Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Gallagher Premiership: Round 15 Preview

Gallagher Premiership: Round 15 Preview

Darry Worthington previews the six Round 15 Gallagher Premiership games which are being played between Friday the 21st of August and Sunday the 23rd.

Image copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone
Well, my tipping last week was almost as bad as Rob du Preez' performance for Sale with only two of my tips landing. While there were some close calls, it wasn't a great showing from yours truly. Like Du Preez' title-chasing Sale Sharks, I'll be aiming to bounce back over the coming days. And there's a great opportunity for both the Manchester club and me to do just this as on top of the weekend action, there's also midweek games taking place next week.

We'll take a look at this weekend's six games, below, while the preview for the midweek action will come out next Monday.

Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs
Friday 21 August 
AJ Bell Stadium
19:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Sale 31/20
Draw 20/1
Chiefs 11/20

Handicap
Sale (+3.5) 17/20
Chiefs (-3.5) 27/20

As noted in the introduction, the Sale Sharks will be looking to atone for their dismal display against 'Quins last week when they take on the log-leading Exeter Chiefs. The Sharks had an absolute 'mare last Friday evening with poor discipline and a shocking performance from South African pivot, Rob du Preez, seeing them go down 16-10.

Exeter fared far better as they got their season back underway with a clinical 26-13 victory over the Leicester Tigers. The result has seen the Chiefs go eight points clear at the top of the standings and a win here would all go a long way to securing them top spot on the log and a home final, should they get through the semis.

Verdict: Sale (+3.5) 17/20
 I'm expecting a big showing from Sale here. They know they were poor last week and coach Steve Diamond will have been in his players' ears.

Wasps v Worcester Warriors
Friday 21 August
Ricoh Arena
20:45

To Win (80 Mins)
Wasps 1/16
Draw 33/1
Warriors 15/2

Handicap
Wasps (-16.5) 17/20
Warriors (+16.5) 17/20

Wasps will be looking to build on their solid showing against the Northampton Saints when they take on a Worcester Warriors side that were convincingly beaten by Gloucester last Saturday.

The hosts were in immaculate touch last during their 21-34 victory over the Saints with their backline firing. They scored some lovely tries and looked like the Wasps team of old with their adventurous rugby an absolute joy to watch.

While Wasps were making short work of the Saints, Worcester were struggling against a sans-Johan Ackermann Gloucester. The Warriors actually looked rather good for the first ten minutes of the game and held the lead up until former Auckland Blues man Melani Nani was shown a red for a dangerous tackle. It was always going to be an uphill battle for Worcester from there on in, and so it proved as they ended up going down 15-44.

Verdict: Wasps (-16.5) 17/20
This should be a highly entertaining game with both teams possessing solid backlines. My money is on Wasps clearing the cap in a very high-scoring fixture.

Gloucester v Bristol Bears
Friday 21 August
Kingsholm Stadium
20:45

To Win (80 Mins)
Gloucester 23/20
Draw 20/1
Bristol 15/20

Handicap
Gloucester (+2.5) 17/20
Bristol (-2.5) 17/20

Friday's final fixture should also be an absolute cracker with two sides who'll be high on confidence after winning their Round 14 games squaring off at the Kingsholm. 

The post-Johan Ackermann era got off to a flying start for Gloucester as they took full advantage of the Worcester Warriors losing a player early on in the piece to claim a 15-44 bonus-point win. While here's no doubting Gloucester were a class act for the better part of the fixture, there will be some worries for fans of the 'Cherry and Whites' as they didn't look near as threatening while Worcester had 15 men on the field. 

Bristols victory was by a much lower margin but was slightly more impressive as they ground out a 16-12 victory over reigning champions Saracens. While it was a great win for the Bears, the actual game was a rather dour affair that saw their new star man, Semi Radradra hardly get a touch of the ball. Hopefully, the flying Fijian is more involved this weekend. 

Verdict:  Bristol 15/20
I wasn't that impressed with Gloucester during the opening few minutes of their win over Worcester and I think last weekend's scoreline really flatters them. I think they are really going to struggle against a talented and gritty Bristol outfit.

Saracens v Harlequins
Saturday 22 August
Allianz Park

To Win (80 Mins)
Saracens
Draw
Harlequins

*Odds to be added on relase

Handicap
Saracens
Harlequins

*Handicap to be added on release

Saracens will be looking to bounce back from their last-minute defeat to the Bristol Bears when they take on a Harlequins side that upset the applecart by beating the much-fancied Sales Sharks 16-10 last Friday.

Saracens held a 9-12 lead against the Bears going into the final throws of the game but a late scrum penalty would see them go down 16-10. 'Quins, on the other hand, took full advantage of Sale's poor discipline to register their victory. 

Verdict: Saracens (-)
'Quins were rather lucky last week as Sale virtually handed the game to them on a platter. I expect they'll be in for a much harder time of it this Saturday.  

Jockeys Ride HorsesLondon Irish v Northampton Saints
Saturday 22 August
Twickenham Stoop
15:00

To Win (80 Mins)
London Irish 14/10
Draw 18/1
Northampton 6/10 

Handicap
London Irish
Northampton

*Handicap to be added on release

Next up we have two sides who will be desperate to bounce back from defeats with London Irish playing host to the Northampton Saints.

Irish put in a rather uninspiring performance last weekend as they were hammered 34-17 by Bath. They looked extremely ring rusty when it came to the defensive side of their game and they will need to improve their rolling maul defence if they are to avoid conceding more soft tries. 

Northampton were extremely disappointing last weekend as they went down 21-34 to a good but not spectacular Wasps side. Like London Irish, Northampton will have to up their defensive side of the game. 

Verdict: London Irish 14/10
With both teams struggling defensively a fair amount of points could be score here. My money is on the hosts coming out on top in a high scoring thriller.  

Leicester Tigers v Bath
Sunday 23 August
Welford Road Stadium
17:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Leicester 17/20
Draw 16/1
Bath 1/1

Handicap
Leicester
Bath

*Handicap to be added on release

The Round 15 action will come to a close at Welford Road where Leicester will look to bounce back from their defeat to Exeter by getting one over a Bath side that impressed in Round 14. 

Leicester, despite going down by 13 points, actually put in a rather handy display against the log-leading Exeter Chiefs. While they only managed to score 13 points, they did have promising moments on attack.

Bath were clinical as can be last week as they took a decent London Irish side to task with their strong driving maul be the catalyst for a big 34-17 victory. They will likely look to their driving maul again this coming weekend/ 

Verdict: Northampton 1/1
I'm going to take a little risk here and back the away side for a small amount of cash. 


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