By Rugby World reader, Kate Bamber
London Wasps vs Newcastle Falcons
Newcastle have never won in eight previous visits to Adams Park, whilst the Falcons only previous win on Wasps soil was 33-30 at Loftus Road on 11 November 2001. London Wasps have won their last four encounters in all competitions since losing 6-22 at Saracens in the Guinness Premiership on 22 November. Wasps’ only defeat in their last 18 home games was 9-15 against Leeds on 1 November. Newcastle Falcons have slipped to three successive defeats in the Guinness Premiership since their 15-11 victory at London Irish on 22 November, most notably against basement boys Leeds at home in the last round. Wasps have won their last six encounters with Newcastle in all competitions since the Falcons were victorious 37-11 at Kingston Park on 23 February 2007. With Wasps’ coming to the boil nicely I predict a home win.
My prediction: Wasps by 8.
Saracens vs Leicester Tigers
Another week, another juicy fixture for Saracens, however after last week’s away loss to London Irish, this week they have home advantage over the Tigers. Leicester have won their last three matches against Saracens but the Fez heads continue to be the pacesetters in the Guinness Premiership despite losing their unbeaten record at London Irish on Sunday. Sarries only home defeat in any competition since November 2008 came when today’s opponents Leicester visited Vicarage Road in the Premiership in April!
Leicester Tigers have won just once on the road in the Guinness Premiership this season: 15-9 at Harlequins on 12 September but have picked up at least one league point from every Premiership game since they visited Sale in November 2008.
My prediction: It’s going to be close, but Sarries to edge it by 5 points.
Northampton Saints vs London Irish
This round of the Guinness Premiership is certainly throwing up some tasty treats, and this game between second place Irish and third place Northampon is no exception. The last six encounters between the two clubs have all been won by the home team on the day, whilst London Irish’s last win at Franklin’s Gardens was 21-20 in the Guinness Premiership on 13 November 2004. Northampton Saints are the best team in the Guinness Premiership on current form, having secured 20 league points from their last six matches. The Saints have won their last eight matches in all competitions, and have suffered only one defeat at Franklin’s Gardens since March 2007. London Irish are unbeaten in their last five encounters in all competitions and handed current Guinness Premiership leaders Saracens their first defeat of the season on Sunday. The Exiles are the Premiership’s best away side and amazingly have not lost a game on “opposing” soil since their most recent visit to Northampton in April.
My prediction: Probably the first humdinger of a game for 2010. London Irish to win by 6.
Leeds Carnegie vs Bath Rugby
Bath did the Premiership double over Leeds when they last met in season 2007/08 but how fortunes have changed for the West Country boys since then. Currently languishing in a lowly 11th place, Steve Meehan’s men are slowly getting their Guinness Premiership campaign on track. Leeds Carnegie are the only team in the Guinness Premiership yet to win at home this season but they have won their last three games in all competitions and are out to record a second successive Premiership victory for the first time since November 2005. Bath Rugby’s 24-8 defeat of Gloucester on Sunday brought to an end a seven game winless run in the Guinness Premiership. Bath have not won away from home in the Premiership since a trip to Sale on 18 September.
My prediction: An early relegation dogfight with Leeds coming out on top by 3.
Gloucester Rugby vs Worcester Warriors
Worcester have won their last three clashes against Gloucester. Gloucester’s last seven matches have all been won by the home side on the day. Gloucester have won their last three encounters at Kingsholm since Cardiff Blues won there, 26-25, in the LV= Cup on 8 November. Worcester Warriors are winless in their last seven games in all competitions, whilst their most recent victory in the Guinness Premiership was 24-18 at home to Sale on 26 September. The Warriors are the only side in the Premiership yet to record an away win this season.
My prediction: A home win with Gloucester starting to pick up some form. Gloucester by 7.
Sale Sharks vs Harlequins
This game will be the third between the two sides in the last 20 days, with Sale winning both clashes in the Heineken Cup in December. Quins have won just once at Edgeley Park: 19-13 in the Guinness Premiership on 19 November 2004. Sale Sharks have slipped to back to back defeats in the Guinness Premiership, but at Edgeley Park the Sharks have won their last four matches in all competitions.
Harlequins have lost their last three games in all competitions since their 30-27 victory at Leeds in the Guinness Premiership on 4 December.
My prediction: Looking at their Heineken Cup clashes, it’s got to be Sale by 8.
So what do you think? Am I going to beat last week’s five out of six correct predictions or have I indulged in too much festive cheer?