2017-09-20 by Liam Del Carme
Sharks v Blue Bulls
As runaway leaders you’d expect the Sharks to be overwhelming favourites against mid table strugglers. They’ve been especially forceful at home.
The Bulls however are developing into an attacking force. Fullback Warrick Gelant is proving elusive and has profited from his team’s high tempo, high energy approach. The Sharks however should have the forward grunt and the composure to get the win.
Bath v Newcastle
Bath’s bright start to the new Premiership season came to a shuddering halt last week. Following wins over redoubtable opponents like Leicester Tigers and Saracens they can back down to earth with a thud in their 24-6 loss to Northampton. Newcastle also won their first two Premiership matches before meeting defeat last weekend. They fell to Saracens, following victories over Sale Sharks and Worcester. Bath are clear favourites and should win by more than 12 points.
Western Province v Griquas
Western Province are hunting the runners up spot on the Currie Cup points table. Victory over Griquas is nonnegotiable in that quest to cement a home semifinal. They suffered a slightly unexpected reverse at the hands of the Pumas in Nelspruit last week. Griquas have lost four matches in a row since toppling the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. Western Province should win this one easily.
Bordeaux Begles v Montpellier
Bordeaux Begles have experienced wildly fluctuating fortunes this season. They beat Clermont at home on the opening weekend, crashed away at Castres the following week, and picked themselves up by thumping Stade Francais back home, before being handed a lesson at Lyon last weekend. Clearly they don’t like travelling but exactly the same can be said of Clermont after four matches. Interestingly, Clermont have scored the same number of points at home as they have conceded on the road. This is a tough one to call so don’t rule out a draw.
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps
After three matches Exeter are in familiar territory. They are at the top of the Premiership. The reigning champions lost on the opening weekend against Gloucester but have predictably bounced back against London Irish and Worcester. The Chiefs will be better rested for this clash having played their previous game last Friday. Wasps have lost flyhalf Danny Cipriani to injury, and whether you love him or loathe him, a lot revolves around their playmaker. Wasps, quite unexpectedly lost at home to Harlequins in an ill-tempered game last weekend. They look set for another defeat.