We have a shortened fixture list in the Gallagher Premiership this weekend after Gloucester’s clash with Worcester was postponed after the Warriors were placed under administration. Nonetheless, we can look forward to plenty of action over the weekend with Leicester’s trip to Saracens the pick of the bunch!
While the Warriors’ woes leave a dark cloud hanging over the Premiership – a few other clubs are also struggling financially – one cannot argue that the competition has grown into one of the most attractive domestic rugby products.
Friday 30 October
Newcastle 2/1 | Draw 22/1 | Bristol 4/10 (20:45)
We kick things off up north with the winless Falcons taking on the unbeaten Bristol Bears in Newcastle. The hosts are currently rooted to the foot of the table with a sad old points differential of -53. The Bears, on the other hand, are flying high at the top of the Premiership standings.
While the visitors do sit atop the pops, they haven’t been far from an all-conquering force as they edged an admittedly improved Bath side 31-29 on the opening weekend and then beat London Irish 40-36 this past weekend. The highlight of their season thus far was their Round 2 8-23 away win over Wasps.
While Bristol haven’t exactly shot the lights out at the summit of the Premiership, Newcastle have struggled. There would have been some encouragement in losing 31-40 against Harlequins in Round 1, 36-21 to Leicester in Round 2. However, the 39-5 pasting they received at the hands of Worcester – a team in crisis – last week would have set alarm bells ringing for Dave Walder’s men.
While I think Newcastle will put up more of a fight than they did against Worcester last week, I just can’t see them keeping pace with Bristol for the entire 80 minutes. I’ll be on the Bears to clear the (-7.5) handicap at 9/10.
Saturday 1 October
Sale 63/100 | Draw 20/1 | Exeter 27/20
We’ve got a cracker up next with the fourth-placed Sale Sharks playing host to the second-placed Exeter Chiefs.
The hosts have enjoyed a very solid start to the season beating Northampton 29-22 in Week 1 and then impressing again the following week by bagging a 20-37 win over Bath at the Rec.
Exeter have also impressed so far this season after what was a disappointing campaign last time out. They’re three from three with their thrilling 43-42 win an early contender for game of the season.
The Chiefs just seem a bit more gritty this term and with Sale still without a couple of internationals, I can see Exeter sneaking a win here. Back the visitors on the board at 27/20.
Saracens 38/100 | Draw 20/1 | Leicester 22/10 (16:00)
It’s the big one next up with Saracens hosting Leicester in North London. The two sides will meet for the first time since last season’s Premiership final where Leicester just got the better of Saracens thanks to a late Freddie Burns drop-goal.
Both teams have got their 2022/23 seasons off to decent starts with Saracens undefeated in the two games they have played while Leicester have won two and lost one from their first three.
In terms of last weekend’s results, Saracens were involved in an absolute belter of a game as a converted injury-time try saw them beat Gloucester 41-39. Leicester enjoyed a far more comfortable time of it as they cantered to an impressive 41-21 win over Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens.
I reckon Saracens will win this one, but it should be a pretty close-run thing. Back Leicester on the (+6.5) handicap at 9/10.
London Irish 32/100 | Draw 22/1 | Bath 26/10 (16:00)
The other Saturday fixture pits a winless Bath outfit up against the great entertainers of the Premiership, London Irish.
London Irish have been a bundle of fun this season. Every game they’ve been involved in thus far has seen at least 59 points scored in total. They’re only one from three, smashing Worcester on the opening weekend before going down against Northampton and Bristol.
Bath are winless in their opening three fixtures but have shown marked improvement from the early salvos of last season. Still, they’ll need to start picking up points in a hurry if they are to move away from the foot of the table.
You simply have to be on the overs here. In keeping with the Exiles’ performances this season, wait for the live in-play markets to open and get on the over 58.5 points.
Sunday 2 October
Harlequins 1/3 | Draw 22/1 | Northampton 51/20 (16:00)
The final game of the weekend will see the sixth-placed Harlequins take on ninth-placed Northampton.
Both sides have endured sub-par starts to their respective campaigns with ‘Quins winning one of their three fixtures while the Saints are yet to win a game.
Round 3 was not kind to either side with Harlequins suffering a heartbreaking last-minute defeat to the Exeter Chiefs (43-22) while Northampton were thoroughly outclassed by the Leicester Tigers who beat them 21-41.
‘Quins were decent value last weekend and I can see them hitting their straps against this struggling Northampton outfit. Back them to get the job done here.