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PREVIEW: Gallagher Premiership returns after Autumn Nations Series

The Gallagher Premiership is back this weekend following the Autumn Nations Series. Shaun Goosen previews all six fixtures.

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

The Gallagher Premiership is back this weekend following the Autumn Nations Series. Shaun Goosen previews all six fixtures.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Friday 26 November

Wasps 53/100 | Draw 25/1 | Gloucester 33/20 (21h45)

Handicap
Wasps (-4.5) 17/20 | Gloucester (+4.5) 17/20

Wasps host Gloucester at the Coventry Building Society Arena on Friday looking to chip away at the space between themselves and the playoff places.

Lee Blackett’s charges are 10th with just three wins from their seven matches so far. Such is the competitiveness of the Premiership, they’re still just five points off a knockout berth despite their low ranking and will look to Friday’s game to continue gnawing away at the trend-setters.

The Cherry and Whites are sixth, two points shy of the top four. An away win here would do their campaign a world of good, but it won’t come easy. I’m on the Wasps should pick up a home win on Friday at 53/100.

Newcastle 2/11 | Draw 25/1 | Worcester 42/10 (21:45)

Handicap
Newcaslte (-9.5) 17/20 | Worcester (+9.5) 17/20

Newcastle tackle Worcester at Kingston Park on Friday with an eye on maintaining the midtable pace.

The Falcons are four from seven and occupy seventh and will be eager to keep picking up as many wins as possible ahead off the new year. Recent wins over Exeter and Wasps were blighted somewhat by last week’s 20-25 Premiership Rugby Cup loss at Sale. Putting some consistency into their game will be paramount for them.

The Warriors are two from eight but claimed a mammoth 68-13 win over Bristol in the Cup last week which may galvanise them here. Back the Warriors to steal an away win in Newcastle. Just a small play here

Bristol Bears 34/100 | Draw 22/1 | Northampton Saints 49/20 (21:45)

Handicap
Bristol (-6.5) 17/20 | Saints (+6.5) 17/20

The Bears will look to bounce back from their heavy defeat in Worcester when they welcome the Saints to Ashton Gate on Friday.

Bristol were thumped 68-13 in round two of the Premiership Rugby Cup last week but will seek improvement with their internationals returning for this one. They’re having something of a season to forget to so far, sitting in 11th, but victory over a good Northampton side will serve as a confidence booster.

The visitors are on a four-match losing run in all competitions and desperately need to hit back. They remain in a good position on the Prem standings (fifth) and will target a return to form here. Bristol have been poor so far and a desperate Northampton outfit should have their number.

Bath 37/10 | Draw 25/1 | Exeter Chiefs 1/5 (21:45)

Handicap
Bath (+9.5) 17/20 | Exeter (-9.5) 17/20

Winless Bath have a big task on their hands of they are to pull one over Exeter at the Rec on Friday.

Stuart Hooper’s side have endured a nightmare of a season having lost all seven times in the Premiership and even going down to Gloucester  71-10 in the Premiership Rugby Cup two weeks ago. Theirs is a team in crisis and it ain’t looking any easier with the Chiefs visiting the Rec this weekend.

Exeter haven’t exactly shot the lights out themselves this season but do sit fourth, albeit locked on 20-points with fifth-placed Saints and trailing third-placed Quins by seven. With a tough run of fixtures up ahead that includes Saracens and Montpellier in successive weeks, you’d think they’ll get a positive result here.

The Chiefs’ organisation should get them a win over this Bath outfit, but the hosts could stay within the handicap with a big showing. Tentative play on the plus here. 

Saturday 27 November

Harlequins | 2/11 | Draw 25/1 |  London Irish 4/1 (17:00)

Harlequins host London Irish at the Stoop on Saturday hoping to keep up the heat in the top four.

The defending champions are third, level on points with second-placed Saracens but trail leaders the Tigers by 10-points. Despite that gap, there is still plenty of time for Quins to put pressure on Leicester and the only way to do that is to keep picking up the Ws.

Despite winning just one game so far this season, the Exiles are ninth after incredibly drawing three matches so far. They’ll always be up for a tussle but if Quins match them at the collisions, it could be a long day for them. Harlequins should have no trouble picking up a home win here.

Sunday 28 February

Saracens 1/6 | Draw 28/1 | Sale Sharks 44/10 (17:00)

Second-placed Saracens welcome an under fire Sale team to StoneX Stadium in Sunday’s only Prem matchup.

Sarries have five wins, one loss and a draw to show for their efforts so far since returning to England’s top-flight. Their experienced campaigners have proven they are far from finished at this level and you can bet on Mark McCall’s bunch having a big say this season.

Sale meanwhile have been far from the side they were last season. Sitting in eighth with just three wins and a draw isn’t good enough for a squad with such talent, but it isn’t all doom and gloom following the news that George Ford has signed on for their next campaign. Coming off the international break, the Sharks could score an upset win here. Small play on Sale. 

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