Gallagher Premiership semi-finals: Predictions for Wasps v Bristol & Exeter v Bath

A quick introduction I’m Jon Graham (Teflon) Commercial Director at Ruck and I’m taking on Steve Smith (Perchy) our Lead Journalist and Creative Commander and Chief in the SpreadEX fantasy bet RUCK OFF!

We have each chosen a semi final Premiership fixture and will place a SpreadEX fantasy bet and whoever wins the most or losses the least will take on the SpreadEX expert in a head to head bet on the Premiership final.

It’s fair to say that Steve has the edge on me when it comes to in depth knowledge of the game but I’m confident I can spring a major surprise.

Wasps vs Bristol Bears Prediction (Teflon)

Prediction: Wasps are the comeback story of the season, having won only 3 of their first 10 they hit form in a big way winning 11 of the next 12. Scoring over 50 points on three separate occasions put them as firm favourites in my humble opinion.

A number of players have had huge seasons: Jack Willis’ 43 turnovers is more than any other player this season. Dan Robson’s 1088 passes is over 100 ahead of his nearest rival and Zach Kibirige leads the clean breaks chart in the Premiership.

The head to head this season is also massively in Wasps favour with a narrow win at Ashton Gate back in December and the points fest at the Ricoh last month where Wasps won 59-35.

That isn’t to completely discount Bristol, their form post restart has been excellent and has seen their average points per game significantly increase. The Bears have won a lot of close games this term and they will be a tough nut to crack but my expectation is that Wasps will simply have too much and run out easy winners in the second half.

My SpreadEX fantasy bet a £10 unit buy on Wasps Multi Points.

OPTA STATS

  • Bristol have won just one of their last 17 league games against Wasps (D2, L14), losing their last nine in a row – their worst ever run against any side in the Premiership.
  • Wasps have won 11 of their 12 home games against Bristol in the league (L1), their 92% win rate on home soil against the Bears is their best against any side they’ve hosted on more than two occasions in the Premiership.
  • Wasps have reached the Premiership semi-finals on eight previous occasions; each of those eight matches were won by the home side on the day with Wasps claiming five victories in total (L3). This will be Bristol’s second semi-final after a 14-26 loss away to Leicester in 2007.
  • Wasps have won 11 of their last 12 league games including their last six in a row, their best run since December 2017 (W6); they’ve not won more consecutive Premiership games since a run of eight straight victories between February and April 2008.
  •  Bristol have won 11 of their last 14 Premiership games (L3), their last four victories in that run have come by margins of 20+ points, with the Bears scoring at least five tries in each game.
  • Bristol have scored 30 tries in the final quarter of their matches this season, more than any other side, with that tally accounting for 43% of their total tries – the highest ratio in the league; Wasps have scored the second most in the last 20 minutes of matches (28, 35% of overall total – 4th highest rate).
  • Bristol have averaged the most carries (128), metres (456), breaks (11.8), defenders beaten (25.9), passes (175) and offloads (9) in the Premiership this season; Wasps average the second most breaks (9.6) and defenders beaten (23.7), despite making the third fewest carries of any team (107), while they’ve also averaged the most points per game (30).
  • Wasps’ Jack Willis has won 43 turnovers in the Premiership this season – including 38 jackals – over twice as many as any other player (Blair Cowan – 19); in fact, it is the most ever in a Premiership season since Opta have collected this data (2008/09; Hendre Fourie – 37 in 2009/10).
  • Charles Piutau (Bristol) has made the most carries (247) and gained the most metres (1477) of any player in the Premiership this season, while he’s beaten the second most defenders (72) behind only teammate Nathan Hughes (73) who has made the third most carries (226) and also gained the most metres of any forward (809, 6th most overall).
  • Callum Sheedy (Bristol) and Jacob Umaga (Wasps) have each made 16 passes that have directly led to clean breaks in the Premiership this season, no player has made more (Danny Cipriani also 16); Umaga’s teammate Dan Robson leads the way for try assists in 2019/20 (12).

Exeter Chiefs vs Bath Prediction (Perchy)


This is Exeter Chiefs fifth straight Gallagher Premiership Rugby semi-final, all four previous ones being played at Sandy Park, so it would take a brave man to bet against them.

Saturday’s clash will be Bath’s fifth appearance at the semi-final stage but their first for five years, when they obtained their only victory at that stage, 47-10 at home to Leicester. Bath are unbeaten in their last five fixtures since their 23-27 reversal at home to Wasps on 31 August.

Despite being back to full strength, Exeter Chiefs have lost three Premiership matches in a row and will have one eye on Champions Cup final the following week.

Bath, who I think have been the best all-around unit since lockdown will stand toe-toe with the Chiefs pack and win out wide with England speedsters Ruaridh McConnochie and Joe Cokanasiga scoring the tries.

My SpreadEX fantasy bet a £10 buy on Bath to win by 1-5 points

OPTA STATS:

  • Exeter have won eight of their last 11 league games against Bath – including six of the last seven – this after failing to win any of their first nine games against their West Country rivals in the Premiership (D1, L8).
  • Exeter have reached the Premiership semi-finals for the fifth season in a row, they’d never reached this stage before 2015/16; the Chiefs are yet to lose a semi-final playoff in the league, with their last two such victories coming by 30+ points.
  •  Bath have reached the Premiership semi-finals on four previous occasions; they lost their first three, all away from home, but won their most recent such match – a 47-10 home victory against Leicester in 2015.
  • Exeter have lost their last three Premiership games, their worst run since February 2018 (L3); it is over five years since they last suffered a longer run of league defeats (L4, December 2014 – January 2015).
  • Bath have lost just one of their last nine league games (W7, D1) and are unbeaten in their last five (W4, D1), their best undefeated run in the league since 2015 when they won seven in a row on their way to the Premiership final.
  •  Exeter have scored the most tries (83) of any team in the Premiership this season and boast the best goal kicking success rate (87%), while Bath top the charts for the most penalty goals kicked in 2019/20 (47, level with Leicester).
  • Bath have lost just 17 lineouts on their own throw in the Premiership this season, almost half as many as the next best team (Worcester, 32), as a result they boast the best lineout success rate in the league (94%, 246/263); meanwhile, Exeter have the worst scrum success rate this season, winning just 85% on their own feed.
  •  Exeter have won the most attacking rucks of any team this season (96 per game), although it is Bath who boast the best ruck success rate in the Premiership in 2019/20 (98%); individually Exeter’s Jannes Kirsten has cleaned out the most attacking rucks of any player (140), while Bath’s Tom Dunn and Exeter’s Harry Williams have cleaned out the joint third most (123).
  • Bath’s Rhys Priestland is the top point scorer in the Premiership this season (200) having slotted the most place kicks of any player (78), while Exeter duo Gareth Steenson (92%, 36/39) and Joe Simmonds (89%, 54/61) have the best goal kicking success rates of any player to attempt 10+ shots at goal.
  • Zach Mercer (Bath) has averaged the most carries (15.9) and defenders beaten (6.2) per game in the Premiership this season, while his teammate Ruaridh McConnochie has recorded the best average gain of any player to make 30+ carries this season, gaining 9.4 metres per carry (639m from 68 carries).
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