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Gallagher Premiership

PREVIEW: 2023/24 Gallagher Premiership – Round 9

The Gallagher Premiership returns with a bang, with Sale hosting Saracens and Harlequins traveling to Bath for round nine.

Andre Esterhuizen of Harlequins - Gallagher Premiership
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

The Gallagher Premiership returns with a bang, with Sale hosting Saracens and Harlequins traveling to Bath for round nine.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Friday 22 December

Newcastle 43/20 | Draw 20/1 | Bristol 39/100 (21:45)

Newcastle (+5.5) 17/20 | Bristol (-5.5) 17/20

Falcons’ rotten season didn’t get any better during the European break, picking up two more losses in the Challenge Cup, to Montpellier and the Lions, to go with their winless run in the Premiership. Their clash with Bears on Friday provides them with another shot at getting that elusive victory but the visitors are no easybeats.

Pat Lam’s charges have endured a difficult campaign themselves, occupying eighth in England with just three wins. Given the competitive nature of the Premiership, they’ll need a great improvement from here on out to substantially improve on their position, but they could fall foul of a determined Newcastle lineup come Friday.

Verdict: Newcastle 43/20

It’s tough to predict when exactly Newcastle will break their barren run, but this weekend makes for great odds.

Sale Sharks 68/100 | Draw 18/1 | Saracens 5/4 (21:45)

Sale (-3.5) 17/20 | Saracens (+3.5) 17/20

First tackle fourth here, with leaders Sale coming off a home win and away loss in the Champions Cup. Paul Deacon’s men have looked good this term, picking up six wins on the domestic front but a victory over Saracens here would be a major boost.

The defending champions haven’t been their regular all-conquering selves this season and are yet to properly hit their straps. That said, they could do so at any moment in time given the quality at their disposal and are more than capable of knocking over Sharks in Manchester here.

Verdict: Saracens (+3.5) 17/20

The hosts to pick up a valuable narrow win.

Saturday 23 December

Exeter Chiefs 1/1 | Draw 20/1 | Leicester Tigers 88/100 (17:00)

Chiefs picked up Champions Cup wins in Toulon and at home to Munster to put themselves right in the European picture this season, although their domestic form could use some improvement. Five wins and sitting in sixth is alright given the relative inexperience in Rob Baxter’s squad at the minute, but there’s no doubt Exeter have their eyes locked on a third title.

Tigers earned some impressive Champions Cup wins themselves over the past fortnight, beating the Stormers at Welford Road before a vastly weakened side unexpectedly triumphed in Montpellier. Leicester are in some scary form having won their last five in all comps and will be well up for this one.

Verdict: Chiefs at 1/1

This will be another close call but Exeter at 1/1 at Sandy Park is tough to turn down.

Gloucester 56/100 | Draw 18/1 | Northampton Saints 15/10 (17:00)

Gloucester (-3.5) 17/20 | Saints (+3.5) 17/20

The Cherry and Whites’ two Challenge Cup wins gives them something to build on heading into this weekend’s encounter at the Kingsholm. The hosts are ninth with just two victories in the Premiership but could be buoyed by their recent run of results, particularly their 28-17 takedown of Clermont.

Fifth-placed Saints have been boosted by the performances of Courtney Lawes of late but will definitely head into this one as underdogs despite their recent 22-19 Champions Cup defeat of Toulon.

Verdict: Gloucester (-3.5) 17/20

Gloucester to come good at home.

Bath 39/100 | Draw 20/1 | Harlequins 43/20 (17:05)

Bath (-5.5) 17/20 | Quins (+5.5) 17/20

Second-placed Bath are in for a real test in the form of this ‘Quins outfit, but a win is non-negotiable if they are to remain in the fight for a home semi-final berth. They should get the job done at The Rec but it won’t come easy.

As good as Harlequins were during last week’s Champions Cup matchup with Toulouse at The Stoop, they never came close to toppling the French giants, finally going down 19-47. They’ll get far closer this weekend but should fall short away from home.

Verdict: Harlequins (+5.5) 17/20

Harlequins to get with a converted score.

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