There are just four rounds remaining in the regular season of the Aviva Premiership and the battle for a top-four and top-six spot looks sets to go down to the wire.
Here is the current state of the league before this weekend’s fixtures.
Ahead of this weekend’s crucial round of fixtures, we give you our predictions and also recommend what bet you should put on for this round of matches, with leovegas.com.
Sale Sharks v Wasps
Sale Sharks host Wasps on Friday night at the AJ Bell Stadium. James O’Connor comes into the side at inside centre which is the only change Steve Diamond has made to his starting XV.
In what is a big boost to Wasps, Dai Young can welcome back Elliot Daly to his starting lineup after recovering from a dislocated finger.
Sale thumped Worcester Warriors last time out while Wasps suffered a narrow one-point to defeat at Welford Road against the Leicester Tigers. Wasps don’t have a good record at the AJ Bell Stadium but we think they will nick a victory here with a home semi-final in their sights.
Bath Rugby v Leicester Tigers
This game which is being held at Twickenham sees Bath name a strong side which features the likes of Rhys Priestland, Taulupe Faletau and Jonathan Joseph. Todd Blackadder’s side will be keen to record a victory after suffering a narrow two-point loss at home to the Exeter Chiefs last time out.
The Tigers go into this game without Manu Tuilagi who suffered another injury last time he played but Matt O’Connor’s side does welcome back Ellis Genge and Tatafu Polota-Nau to their front-row alongside Dan Cole.
This looks to be another tight game and we’re backing the Tigers to get the job done here.
Northampton Saints v Saracens
It’s a season to forget for the Northampton Saints and with next to no hope of qualifying for next season’s Champions Cup, this proud club have little to play for.
Saracens will be hurt from their Champions Cup exit to Leinster and we expect a backlash from Mark McCall’s side and they should have no problems recording another win to consolidate their second place position in the league table.
Harlequins v London Irish
Like the Saints, Quins face an uphill battle to qualify for next season’s Champions Cup but a bonus-point win over the league’s bottom-side could give them so hope.
Irish are slightly rejuvenated under the tutelage of Declan Kidney and Les Kiss but it’s a simple case of them not having the quality to stay in this league.
We expect a Quins victory but not by much.
Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons.
Worcester could probably lose all their remaining games and still stay up but they would still like to record another victory to take away any mathematical plausibilities. They come up against a Falcons side who are flying both domestically and in Europe.
Dean Richards’ side have been playing some excellent rugby lately and we think they will continue their fine form with a win at Sixways and further establish themselves as playoff candidates.
Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester Rugby
The Chiefs have put their European disappointment well and truly behind them to march to the top of the Aviva Premiership standings and there should be no looking back for Rob Baxter’s men. Another win on Sunday should all but seal their top position and a home semi-final.
Bet of the weekend:
We are recommending a four-fold accumulator with wins for Saracens, Harlequins, Newcastle Falcons and Exeter Chiefs. A £10 bet will give you a healthy return of £30.04.
See how well we’re doing in the LeoVegas Punters’ Union rugby betting league at puntersunion.leovegas.com. We’re going head-to-head with other rugby titles this season to see who can win the most rugby bets and finish top in May! Who are you betting on this weekend?