This weekend sees the resumption of the Aviva premiership after the various Cup games of the last few weeks.
Being an International week it also makes predictions harder and gives the lower teams a chance to pick up points against the more illustrious names in the Premiership.
With a Saxons game as well the problems will be compounded. Saints and Saracens the top two teams will suffer most from the absentees and the replacements will have to work hard.
My predictions –
Worcester to finally get a win – the Tigers will always be competitive but with all the injuries and missing players like Tom Youngs and Dan Cole I think they will struggle at Sixways.
The Sharks should overcome visitors Gloucester who will be missing Johnny May, Freddie Burns, Billy Twelvetrees and Ben Morgan
A home win also for Bath against Newcastle Falcons despite being without Attwood, Ford and Watson – as well as Paul James who will be in Dublin with Wales
Saracens too, will just about win against London Irish even though they are heavily depleted – not just the English contingent of the Vunipola brothers, Owen Farrell, Brad Barritt and Alex Goode – but also the Scots duo of Brown and Taylor. They are, however, likely to get Chris Ashton back when the 23 is announced and he will have a point to prove.
The fifth home win is my prediction for when Northampton travel to Exeter Chiefs. The saints will be the hardest hit team losing maybe 7 of their first team to the Internationals. The Chiefs are hard to beat at sandy Park and with only Jack Nowell likely to be missing they should triumph over the high flying Saints
The final game on Sunday sees me going for a full house of home wins – Quins to take visitors Wasps at the Stoop.
If I’m right in my predictions the look of the table will not change a great deal – but Saracens will pull further ahead of the Saints and Worcester may just see a small chink of light in their season long struggle to avoid relegation.