Rugby Union: Gallagher Premiership Reflections as Attention Turns to Europe

With another 13 rounds to go before the top four finishers compete in the semi-final play-offs in June, it’s clear that Leicester Tigers, at this stage of the season, are the team to fear and back.

Tigers may well have lost their unbeaten record of 11 consecutive wins after losing to Wasps in Coventry, nevertheless they still lead the table on 51 points, eight clear of Saracens, who’re second on 43.

The top four, currently Leicester, Saracens, champions Harlequins and Gloucester, taking into account recent results and form, could credibly contest the semi-finals at the conclusion of the normal league schedule.

But who would you put money on to win the Premiership final if the table stays as it is?

Is the answer Leicester Tigers, who’ve been transformed by new boss Steve Borthwick.

Champions Quins, featuring top players, such as fly half Marcus Smith and forward Alex Dombrandt, have been playing some dazzling rugby and that will continue.

The Twickenham club are certainly capable of contesting the final again, and sensible money can also be put on Saracens as coach Mark McCall, winner of five Premiership titles and three European Cups, revives their status.

With so much of the campaign left, don’t write off or be afraid to back Gloucester hanging on to fourth place, what character they showed by beating McCall’s team at Saracens in a memorable victory by 25-24.

It may have gone unnoticed by the outside world, but Gloucester’s skipper and back row forward, Lewis Ludlow, is contributing massively throughout each game, he’s the Premiership’s top tackler on 170 after 12 games, and considering his team’s win at Saracens, that triumph will supply endless confidence.

Who Else Will Reach the Premiership Semi-Finals in June? 

The sides which are 5th and 6th, Northampton Saints and Exeter Chiefs, are still very much in the frame to finish in the top four and are on 35 and 33 points respectively, behind Gloucester on 38 so they have every opportunity to catch up.

The news that Chris Boyd, Northampton’s Director of Rugby, will be returning to New Zealand at the end of this season will reinforce his determination to leave Franklin’s Gardens on a high note.

By beating Newcastle Falcons convincingly in their last game before meeting Ulster in the Heineken Cup, Boyd’s squad reminded the rest of the Premiership that when the Saints get their act together, they are as competitive as anyone and possess many potential match winners, like Welsh fly half Dan Biggar, forwards Courtney Lawes, Sam Matavesi and South African winger Courtnall Skosan.

Likewise, Exeter Chiefs, champions in 2017 and 2020 and European Cup winners also in 2020, could be worth a few quid to reach the top four, why wouldn’t you back the club, coached by Ron Baxter, to overtake the Saints and Gloucester?

Craig Jones

Craig Jones

US Sports lover and watcher of the EFL, Craig will guide you through the NFL, NHL and English football