With home advantage, Harlequins should be able to sweep aside the North East club who are going through a really bad patch; in fact, Newcastle Falcons have lost their last seven games in the Premiership, so it’s highly likely that they’ll lose again this Friday.
So, it’s a safe bet to put money on Quins, in third place, winning their third Premiership match on the trot having been successful against Wasps and then Worcester.
If Harlequins are to make the play-offs, they can’t afford to lose against one of the mediocre teams in the competition who are finding it hard to turn their attacks into tries, although Newcastle’s defence is pretty strong.
The Falcons’ try scoring record so far this campaign is the worst in the league, 34 tries in 16 games, and with that weakness, you can’t be expected to win many matches.
So as Falcons’ coach, Dean Richards, returns to the club he was once in charge of, he has issues to solve between now and the start of the new season.
Eleventh in the table with five victories and 12 defeats, Newcastle have not won in the Premiership since their shock win at Exeter(15-14) in November.
Meanwhile, Harlequins are delighted to have re-signed back row forward James Chisholm for the 2022-23 campaign, the 18th player so far to have agreed a new contract.
Big Crowd at the Rec for Bath v Bristol
More than 14,000 will attend this West Country derby featuring sides that have not made a lasting impression so far this season.
Bath’s plans for next season are taking shape, but first things first: the bottom club, whose home form has picked up recently, are showing some signs that self-belief is returning and may be optimistic about their chances of beating Bristol who’ve won only once away from home in the Premiership, and that was at London Irish at the end of October.
The appointment of a new attack coach for the 2022-23 season Kiwi Joe Maddock who’s returning to Bath where he made more than 100 appearances on the wing between 2004-10, is just what’s required as the current team have managed to score only 35 tries in 17 matches.
As Bristol like to keep the ball alive and arrive with a morale boosting win(31-19) against Wasps, a high scoring contest can be predicted, but the outcome is not so easy to forecast.
Playing at the Rec may give Bath, who’ve won only three games, a small advantage, and as Bristol are without five of their scrum halves through injury, this handicap may prove to be their downfall.
So, it’s possible that new number nine, Oscar Lennon, returning to Bristol from Hartpury in the Championship, will be chucked into the deep end at the start or during a passionate derby.
As Bath prepare for the future, they’ve announced three new signings: Niall Annett, a hooker from Worcester Warriors, full back Matt Gallagher, now at Munster, and Wesley White, a South African back row forward who’s playing for Jersey Reds in the Championship.
A close contest should unfold at the Rec where Bath’s improved home form may tip the scales in their favour.