It is the final weekend of the Aviva Premiership’s regular season and there is still plenty to play for, for most of the 12 clubs.
Wasps v Newcastle – The game with the biggest implications of the weekend. One of these two teams will be relegated and, in my opinion, it’s going to be Newcastle. They need to win by a truck load to avoid the drop and they are not a side that scores many tries. I also think Wasps are the better side whose season has been decimated by injuries. No dramatic escape here. Wasps by 7 points.
Sale v Harlequins – This could be a cracker too. The hosts will want to bid an emotional farewell to Edgeley Park before their move to Salford next season, while Quins know that only a win can guarantee the home semi-final they looked like achieving all year. Sale have had a good finish to the season and tightened up their leaky defence but Quins have shown their mettle recently and proved they are genuine contenders. Sale will be winning at half-time but Quins will win at full-time and by 5 points.
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs – This will be an interesting game because Sarries will have to play a lot better than they have been in recent weeks to beat a Chiefs side desperate for a win. The champions also know that they will have to play a lot better and with more adventure in the coming weeks if they are to beat a Quins, Saints or Tigers in the play-offs. Because they normally do well withy their backs to the walls, I’ll give it to Sarries by 3 points in a low-scoring affair.
Leicester v Bath – Bath will need five points from this one to have any hope of Heineken Cup rugby next season. Leicester need a win to guarantee home advantage in the play-offs. Bath have been patchy all season, while Leicester are on a real roll. I can only see one result. Tigers by 17.
Northampton v Worcester – Northampton are desperate for the points to stay in the top four, while I wouldn’t blame the Worcester boys if they have been drunk for the past two weeks. They have nothing to play for and it’s hard going away from home in that situation. Saints at a canter and by 25 points.
London Irish v Gloucester – The only dead rubber of the day. Two sides who have underachieved and few people will care about the result of this one. For the record, Irish by 6 points.
All games kick off at 2pm Saturday.
In the Super 15s, the game of the round sees two Aussie sides meeting when the Brumbies host the Waratahs in Canberra. The ‘Tahs have to win this to prove they are contenders this season and that desperation will see them home by 4 points.