There is one fixture that is going to dominate the headlines this weekend and that is Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints. Another interesting factor though will be the performances of fly halves up and down the country as suddenly it has become a much debated position again.
Friday 7.45 â€“ Sale Sharks v Bath
Talking of fly halves, this is not a bad place to start, Danny Cipriani v George Ford! Sale will have been hoping for a wet and wild night in Salford but unfortunately for them it looks fairly pleasant there ahead of kick off and that should play right into Bathâ€™s hands.
Prediction â€“ Bath
Saturday 15.00 â€“ London Irish v Harlequins
It is probably fair to say that Irish have performed above expectations thus far, whilst Quins have been a little below the level that is expected of them, yet both lie roughly where you might expect them to in the table.
Quins ought to have too much quality for the Exiles, particularly in the crucial areas of the park. If Quins can get their offload game going then they could be looking at bonus points but if Irish can replicate the type of physicality that they have sometimes shown this season then they could force a nail biter.
Prediction â€“ Harlequins
Saturday 15.00 â€“ Saracens v London Wasps
Sarries look like the team to beat at the moment, they just look so strong in every department. They have made a few changes though and in keeping with out fly half thoughts, one is to give Alex Goode his first game at ten for a long time.
Goode will not be opposite his namesake Andy for Wasps though, instead Joe Carlisle starts at fly half for them. Wasps have been unfortunate this season, the table does not yet reflect their play, however it is a tall order to make any changes to that this weekend.
Prediction â€“ Saracens
Saturday 15.00 â€“ Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons
It is not good when as the home side people still struggle to make you favourites to beat a newly promoted side but that is the situation that Worcester find themselves in.
Saturdayâ€™s game is the best chance of victory that they can hope for but you have to feel that on current form Newcastle are the favourites.
Prediction â€“ Newcastle
Saturday 15.15 â€“ Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints
The big one, the Midlands derby.Â As ever in the big games this is going to be all about the battle up front and it looks set to be mighty close. Of the two teams though Northampton look the stronger of the two, something that you do not often hear and they might just be the hungrier as well after that Premiership final defeat in May.
Tigers are not exactly looking too shabby themselves though and Toby Flood will be absolutely desperate to get his troops over the line in this one, not just for Leicester but also for his prospects for the England 10 shirt.
Expect to see Saints sending the likes of North and Burrell absolutely flying into the Tigers defence, where Anthony Allen will play a huge role as he continues to quietly nudge the England selectors.
Prediction â€“ Saints, just.
Sunday 14.00 â€“ Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs
The Chiefs were really very poor in the first half against Leicester last week, while Gloucester were not much better in Newcastle. Both turned it around in the second half, though Gloucester managed a victory while Exeter fell short.
Our feeling is that that will be the way the coin falls again this week. Gloucesterâ€™s victory was a fillip for their much criticised tight five, such was the grit they had to show, if they can bring that again then coupled with their dazzling backs they should be able to get the win on Sunday â€“ particularly at Kingsholm.
Prediction – Gloucester