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RUCK’s Premiership Predictions: Exeter to make it three wins in a row

  • Saracens and Leicester Tigers both looking to continue 100 per cent starts
  • London Irish and Newcastle still searching for first wins of the season
BY STEVEN SMITH/ASH COOPER

Friday 6th November
Harlequins v Sale (7:45 pm kick-off)
Saturday 7th November
London Irish v Bath (3 pm kick-off)
Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons (3 pm kick-off)
Northampton v Saracens (3:15 pm kick-off)
Exeter v Leicester (5:30 pm kick-off)
Sunday 8th November
Wasps v Gloucester (3 pm kick-off)
RUCK returns with another round of predictions ahead of this weekend’s Aviva Premiership action.

The fourth round of fixtures starts this Friday night, and it promises to be yet another great weekend of rugby with most of the clashes seeming pretty close on paper.

Saracens and Leicester Tigers will be aiming to continue their 100 per cent starts to the Aviva Premiership; however, both face difficult away trips in round four.

Exeter Chiefs, who flattened the struggling Newcastle Falcons will be looking to keep within touching distance of the top two when they welcome the Tigers to Sandy Park.

Newcastle Falcons and London Irish will look to register their first points of the season, as the Falcons face newly-promoted Worcester and the Exiles in front of their home crowd, will play Bath, who have lost their last two games.


 Friday 6th November

  Harlequins v Sale (7:45 pm kick-off)

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 25: Nick Evans of Harlequins kicks a conversion during the Aviva Premiership match between Leicester Tigers and Harlequins at Welford Road on October 25, 2015 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

This will be a walk in the park for Harlequins as Sale traditionally struggle away from home.

Sharks may have won their last two matches, but away from the AJ Bell Stadium they have won only once in the competition in the past 12 months, which was a 52-12 thrashing of the destitute London Welsh back in February.

Furthermore, Quins have only lost once to Sharks in their last nine league encounters and with a six-day turnaround it does not bode well for the men from the North-West.

RUCK PREDICTS: Harlequins by 12

Read full preview here: Harlequins v Sale preview


Saturday 7th November

 London Irish v Bath Rugby (3 pm kick-off)

BATH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Jonathan Joseph of Bath scoring their first try of the match during the Aviva Premiership match between Bath and Harlequins at Recreation Ground on December 21, 2013 in Bath, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Bath Rugby have slipped to back-to-back defeats to Wasps Harlequins but have not lost three in a row since back in February.

They will look to bounce back when they travel to face London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.

The hosts have a poor record against their visitors, winning just one of their last eleven Premiership encounters against Bath. The Exiles wait for a first win of the season will continue into round five.

RUCK PREDICTS: Bath by 10

Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons (3 pm kick-off)
WORCESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 16: Tom Heathcote of Worcester celebrates after kicking the winning drop goal during the Aviva Premiership match between Worcester Warriors and Northampton Saints at Sixways Stadium on October 16, 2015 in Worcester, England. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
There’s no chance for Newcastle in this one. Worcester are a banker.

The Falcons can’t stop being dominated in the pack and unless Dean Richards has pulled off a minor miracle during the week they will be losing again.

The Warriors are an unyielding side when playing on home turf, which they showcased beating Northampton Saints in the opening round through a last minute Tom Heathcote drop goal. Newcastle have started this season playing open attacking rugby but have come unstuck defensively and have conceded the most points so far this season.

Although Worcester lost their last home meeting with the Falcons, that was a long time ago when they were a much poorer side.

RUCK PREDICTS: Worcester by 10

Read full preview here: Worcester v Newcastle preview


Northampton Saints v Saracens (3:15 pm kick off)
BARNET, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31: Jackson Wray of Saracens is tackled by Fergus Mulchrone of London Irish during the Aviva Premiership match between Saracens and London Irish at Allianz Park stadium on October 31, 2015 in Barnet, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
Northampton will look to bounce back from an away defeat to Sale when the meet last year’s champions Saracens at Franklins Gardens.

The Saints have struggled away from home this season losing their first two away games to Worcester and Sale but looked like a different team at home against Newcastle winning 42-16. The last time the two sides met was in the Premiership semi-finals, where Sarries narrowly won 29-24.

Sarries have started the season well, and although not setting the world alight against Gloucester and London Irish, have done enough to see games out. David Strettle’s replacement winger Mike Ellery has started the season in fine form, touching down three tries in his first three games.

Both sides will welcome back some of their World Cup stars, who will be keen to get back into Premiership action. Ben Foden and Luther Burrell have made solid starts to the season, and they will feel they have a point to prove to England selectors.

If Sarries win it will be just their fourth league away victory outside of London since last September.

RUCK PREDICTS: Saracens by 5

Exeter Chiefs v Leicester Tigers (5:30 pm kick off)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Owen Williams of Leicester kicks a penalty during the Aviva Premiership match between Leicester Tigers and Wasps at Welford Road on November 1, 2015 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Since a narrow opening day defeat at The Rec, Exeter have started the season brilliantly scoring six tries in each of their last two games and only conceding one.

Leicester have also started the season brightly, and with wins over the likes of Wasps and Harlequins, they have shown their intentions for this season early.

The Tigers have actually made the best start to their season since 2008, and are very strong away from home, losing only once since January away from Welford Road. The Chiefs are very strong at home, but have struggled against the Tigers recently, and the last time the teams met at Sandy Park the Tigers went home with the points. Leicester have had the upper hand in their last six meetings with Exeter and will look to continue their excellent start.

Exeter’s back line have started the season really well, and with the likes of Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and James Short who have enough pace and skill to cause any teams problems. Leicester will have to be at their best defensively.

This is the hardest game of the weekend to call!

RUCK PREDICTS: Exeter by 1

Read full preview here: Exeter Chiefs v Leicester Tigers


Sunday 8th November

 Wasps v Gloucester (3 pm kick-off)

GLOUCESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31: Gloucester players including Richard Hibbard during the Aviva Premiership match between Gloucester Rugby and Worcester Warriors at Kingsholm Stadium on October 31, 2015 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Gloucester have started the season well, winning two of their opening three games while Wasps, despite performing reasonably well so far have won just one of their last five Aviva Premiership Rugby matches.

The hosts have not won back-to-back Premiership Rugby encounters at the venue since March while the Cherry and Whites were only defeated by a last-gasp Owen Farrell penalty when they entertained table-topping Saracens in round two.

Wasps though have a fantastic record against the men from the West Country, winning the last five meetings between the pair. Gloucester’s last win against the now Coventry-based club came way back in September 2012.

Furthermore Gloucester has won only twice on Wasps soil in any competition since 1990. The extraordinary record may continue in what will be a closely contested match in Sundays sole fixture.

RUCK PREDICTS: Wasps by 5

Read full preview here: Wasps v Gloucester preview


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