It’s that time of the week again… RUCK is back with their latest set of Aviva Premiership predictions ahead of the festive weekend.
After two weeks of European action, the Premiership returns with one standout clash as Wasps host reigning champions Saracens at the Ricoh Arena.
RUCK sees a tough win for Mark McCall’s men, and also predicts wins for Saints, Chiefs, Tigers, Bath and Quins.
London Irish v Northampton (Saturday 26th December, 14:30)
Will London Irish finally turn up? They’ve been shadows of the team we know they can be so far this season, losing six out of six and are cemented to the bottom of the table on zero points.
Northampton meanwhile have also flattered to deceive but have looked to somewhat turn a corner, rattling off narrow back-to-back wins against Gloucester Rugby and Bath Rugby after an uncharacteristically slow start.
Nevertheless, they are simply not scoring enough tries, but this game is a big opportunity for them to put that wrong right.
Saints should win this, but it might be closer than many fans expect at the Madejski Stadium.
RUCK PREDICTS: Northampton by 5
FULL PREVIEW: https://www.ruck.co.uk/?p=14677
Exeter v Sale (Saturday 26th December, 15:00)
This is going to be a good, good game. Exeter, despite last weekend’s poor result in Clermont, are doing great and at this point in time look odds-on to finish in the top four after.
Rob Baxter’s side was on the wrong end of a 42-10 result against the French giants last time out while Sale are a team, as always, struggling to find consistency.
We expect the Chiefs to win at home, and we’d be shocked if they didn’t despite the Sharks upwardly form as of late.
RUCK PREDICTS: Exeter by 10
FULL PREVIEW: https://www.ruck.co.uk/?p=14672
Leicester v Newcastle (Saturday 26th December, 15:00)
Newcastle concede tries, and they throw points away left, right and centre so you know coming into this clash that it should be an exciting game.
The Falcons can really go into this game and release the shackles, letting their attacking talent have a real go at the hosts, especially on the counter attack.
However, the plucky visitors will likely be seen off by Leicester’s sturdy bench that includes six international such as the Young brothers and Dan Cole.
Also Tigers, these are the games that get you in the top four, and I’m backing them to win again here, comfortably.
RUCK PREDICTS: Leicester by 20
FULL PREVIEW: https://www.ruck.co.uk/?p=14673
Wasps v Saracens (Sunday 27th December, 14:00)
Saracens have won their last eight fixtures against Wasps in all competitions since Wasps 20-15 victory in the London double header in September 2011.
Although Wasps have lost consecutive home games, their overall form and performances have been excellent, with wins against Toulon and Leinster showing exactly what their talented group is capable of.
Meanwhile, Saracens perfect start to the new campaign continued with back-to-back victories over Oyonnax in the Champions Cup over the last two weekends.
You also can’t overlook the Londoners outstanding away record as they have won their last five consecutive away games in the Premiership and we are backing them to win again here.
We’d of probably gone with Wasps to end Sarries run narrowly if not for their back-row injuries to George Smith and Nathan Hughes
Either way, the match will be close.
RUCK PREDICTS: Wasps by 3
FULL PREVIEW: https://www.ruck.co.uk/?p=14674
Bath v Worcester (Sunday 27th December, 14:30)
Bath aren’t convincing at the moment, but they need to start winning and fast, especially at home after managing just one victory in their five home games in all competitions so far this season.
Worcester though are doing great on their return to the top flight, and their start to the season is not a flash in the pan, they have some decent players.
Dean Ryan also sets the Warriors up well, and he nicks points here and there. Still, we are going with a home win as Mike Ford’s Bath simply must win.
RUCK PREDICTS: Bath by 17
FULL PREVIEW: https://www.ruck.co.uk/?p=14675
Harlequins v Gloucester (Sunday 27th December, 16:30)
We are not sure how this is going to go. Harlequins absolutely took Calvisano apart 59-7 in the Challenge Cup last weekend, and they are going along brilliantly.
They now need to consolidate their position in the top four in the Premiership by winning against Gloucester, but that is easier said than done.
It should be end-to-end stuff, but the away side have just that little bit more in the final third, so we are going with a Harlequins win with Tim Visser getting in on the scoring.