Rugby Union: Gloucester On The Hunt

With home advantage at Kingsholm, Gloucester should be favourites to beat Wasps and having had their game against Worcester called off last weekend because of Covid and injuries affecting the Warriors, they’ll be glad and relieved to return to competitive action.

This game is of the utmost importance to Gloucester who are currently sixth on 54 points, and with other clubs, like Exeter, Sale, Northampton and London Irish also chasing a place in the play-offs, the Cherry and Whites must win.

Back in November, Gloucester won by 35-33 in a close game at Wasps, but recently they’ve lost three Premiership matches against Sale Sharks, Leicester Tigers and Exeter, so a bonus point victory at Kingsholm would come in handy.

With talented stars such as Mark Atkinson, Chris Harris, Adam Hastings, Lewis Ludlow and Louis Rees-Zammit, Gloucester are more than capable of overcoming Wasps.

The Coventry side have a weaker defence than Gloucester’s having conceded 68 tries, but when it comes to scoring tries there’s little difference between the two.

The Cherry and Whites have scored 61 with Saturday’s visitors on 60.Wasps, meanwhile, are in ninth position in the Premiership table, and with successive wins against Newcastle Falcons and Sale, their form is moving in the right direction.

It’ll be surprising if Wasps reach the last four, and as head coach, Lee Blackett, celebrates his two years in charge, he’ll be hoping that forwards Joe Launchbury, Jack Willis and Alfie Barbeary can inspire a shock win at Kingsholm.

Expect a close game and once again the possibility that Wasps centre, Jimmy Gopperth, 38, will play an influential role as a goal kicker.

Northampton also aiming for a place in June play-offs

The Saints’ win by 42-22 against London Irish at Brentford gave their hopes of making the top four a timely boost, and now that Northampton, currently seventh on 53 points, are back home at Franklin’s Gardens, their chances of consecutive victories are high.

Bristol, 10th on 36 points, have no hopes of making the play-offs, but as an enterprising team they are awkward opponents as Saracens found out in the last Premiership game which Bristol lost by only 27-23.

The Saints will start as favourites, and on form with international players of the quality of Dan Biggar, George Furbank and Courtney Lawes, they are a formidable team.

But with 10 wins in 19 matches, Northampton have not performed to their potential this season, although Chris Boyd, in his final few matches in charge, was delighted with the result and overall display against London Irish.

Bristol, with England scrum half Harry Randall back in the team, will be encouraged by their efforts against Saracens and there’s no doubt they could cause an upset at Northampton.

The Saints against Irish showed off their attacking flair by scoring six tries, two by winger Tom Collins, and with the backing of the vast majority of the 15,000 crowd at Franklin’s Gardens, you’d expect them to win during a close and entertaining contest.