Final Regular Season Weekend Outlook

 

Today at 3pm the regular season of the Aviva Premiership comes to an end with some big games for those trying to seek a final playoff spot and a continued existence in the league.
 
The coincidence that the same four teams involved in this particular battle are playing each other, with the fourth and fifth placed teams both playing against the two teams who face relegation.
 
Fourth placed Northampton Saints (61 points) play at home to bottom placed Leeds Carnegie (22 points) and fifth placed Bath Rugby (57 points) are home for their match against 11th placed Newcastle Falcons (23 points).
 
If Saints win they secure a playoff, with the possibility of a third slot if Sale Sharks can win away and beat Gloucester Rugby (62 points). Sale are playing purely for pride, but as Dan Hipkiss has told LivingRugby the players have contract renewals and transfers to think of too, as well as international honours, they may be in no mood to role over.
 
Should Saints fail the door is open to Bath to gain that fourth slot if they beat Newcastle, ideally with a bonus point to ensure they pass Saints, that assumes Saints haven't lost with a bonus point; Leeds beating Northampton by more than seven at Franklin's Gardens is a big ask.
 
At the very top it is Leicester Tigers against London Irish and Saracens against Harlequins. If Leicester fail to be ruthless and streetwise again, as happened against Gloucester, then there is a chance for Saracens to top the league.
 
All this said expect both Northampton and Bath to beat the bottom of the league teams, leaving Leeds to say farewell to premiership rugby; Leicester, Saracens, Gloucester and Northampton will go on to the semi-finals next week.
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