Aviva Premiership outlook after round 3

Aviva Premiership outlook after round 3

Aviva Premiership standings after round 3

Leicester Tigers

Leicester Tigers: Worcester (H), Bath (A), Newcastle (H) A lovely start for the reigning champions on paper with two fixtures against sides who are likely to be near the bottom of the table - at home. Worcester and Newcastle should be five-pointers for a side jam-packed with Lions – even though the Tigers tend to be slow starters. Tigers lost to Bath at the end of last season and Gary Gold’s team will be desperate to beat their old rivals. But Tigers will be desperate to show fly-half George Ford that he made a big mistake in leaving Welford Road to move to The Rec this summer.

Prediction: 14 points

Saracens

Saracens: London Irish (N), Gloucester (H), Bath (H) Saracens will certainly face to good tests over the opening three weeks with fixtures against Gloucester and Bath sides that will both be pushing for a top six slot. They should comfortably see off an Irish side, who will be finding their feet with lots of new faces, at Twickenham and home advantage will be key against Gloucester and Bath. The Cherry & Whites could run them close but Sarries should have enough, while Bath will need games to get used to what could be a very new-look back line.

Prediction: 13 points

Gloucester Rugby

Gloucester: Sale (H), Saracens (A), Saints (H) A nice start for Nigel Davies’ team as they face bad travellers Sale at home. It gets much tougher then tough and Saracens away is as tough as it gets - may be too much for a Gloucester pack that has lost Jim Hamilton (Montpellier) and Alex Brown (retirement) this summer. The Saints game at home will be key to their start and they should bounce back from defeat at Sarries with home advantage playing a big part.

Prediction: 9 points

Harlequins

Harlequins: Wasps (N), Saints (H), Worcester (A) A really tricky beginning for a Quins side who have made few changes this summer. And that continuity should see them past Wasps at Twickenham in a tighter affair than last season’s epic encounter. Saints at home will be an altogether different story with several of their new signings like Alex Corbisiero and George North wanting to prove their worth. It could be a tight away win. Worcester should be starting to find their straps too under new management by then and could prove a tough cookie – but not quite tough enough.

Prediction: 9 points

Northampton Saints

Northampton: Exeter (H), Harlequins (A), Gloucester (A) There are few tougher starts than this is the whole of the Premiership. Exeter at home is better than Exeter away and should see a winning start. But the next two fixtures are hard to call. Saints have to win at places like Harlequins if they are to chase a home semi-final they crave so much and they may just nick this one. Gloucester away may be too much for them as well but if they can snare one of these two matches, they should be reasonably satisfied.

Prediction: 9 points

Exeter Chiefs

Exeter Chiefs: Saints (A), Wasps (H), Irish (A) The Chiefs may catch Northampton cold on opening day but it’s unlikely against a side that traditionally starts well. Wasps at home should be a four-pointer against a new side that struggled to travel well last year. Irish at the Madejski will be close but the Chiefs could well nick it against a side still in transition.

Prediction: 8 points

Sale Sharks

Sale: Gloucester (A), Newcastle (H), Wasps (H) One of the toughest starts in the book should see Sale off to a losing start but their next two games are both winnable. The Sharks simply have to make home advantage count this season to avoid a repeat of last year’s touch with death. The games against the likes of Newcastle are ones they just have to win while the one against a Wasps side who travelled poorly last season is too hard to call.

Prediction: 6 points

Bath Rugby

Bath: Newcastle (A), Leicester (H), Saracens (A) The opening day fixture at Newcastle will be a real test of Bath’s mettle and an early indication of whether they will be contenders or also-rans this year.  Bath to nick a tight, low-scoring dog-fight at Kingston Park but could come a cropper to the champions at home the following week as Leicester will be desperate to avenge last season’s defeat at The Rec. Saracens away could be too much for them as well at this stage of the season.

Prediction: 6 points

London Wasps

Wasps: Harlequins (N), Exeter (A), Sale (A) I really tough start for Dai Young’s side who will be trying to make a smooth transition to a whole host of new players. Quins should be too early in that transition at Twickenham first up and going to Exeter is usually no fun for any traveling side. And that makes the Round Three trip to Salford a massive game for Wasps. Lose it and they could be 0-3 but a win there would put them back on track with home games to come.

Prediction: 5 points

London Irish

London Irish: Saracens (N), Worcester (A), Exeter (H) It will be a tough ask for an Exiles side with a huge turnover of staff this summer to get it right from the off. But, if they do, the fixture list has handed them an opportunity to get points on the board early on. While Saracens should be too strong for them at Twickenham on opening day, Worcester will be finding their feet under new management and will be an unknown quantity. Then they face Exeter in their first appearance in front of their own fans, which will be a tough call.

Prediction: 5 points

Worcester Warriors

Worcester: Leicester (A), London Irish (H), Harlequins (H) A really tough start for Dean Ryan and his new management team, at Worcester. Leicester at Welford Road is the ultimate test and Quins in week three will be another top four side they have to meet while finding their feet. It makes the week two game at home to London Irish a big one and one they are likely to have to win to avoid a fruitless start to the season.

Prediction: 4 points

Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle: Bath (H), Sale (A), Leicester (A) It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Dean Richards’ promoted team could sneak two wins from their opening three fixtures on their return to the Premiership. Leicester away in week three is too much to ask but Bath can be flaky on their travels and have a completely new back-line. While Sale are completely unpredictable. Both will be huge asks for a promoted side on a small budget.

Prediction: 2 points

Aviva Premiership - Predicted standings after 3 rounds

Place Club Points
1 Leicester Tigers 14
2 Saracens 13
3= Gloucester 9
3= Harlequins 9
3= Northampton Saints 9
6 Exeter Chiefs 8
7= Sale Sharks 6
7= Bath Rugby 6
9= London Wasps 5
9= London Irish 5
11 Worcester Warriors 4
12 Newcastle Falcons 2

 

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