was Harlequins third on the trot and they will need to arrest this lean run soon if they are to stay in the Top 4.

Verdict: Northampton 19/10
I think we may well be in for a shock here. 'Quins have dropped off the boil in recent weeks and are look a bit at sea while on the field. 
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Gloucester v Bath
Saturday 13 April
Kingsholm Stadium
16:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Gloucester 7/20
Draw 20/1
Bath 43/20

Gloucester will be looking to solidify there spot in the semi-final places when they take on a Bath side that is still in with a shout of claiming fourth place.

The hosts have been in great touch over the past month-and-a-half winning four of their last five fixtures, and head into the back of Saturday's clash off the back of a nine-point victory over Northampton.

Bath have been a bit hit and miss over the same time period losing three of their last five. The do head into this one off the back of a 26-19 victory over Bristol, however.

Verdict: Gloucester 7/20
The Cherry and Whites are in solid nick at the minute and you'd be a fool to bet against them. My money is on the hosts taking it by 10 points or more.
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Worcester Warriors v Sale
Saturday 13 April
Sixways Stadium
16:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Worcester 17/20
Draw  16/1
Sale 21/20

The Worcester Warriors will be looking to pull away from the relegation place when they take on a Sale Sharks side that are pushing for a spot in the semi-finals.

The hosts have lost three of their last four fixtures with their most recent defeat being last weekend's 28-16 loss to Wasps. Sale, on the other hand, have won two of their last four and head into this one off the back of a 28-17 victory over Harlequins.

Verdict: Sale 21/20
The Sharks have some of the most in-form players in the Premiership at the moment. I can see the likes of Faf de Klerk guiding them to a vital victory here.
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Bristol v Saracens
Saturday 13 April
Ashton Gate
18:30


To Win (80 Mins)
Bristol 28/10
Draw 18/1
Saracens 3/10


The penultimate game of the weekend will see Bristol take on Saracens in a crucial affair for both sides. The hosts are looking to push their survival agenda while the visitors are looking to claim a home semi-final berth.

Bristol have endured a disappointing two weeks losing to both Worcester and Bath by less than eight points. They have managed to pick up to losing bonus points from these encounters, which may be vital to them come the end of the season.

Saracens have enjoyed a far more fruitful fortnight registering victories over both Harlequins and Newcastle.

Verdict: Saracens 3/10
I wouldn't be surprised if Bristol stay within a losing bonus point here but I simply cannot see them beating a Saracens side that will be on a mission.
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Exeter v Wasps
Sunday 14 April

Sandy Park
16:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Exeter 1/8
Draw 22/1

Wasps 52/10

Exeter will be looking to further their chances of claiming top spot on the log and a guaranteed home final - should they win their semi-final - when they take on a Wasps side that is still in with a slim shot of making the semi-finals.

The Chiefs have been in magnificent form this term and have suffered just three defeats from their 18 games, with their last victory being last weekend's 20-52 way drubbing of the Leicester Tigers.

Conversely, Wasps have only won eight of their 18 games. They do, however, head into this one off the back of a morale-boosting 28-16 victory over the Worcester Warriors.

Verdict: Exeter 1/8
There's not much value on the Exeter straight win here but it should be added to all multiples as it is an absolute banker.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets.

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