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Gallagher Premiership

PREVIEW: 2023/24 Gallagher Premiership – Round 13

After a nearly two-month break, Gallagher Premiership action finally resumes this weekend with some crackers in store. Shaun Goosen previews.

Albert Tuisue of Gloucester - Gallagher Premiership

After a nearly two-month break, Gallagher Premiership action finally resumes this weekend with some crackers in store. Shaun Goosen previews.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Rugby fans are spoilt for choice this weekend with Super Rugby, the URC, the Top 14 and the Gallagher Premiership all on the go. On the Premiership front, there are some top-class match-ups with the pick of the bunch being Harelequins’ trip to Saracens and Bath’s home tie against the Sale Sharks. 

Friday 22 March

Leicester 2/15 | Draw 25/1 | Gloucester 5/1 (21:45)

Leicester (-13.5) 17/20 | Gloucester (+13.5) 17/20

Tigers may be sixth, but their mid-season turnaround after an indifferent start to the campaign has been electrifying, with Dan McKellar’s men now just three points off the playoff spots. While their Six Nations internationals may be rested on Friday, their combination of depth and experience in other departments means the Cherry and Whites could struggle at Welford Road.

Gloucester sit ninth and though they may be buoyed by their 23-13 defeat of Tigers in last weekend’s Premiership Rugby Cup final, playing away and in the Premiership proper will be a totally different challenge for them.

Verdict: Gloucester (+13.5) 17/20

Even shorn of their Six Nations stars, Leicester should be able to get over the line against a desperate Gloucester outfit at Welford Road. 

Bristol 13/20 | Draw 18/1 | Northampton Saints 13/10 (21:45)

Bristol (-2.5) 17/20 | Saints (+2.5) 17/20

Despite being just six points off the semi-final places, the Bears don’t look like they’ll see the post-season given their eighth-place ranking. Theirs has been another campaign of frustration and it’s unlikely they’ll have the goods to halt a Saints outfit gaining momentum.

Northampton are seven points clear at the summit and will be feeling very confident of leaving Ashton Gate with a victory ahead of trickier tests to come.

Verdict: Northampton (+2.5) 17/20

Saints on the plus seems as though it could be one of the safer rugby bets you take this weekend. That said, it’s worth noting that there hasn’t been any Premiership rugby played for the better part of two months. 

Saturday 23 March

Exeter 1/50 | Draw 45/1 | Newcastle 12/1 (17:00)

Exeter (-22.5) 17/20 | Newcastle (+22.5) 17/20

Following the departure of a number of club stalwarts Chiefs’ youngsters have risen to the occasion admirably this season and remain well on course to challenge for a semi-final. Occupying fifth just a point off Saracens in fourth, a Falcons side that has lost all 12 of their outings so far doesn’t seem capable of posing a threat at Sandy Park.

Newcastle are a club lacking in proper resources and though theirs has been a campaign to forget, Matt Thompson and Steve Diamond’s youngsters will be all the wiser in 2024/25.

Verdict: Chiefs (-22.5) 17/20

Exeter to clear the handicap against the hapless Falcons here. 

Saracens 2/7 | Draw 22/1 | Harlequins 28/10 (17:05)

Saracens (-8.5) 17/20 | Harlequins (+8.5) 17/20

The clash of the round at the StoneX, fourth-placed Saracens may need to rely heavily on their home support to get the better of a Harlequins team just one point and two places better off. Mark McCall’s serial champions know what it takes to win tournaments, and given the close-knit nature of the Premiership, they should have the gumption to get over the line here.

‘Quins don’t possess the same depth as Sarries and, sans their England internationals, may struggle to match the intensity and tactical intelligence of an Owen Farrell-led side playing at home. They’ll definitely ask the defending champions questions, but ultimately don’t have the good needed.

Verdict: Quins (+8.5) 17/20

Harlequins to stay within a pretty generous handicap here. 

Sunday 31 March

Bath 3/10 | Draw 22/1 | Sale 11/4

Bath (-7.5) 17/20 | Sale (+7.5) 17/20 

Bath continue to build but, after a barnstorming start to the season, have taken their foot off the gas somewhat. Still, they sit third with a place in the knockouts very much on the cards, and if they can meet Sale’s brutal physicality up front, they should be able to do without their top brass and slay the Sharks at The Rec.

It’s difficult to believe Sale were leading the Prem just a few short months ago. A series of disappointing results since then has seen them drop down to seventh and they’ll need a massive push if they still hope to reach the playoffs. Unfortunately for them, Bath should be too good at home on Saturday.

Verdict: Bath (-7.5) 17/20

You’ve got to lean toward Bath on the minus at the Rec, although this one really could go either way. 

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