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Gallagher Premiership

PREVIEW: Bears/ Quins and Gloucester/ Tigers the Premiership standouts this weekend

With just seven-points separating third from eighth on the Gallagher Premiership standings, there’s plenty to play for as the season continues to draw to a head.

Steve Haag Sports

With just seven-points separating third from eighth on the Gallagher Premiership standings, there’s plenty to play for as the season continues to draw to a head.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Friday 10 March

Northampton Saints 32/100 | Draw 22/1 | Bath 26/10

Handicap
Saints (-7.5) 17/20 | Bath (+7.5) 17/20

Northampton are in crisis mode after being on the end of an embarrassing 62-8 capitulation at Ashton Gate a week ago. After a result like that, anything less than a home win over bottom-placed Bath here would be regarded as yet another massive step back for fourth-placed Saints, whose playoff hopes are now seriously on the line.

Bath are winless this year, having last tasted victory against Falcons on New Year’s Eve. If they front up physically early on, they could capitalise on Northampton’s low confidence and steal a win at Franklin’s Gardens, though that remains unlikely.

Saints by 10 or more.

Saturday 11 March

Exeter Chiefs 17/100 | Draw 25/1 | Newcastle Falcons 42/10

Handicap
Chiefs (-11.5) 17/20 | Falcons (+11.5) 17/20

Exeter copped a massive loss themselves in the previous round, going down 5-40 at The Stoop in a game Rob Baxter’s charges will be eager to put behind them as quickly as possible. Their semi-final ambitions have definitely taken a knock, but they’re still just five-points off the top four in eighth-place and can get back on track by dispatching of Newcastle.

Sitting 11-points off the top eight, 10th-placed Falcons are all but out of the running for Champions Cup footy next season, with their primary focus being avoiding ending up last. As things stand, they’re one-point off the bottom but could find themselves there after this weekend.

Get on a resurgent Exeter to clear the ‘cap here.

Sunday 12 March

Gloucester 74/100 | Draw 25/1 | Leicester Tigers 23/20

Handicap
Gloucester (-2.5) 17/20 | Tigers (+2.5) 17/20

The Cherry and Whites head into this clash with the defending champs after a bye. They’re seventh, just four-points off the semi-final places, and a win over a red-hot Leicester outfit will provide them with a massive boost.

Leicester though seem to be peaking at the right time. Handre Pollard is tearing it up for them at the moment, leading them to three wins on the bounce, and they’re unlikely to be stopped on Sunday given their devastating form.

Tigers at 23/20 are great odds.

London Irish 71/100 | Draw 21/1 | Sale Sharks 12/10

Handicap
Irish (-2.5) 17/20 | Sale (+2.5) 17/20

The Exiles have climbed up to fifth after winning three of their last four in the Prem. Just two-points off the semi spots, the hosts will greatly advance their pursuit of knockout rugby by putting one over the second-placed Sale here.

Sale were fantastic in their come-from-behind win over Saracens last week and will be quietly eyeing top spot with the log-leaders now just six-points better off. 

Sale at 12/10.

Bristol Bears 42/100 | Draw 20/1 | Harlequins 2/1

Handicap
Bears (-5.5) 17/20 | Quins (+5.5) 17/20

Bears delivered a massive statement of intent in their demolition job of Saints last week and will be eager to use that wave of momentum to seal an unlikely spot in the semi-finals. They’re now four from their last four and sit ninth but, just seven-points off the top four, anything could happen if they maintain their top form.

Quins won’t have the brilliance of Marcus Smith to rely on this weekend after the 24-year-old re-joined the England setup this week. He was instrumental in the big win over Chiefs a week ago, and the club are always poorer for his absence. They’ll run the hosts close here but ultimately won’t have enough.

Quins (+5.5) 17/20.

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