For Luck’s Sake

I had a bit of a stellar (rather than Stella) weekend getting all 6 of my Premiership predictions correct – probably should have bought a lottery ticket too!

Aviva Premiership Season Launch 2013-2014

To mix metaphors (and sports) it wasn’t quite as plain sailing as it sounds – in 5 of the games the losing side picked up a bonus point and the total points difference for all 5 of those matches was just 19. It could easily have been a 5 – 1 trouncing for me!

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In fact pretty much all 5 went down to the last 5 minutes before my teams got ahead!

Saracens made heavy weather in heavy weather at the Sharks and spurned several chances to cross the line – their win came courtesy of the boot from the ever reliable and seemingly ever green Charlie Hodgson.

I had fancied Harlequins to make a meal of the Falcons – instead they made rather a dogs dinner of the game – winning by just four points and being in deficit until the 75th minute.

London Irish were pegged back to 20 -20 with ten minutes to go at Wasps having been 8 -17 ahead at half-time. Up stepped Shane Geraghty, playing in the centre this week, to drop a neat goal and steal the points.

The Saints struggled to get past lowly Worcester in the first half and were only ahead 9-6 at the break. But three second half tries – two from GJ van Velze (ironically a Warriors player next season) to add to a penalty try saw them home comfortably 30-14 in the end. Worcester were not helped by losing captain Jonathan Thomas to a red card with almost half an hour still left on the clock and the score only 16-11.

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The match of the weekend was the West Country derby at Sandy Park where Exeter took on high flying Bath. It was a see-saw match which the Chiefs dominated for long periods. But Bath aren’t third by accident and two good scores – one by Kyle Eastmond and the other a superb finish from sub Nick Abendanon opened up an 8 point gap. You have to love the way Exeter play – a converted try took them to within a point and they were pressing on the Bath line before Abendanon led a charge out which ended in a penalty converted by George Ford.

Ford was justifiably man of the match – and I’m not sure how much more he has to do to get on the bench for the Ireland game this weekend.

So Saturday night I was 5 for 5 and confident that Leicester would give me a full house come Sunday evening. They did in the end, but blimey once more it was a close run thing.

Gloucester – playing some of their best rugby of the season were never behind until the 77th minute when Toby Flood kicked the penalty that gave Leicester an 11-8 advantage and 3 minutes later all four points.

Freddie Burns was on the bench for Gloucester for the fifth game in a row and didn’t get on the pitch. Leicester must be wondering if it’s right to sign him – and even more why they let George Ford skip off to Bath.

It’s getting tight in the scrap for the play-off places and the table looks like this going into the 15th Round next week – when some of their internationals will be at Twickenham.

Aviva Premiership Rugby Table

Pos

Team

Pl

W

D

L

Pts

1

Northampton Saints

14

12

1

1

55

2

Saracens

14

12

0

2

54

3

Bath Rugby

14

10

1

3

44

4

Harlequins

14

9

0

5

40

5

Leicester Tigers

14

8

2

4

40

6

Sale Sharks

14

7

0

7

35

7

London Wasps

14

6

0

8

33

8

Exeter Chiefs

14

6

0

8

30

9

London Irish

14

5

0

9

25

10

Gloucester Rugby

14

4

0

10

23

11

Newcastle Falcons

14

3

0

11

15

12

Worcester Warriors

14

0

0

14

4

Bath play Saracens on Saturday and with both sides likely to be shorn of some of their stars it will be an intriguing match- up.

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