Aviva Premiership Round 4 Preview and Now Rugby predictions
Friday 21 September
- Sale Sharks v London Welsh (Salford City Stadium, 8pm)
Saturday 22 September
- London Irish v Bath Rugby (Madejski Stadium, 3pm)
- Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors (Franklin’s Gardens, 3pm)
- Gloucester Rugby v London Wasps (Kingsholm, 3.15 pm)
- Leicester Tigers v Harlequins (Welford Road, 5.30pm)
- Exeter Chiefs v Saracens (Sandy Park, 2.15pm)
Referee: Greg Garner (38 Premiership games).
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton, Alan Hughes
Sale Sharks have slipped to four straight defeats in Aviva Premiership Rugby, but haven’t lost five in succession in the tournament since 2007. London Welsh obtained a maiden Premiership victory at home to Exeter Chiefs on Sunday thanks to a Seb Jewell conversion of Ed Jackson’s try with just two minutes left for a 25-24 win. The two sides have not met in a competitive match since Sale gained a 16-9 win at Old Deer Park in the old Division Two in January 1989, whilst the Exiles’ only previous visit to Sale in a major game was in the quarter-final of the 1975/76 John Player Cup at Heywood Road where again Sale were victorious 16-14. Now Rugby prediction: Home win for Sharks by 5.
Referee: JP Doyle (46 Premiership games)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Pearce, Kevin Stewart
London Irish have suffered three successive defeats and conceded 40 points or more on each occasion. No team in Premiership history has ever conceded 40 in four successive matches. The Exiles only win in their last five games at Madejski Stadium came against Gloucester in May. Bath Rugby’s perfect 100% winning start to the season was spoiled at home to Northampton on Friday. Madejski Stadium was one of just three away grounds at which Bath were successful in Aviva Premiership Rugby last season. London Irish have won just one of their last ten clashes with Bath: 16-0 at The Rec on 28 November 2009. Now Rugby prediction: Away win for Bath by 10.
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (52 Premiership games)
Assistant Referees: Stuart Terheege, Peter Huckle
Northampton Saints maintained their 100% winning start to the new Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign with their 18-14 victory at Bath on Friday. The Saints lost just twice at Franklin’s Gardens in the Premiership last season–to London Irish in September and Leicester in April. Worcester Warriors halted their run of six successive defeats with their 16-all draw at home to Gloucester, but the Warriors have still only won once on the road in the competition since April 2009: 6-0 at Wasps on New Year’s Day 2012. The two Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures between the sides last season were both won by the home side on the day, whilst the Warriors have not been victorious at Franklin’s Gardens since 1 January 2007. Now Rugby prediction: Home win for Saints by 17.
Referee: Martin Fox (81 Premiership games)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick, Andrew Watson. TMO: Graham Hughes
Gloucester Rugby’s solo victory in their last nine encounters was 40-31 at London Irish in round two. Gloucester have now slipped to four successive home defeats but haven’t lost five in a row at Kingsholm since 1995. London Wasps ended an unwanted sequence of five consecutive defeats in Aviva Premiership Rugby with their 43-14 victory over London Irish at Adams Park on Saturday. Wasps most recent win away from home in the Premiership came at Worcester last October. Each side won its respective home game in last season’s Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign, whilst Wasps only success at Kingsholm since 2006 was 35-6 on 24 October 2009. Now Rugby prediction: Away win for Wasps by 14.
Referee: David Pearson(168 Premiership games)
Assistant Referees: TBC, Robin Goodliffe. TMO: Trevor Fisher
Leicester Tigers are unbeaten in the regular season of Aviva Premiership Rugby since they visited Exeter on 11 February and lost 11-19. Tigers have not lost in any competition at Welford Road since Harlequins were the visitors on 8 October 2010. Harlequins, the defending Aviva Premiership Rugby champions, have made the perfect start to their defence in picking up maximum points from the first three rounds, something no side has achieved before. Quins are unbeaten away from home in the tournament since they visited Gloucester on 25 February. This is a repeat of last season’s Premiership final at Twickenham, whilst the previous three meetings in the league phase of the competition were won by the away side on the day. Quins’ 27-18 victory at Welford Road in October was their first in the Premiership at the famous old venue. Now Rugby prediction: Away win for Quins by 8 (chancer!)
Referee: David Rose(102 Premiership games)
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Ashley Rowden TMO: David Grashoff
Exeter Chiefs’ solitary victory in their last five Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters was 43-6 at home to Sale in round one. The Chiefs have won three of their last four games at Sandy Park in the competition. Saracens preserved their unbeaten start to the new season with the 9-all draw with Leicester at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. Sarries have won their last four away games in the regular season of Aviva Premiership Rugby. Exeter’s only victory over Saracens so far came in their first ever clash in the Premiership at Vicarage Road on30 October 2010. Now Rugby prediction: Away win for Sarries by 7