By Rugby World reader, Kate Bamber
Newcastle Falcons v Bath
Bath was tepid at best at the start of the season but now they are red hot. In fact they are the best team in the Guinness Premiership on current form, having picked up 22 of a possible 25 league points from their last five games.
The Falcons beat Bath 27-16 when the two met in the Guinness Premiership at The Rec in round 6. Newcastle Falcons’ only win in their last seven games in the Guinness Premiership was the shock 12-6 at London Wasps on 3 January.
With the Falcons last home league win being the 14-3 victory over Worcester on 1 November and with Bath’s excellent form, I predict a third consecutive away win for the boys in blue.
My prediction: Bath to win by 10.
Wasps v Gloucester
London Wasps has won three of their last four games at Adams Park in the Guinness Premiership. However Wasps lost 26-10 to Leeds Carnegie last weekend which ended their three game winning run.
Gloucester has lost only one of their last eight encounters in all competitions which came in the 33-11 defeat at Leicester on 20 February.
Gloucester’s only away win in their last 13 matches in the Premiership was 26-10 at Leeds on 4 October. Wasps have already beaten Gloucester this season in the 21-14 LV= Cup victory back in November.
My prediction: Gloucester’s confidence is riding high but it will be tough to beat Wasps on the road. Wasps to win by 3.
Leeds Carnegie v Saracens
Leeds is looking to clinch three league wins in a row for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
Whilst Saracens have won their last eight games against Leeds, the Fez heads only win in their last five games in the Guinness Premiership was 25-20 against Worcester at Wembley Stadium on 13 February. Compare this to Carnegie, who is fifth best in the Premiership on current form, having gained 15 points from their last six matches.
Add to this the fact that Sarries have not won away from home in the Premiership since they visited Bath on 31 October and this looks like a tasty encounter.
When these sides met earlier in the season, referee David Rose disallowed a perfectly good Leeds try (for which he later apologized). Had the try stood, Leeds would have won the game.
My prediction: Revenge will be sweet, and Leeds’ forwards to drive Carnegie to a win by 7.
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints
What on earth has happened to Sale Sharks? The men from south Manchester are on their worst losing streak since 1999/2000 having lost their last seven games in all competitions.
Now joint bottom with Leeds, the Sharks have gained just one league point from their last three outings in the Guinness Premiership. They grabbed the solitary losing bonus point from their 16-22 defeat at Wasps on 14 February.
Northampton Saints’ only loss in their last eight Guinness Premiership games was the 13-6 at Harlequins on 20 February.
The teams have already met twice this season with Northampton winning both times: 21-16 at Franklin’s Gardens in the Guinness Premiership and 20-14 in the LV= Cup at Edgeley Park.
My prediction: Saints to make it three wins from three, and clinching the win by 12 points.
Leicester Tigers v London Irish
Northampton ruined Leicester’s points scoring run last weekend, as for the first time in 29 games the Tigers failed to grab anything from the Saints.
Leicester’s home form is still formidable though, and the only side to take anything away from Welford Road this season was Worcester in their 19-14 defeat.
London Irish did beat the reigning champions 18-12 at the Madejski Stadium in round 6. However, the Exiles have been hit hard by injury and their form has been poor recently.
Irish beat Harlequins 29-14 at home last weekend to end a run of seven defeats, but the strength and depth of the Tigers will be too much for them this weekend.
My prediction: Leicester to win by 6.
Harlequins v Worcester Warriors
Harlequins have won the last seven encounters between the two teams in the Guinness Premiership since Worcester won 15-9 at the Stoop on 19 February 2005.
But Quins’ only victory in their last five matches in the Guinness Premiership was 13-6 over Northampton at the Twickenham Stoop on 20 February.
Worcester Warriors’ ten match winless streak ended with their 13-0 victory over Newcastle at Sixways on Friday. With Leeds keeping the relegation battle alive and Sale being dragged into the mix, the Warriors really need to take something from this game.
That might be easier said than done, as Worcester last won on the road in the Guinness on 21 April 2009.
My prediction: Harlequins to win by 6.