The final round of Premiership Rugby in 2022 throws up some tasty fixtures including Leicester’s trip to Sale and Saracens v Exeter. Darry Worthington previews.
Friday 30 December
Sale 9/20 | Draw 20/1 | Leicester 39/20 (21:45)
Friday evening’s solitary fixture will see the wounded Sale Sharks take on a Leicester Tigers side who are on the hunt for a semi-final berth.
The two sides experienced vastly contrasting results in the previous round with Sale going down 20-14 to Premiership strugglers Newcastle in the Northern Derby, while Leicester impressed as they comfortably beat a dangerous Gloucester side 28-13.
This one should be an absolute cracker of a game with both sides stacked with talent. My money is on the hosts just managing a narrow win. Last week’s defeat should be just the tonic the Sharks need for a big performance against the current Champions.
Saturday 31 December
Saracens 1/3 | Draw 22/1 | Exeter 51/20 (18:00)
Next up we’ve got one for the ages with Premiership heavyweights Saracens and Exeter going toe-to-toe in North London.
The hosts will be looking to bounce back from their first defeat this term ad they went down 29-20 to London Irish over the Christmas weekend.
While Saracens looked as though they had already clocked out for their Christmas holidays, the same cannot be said of Exeter who put in a real workmanlike display to edge an ever-improving Bath outfit 20-15 on Christmas Eve.
Saracens always seem to turn it on at the StoneX against Exeter. Back them to bounce back in style on New Year’s Eve.
Gloucester 1/3 | Draw 22/1 | London Irish 51/20 (18:00)
Our penultimate game of the weekend pits a Gloucester side gunning for a semi-final berth up against a London Irish side who are looking to climb further up the ladder and reignite hopes of a shot at the coveted top four and domestic play-off rugby.
The hosts had a tough time over the Christmas weekend having been comfortably beaten by the Leicester Tigers. While Gloucester did have their moments in the game, there defensive frailties once again cost them as they shipped 28 points.
The Cherry and Whites opponents for this weekend had a far better time of it in the last round as they brought Saracens’ unbeaten run to an end, running out 29-20 victors over the log leaders. Despite the great win, there will still be nerves around the Exile’s camp as they have struggled to string results together this term.
I reckon this game will be full of tries as both sides have rather porous defences. I can see Gloucester coming out on top in a high-scoring affair.
Bath 38/100 | Draw 21/1 | Newcastle 22/10 (18:00)
We bring the New Year’s Eve fixture list to a close over at the Recreation Ground, where two of the season’s real strugglers will be looking to build on some solid recent results.
While they could not get a win last weekend, Bath gave a very good account of themselves against a solid Exeter side going down 20-15 at Sandy Park. It was yet another game in which they gave one of the more stacked sides a real scare as they did the same to Saracens a few months ago.
Newcastle managed more than a losing bonus point as they beat high-flying derby rivals Sale 20-14. The result is a massive confidence boost for this Falcons side who have spent much of the season propping at the ladder.
I reckon this will be a tight-run affair which Bath edge by the narrowest of margins.