Rugby Aviva Premiership Preview – Round 4

Three rounds in and the Aviva Premiership is shaping up nicely, with the top seven teams all having won two, lost one and it feels like it is a wide open race right now.

Defending champions Exeter Chiefs sit top of the pile with three bonus points to their name, with fellow 2016/17 finalists Wasps close behind and European champions Saracens in third.

The Chiefs claimed a big win over the Warriors last weekend, while Northampton Saints triumphed over Bath and Harlequins stunned Wasps in a memorable Ricoh Arena showdown.

Gloucester 19:45 Worcester Warriors
22 September

Kingsholm is used to Friday night lights and it is no different this week as the opening fixture of the round seeings Gloucester host a whimpering Worcester Warriors.

Worcester are winless and the only side without a point in the competition so far, proving as an ideal opposition for a Gloucester side who need to get back on track following defeat to Leicester.

Despite suffering defeat last weekend, Johan Ackermann’s Gloucester are showing positive signs and should be targeting a bonus-point win against a Warriors side seriously lacking Premiership quality.

Our prediction: Gloucester win
Match odds: Gloucester 2/13 Worcester 7/4
Unibet pick:
Gloucester Regular Time (3-way) @ 1/6

Bath 15:00 Newcastle Falcons
23 September

It was all looking a dream for Bath and Newcastle Falcons before last weekend, but with both suffering their first losses of the season, Saturday’s clash at The Recreation Ground just received an added bite.

Falcons were downed by Saracens in Philadelphia and their long week of travel could come into play as they are on the road to the West Country, where Bath downed Sarries on their last home run out.

Falcons have played some eye-opening rugby, but Bath should be too strong for Newcastle this weekend, led by the lightning feet of Semesa Rokoduguni, Anthony Watson and a potent pack with Taulupe Faletau at the heart.

Our prediction: Bath win
Match odds: Bath 1/9 Newcastle 11/2
Unibet pick: 
Newcastle +14.5 @ 4/5

Harlequins 15:00 Leicester Tigers
23 September

 Harlequins produced the performance of Round 3 as they held out Wasps 24-21 away from home and the arrival of Leicester Tigers at the Twickenham Stoop is a chance to back up their performance.

As well as experienced international heads at Quins, new talent is emerging and making a serious stamp on the Premiership, non more so than Marcus Smith, man of the match last weekend from fly-half.

Leicester are enduring a mixed start to the season, but looked strong at home in victory over Gloucester, yet Quins at The Stoop could just edge this one. Promises to be close.

Our prediction: Harlequins win
Match odds: Harlequins 16/25 Leicester 5/4
Unibet pick: 
Leicester @ 5/4

Saracens 15:00 Sale Sharks
23 September

 After a blip in Bath, Saracens got their campaign back on the right track with a strong 29-7 win Stateside, now Sale Sharks are visiting Allianz Park.

It is the first time Saracens have played at their Barnet home this season and with the likes of Billy Vunipola back in the fray, the home side are looking as formidable as ever.

Steve Diamond’s Sale shone in an impressive win over London Irish last Friday, but they simply do not have the defensive might or attacking prowess to contest anywhere near the levels of Saracens.

Our prediction: Saracens win
Match odds: Saracens  1/25 Sale 23/2
Unibet pick: 
Saracens @ 1/25

Exeter Chiefs v Wasps

Sunday afternoon sees a repeat of last season’s Aviva Premiership final as Exeter Chiefs welcome Wasps to Sandy Park.

Devon will be out in force this one as the Chiefs seek a third successive win to maintain their lead at the top of the table.

Wasps were error-strewn and lacked discipline in defeat to Harlequins and the like of Jack Nowell and Henry Slade will be quick to exploits those discrepancies in front of a partisan home crowd this weekend.

Our prediction: Exeter Chiefs win
Match odds: Exeter 11/25 Wasps 7/4
Unibet pick: 
Exeter Regular Time (3-way) @ 4/9

London Irish v Northampton Saints

The final fixture of Round 4 sees a rejuvenated Northampton Saints travel to the Madejski Stadium to take on London Irish, who have produced a mixed bag so far this term.

Since beating Harlequins in Round 1 the Exiles have looked like a side off the boil, while Saints have gone the opposite direction, turning up the heart since their loss to Saracens on the opening weekend.

With Courtney Lawes leading from the front in the absence of the injured Dylan Hartley, Saints are fierce up front, while Tom Collins, George North, Luther Burrell and Harry Mallinder are starting to create an eye-catching, fluid style of play.

Our prediction: Northampton Saints win
Match odds: Irish 9/4 Northampton 33/100
Unibet pick: 
Northampton -7.5 @ 4/5

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