Weekend Preview

Weekend Preview

Saracens v Harlequins - Aviva Premiership (Saturday)

The big game of the weekend is at Wembley in front of what looks like being a massive crowd.

Most people are saying this one will be tough to call but I disagree.

Quins made a cracking start to the season but they have been fighting above their weight for me and their recent slump in form has shown that.

Unless they can get the ball and get thier backs involved, I can see Quins really struggling against a Saracens team that plays very little exapnsive rugby but that sticks to its strengths and defends really well.

They have a chance because Wembley is a big pitch but I think Sarries will stifle their attacking intent and win by a clear margin of around 10 points.

Newcastle v Sale - Aviva Premiership (Friday night)

Newcastle need to win games in a hurry if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation and this is a great chance for them to get the ball rolling and win what I think will be a minimum of three wins out of their remaining four games.

They have not been playing too badly under Gary Gold and, at home, they are a different beast. They keep it tight, stick to their set piece and Jimmy Gopperth kicks his goals.

Sale arrive on the back of an absolute hammering at the hands of Saracens last week. The result cost Tony Hanks his job as head coach and some the defending was as bad as I have seen from any side all year.

They will be keen to redress the balance after that performance but whether the leaks in their defence can be rectified in just a few days is open to debate.

It won't be pretty but I think Newcastle will win by a penalty of two.

Stormers v Bulls - Super 15 (Saturday)

This will be a good old fashioned South African derby with some big hits and no quarter given.

It's a huge game for the Bulls at Newlands against an undefeated Stormers side.

It should be a really good game to watch because the Stormers are at home but the Bulls gave the reigning champion Reds a real hiding last weekend 61-8.

It's home advantage winning out for me though in a high-scoring but close affair.

Western Force v Reds (Saturday)

The Reds really need to bounce back in a hurry after last week's drubbing by the Bulls and they have a good chance of doing that despite being away in Perth.

None of the Aussie sides are standing out this season and both the Reds and the Waratahs have been disappointing.

The Force are usually good at home but if the Reds want to be taken seriously as title-holders, these are the the games they simply must win.

Defeat here and they will start to ask some serious questions about themselves.

With that in mind, I think that will drive them to a six-point victory.

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