Five things will happen this season

The new scrum laws will cause a right rumpus in the early weeks of the season

New scrum laws will take time to bed in

The IRB and Brian Moore love them, the Premiership’s directors of rugby hate them.  And as for the players, they can’t really say what they think because they will be accused of moaning if they hate them too. The refs are hoping they will like them because the plans is to stop naughty front-rowers collapsing the scrum all the time and making them give penalties all afternoon – but there are bound to be teething problems. And the fans? Well, we’ll find that out once they have all worked out what is supposed to be going on after yet another summer of changed laws. The media love it because the rumpus creates great copy. Will it settle down? Will coaches be happy? Will the new laws ruin the game as we know it? Who knows?

Other clubs will look at having artificial pitches

Saracens have been very gutsy and led the way on this one with the purpose-built 4G pitch at Allianz Park. And the move has proved to be so successful that  lots of other clubs are preparing to follow suit. The plastic pitch has come a long way since Luton Town FC’s and there have been few dissenting voices since Sarries’ new surface opened for business. And the key word there is business. What club would not be interested in a surface they could use seven days a week and still not ruin the pitch for the first team. Cardiff Blues have already got one. Expect at least one other club from the Rabo or the Premiership to begin plans to make their pitch look the same.

Leicester Tigers will make the Aviva Premiership final

It’s the law isn’t it? Leicester Tigers have to get there. England’s most consistent club is heading for a 10th consecutive English league final this season. How on Earth they manage to do it year in, year out, is anyone’s guess and you have to doff your hat to them – begrudgingly or not. Once again, you would stick money on them being there with some new signings bolstering a wonderfully strong squad and making it look even better on paper than last year. Buggers.

Leicester Tigers started their title defence with a bonus point win over Worcester Warriors, Niki Goneva scoring the bonus point try.

European rugby’s powerbrokers will continue to spout vitriol against each other

The fall-out from the break-up of the Heineken Cup will go on and on and on. Each country’s representatives will explain in great detail why it was the fault of the other country’s representatives we are in this mess. ERC’s shareholders failed to agree a thing during a whole year of supposed debating so there is clearly little love lost now it has all broken down into acrimony. As new leagues and sponsors are announced and set-up, digs at the ‘other lot’ will be de riguer. It will keep the papers full. But it will be an unedifying finish to a wonderful competition.

BT Sport will bring new life into the way rugby is televised

Not only is it great news that some of this season’s Premiership rugby games will be shown on free-to-air TV to bring in a wider audience for the product, it is also heart-warming to see BT make such a good effort of its coverage so far. Their game-day show has all the hallmarks of ESPN’s because it is produced by the same excellent bunch at Sunset & Vine. And the two-hour long magazine program in midweek puts Sky’s tired format of The Rugby Club to shame. BT has a superb blend of commentators and pundits and are making every effort to inform long-standing fans and attract new ones.

See for yourself:  BT Sport coverage of Harlequins and Northampton Saints is being offered FREE on BT TV, Sky, Virgin and Freeview from 19:00-22:00 (BST) this Friday. Those switching to BT Broadband you will not only get free BT Sport but until 16th September upto £100 Sainsburys card to spend (depending on package).


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