The race for the fourth and final play-off berth is heating up as the 21/22 Gallagher Premiership regular-season approaches its crescendo. Shaun Goosen previews.
Friday 20 May
Bristol 28/10 | Draw 22/1 | Exeter 29/10 (20:45)
Exeter can keep their slim playoff hopes alive with victory over Bristol at Ashton Gate on Friday. After featuring in the last six Premiership finals, Rob Baxter’s charges have a mountain to climb if they are to make it seven. They are six points behind fourth spot and will not only need to pick up wins in their final two games but hope other results go their way. While it’s unlikely they will make the semis, they should see off the Bears here.
The Chiefs should prove too good for a Bristol side whose form has fallen off a cliff this season.
Wasps 61/100 | Draw 22/1 | Sale 14/10 (20:45)
Wasps will be aiming to enter the top eight with a win over Sale on Friday. With the eight top teams in the competition qualifying for next season’s Champions Cup, ninth-placed Wasps will be eager to use their home ground advantage to usurp a Sharks team one point and two places above them on the Gallagher Premiership standings. It’ll be a tight one but Wasps’ recent Challenge Cup semi-final loss to Lyon could spur them on here.
Wasps are tipped to get the job done here in what should be a close-fought encounter out in Coventry.
Saturday 21 May
Bath 13/20 | Draw 21/1 | London Irish 27/20 (16:00)
In their final game of the season, London Irish will look to bounce back from their midweek Premiership Rugby Cup final defeat with a win over Bath at The Rec on Saturday. That extra-time loss will still be fresh in the memory of the Exiles, whose focus will now shift to securing a top-eight finish in the Premiership and thus Champions Cup qualification. Bottom-placed Bath, who are aiming for a top 12 finish to qualify for the Challenge Cup, could be outmuscled here.
The smart money here is on Irish. They’ve been excellent this season and should get one over a woeful Bath outfit.
Harlequins 26/100 | Draw 22/1 | Gloucester 47/20 (16:00)
Harlequins can end Gloucester’s playoff hopes with a big win at The Stoop on Saturday. The Cherry and Whites are fifth and trail fourth-placed Saints by a single point. However, a loss at The Stoop would pretty much put paid to their title ambitions. Quins have all but cemented third and will be keen to pick up some momentum ahead of the playoffs. They should get the job done at home.
Quins have won all but three of their 11 home fixtures this season. They should be too good for Gloucester here who do come into this off the back of a stunning 64-0 win over Bath a few weeks ago.
Newcastle 33/10 | Draw 25/1 | Leicester 24/100 (16:00)
Falcons could feel the brunt of a Leicester side out for revenge at Kingston Park on Saturday. The table-topping Tigers were dumped out of Europe by all-powerful Leinster and will be eager to put in a performance more befitting of their pedigree this weekend. The Falcons are 11th and remain in danger of finishing bottom. They will be up against it here.
Leicester should win this quite comfortably.
Saracens 21/100 | Draw 22/1 | Northampton 36/10 (18:30)
Saracens will be in for a stern challenge with Northampton visiting the StoneX on Saturday. The hosts are second and guaranteed to feature in the play-offs. They will be hurting after their Challenge Cup semi-final loss to Toulon, but they will need to be at their best against fourth-placed Northampton who will be going full throttle here. With more to play for, the Saints could come away with it.
A dangerous Saints outfit are tipped to catch Saracens cold here.