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Will Saracens close the gap on Exeter at the top? Get Premiership Rugby tips

Ben Darvill 1 May 2019
Maro Itoje (credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images)

Can Harlequins add to Leicester's woes, will Gloucester close the gap on the top two, and who will come out on top when Saracens host Exeter on Saturday? Get our free Premiership Rugby tips below. 

Harlequins vs Leicester (Friday, 19:45 BST)

Harlequins come into this one still very much in with a chance of making it into the playoffs this season, with the side battling hard with Northampton above them and a number of teams below. Nine wins have come along with 11 losses which has seen them onto 51 points, meaning they are level on points with Northampton in fourth, with the final two games of the season what will decide who joins the top three sides. Despite the fact Quins are battling to go above Northampton in the table, they will be very wary of Sale (48 points), Wasps (47) and Bath (46), who are all sitting just below Quins and looking to pounce on any mistake. Leicester on the other hand have been awful this season, with the side unable to pick up any meaningful points this year. Seven wins in 20 have culminated in 39 points meaning they have a nine point lead over Newcastle at the bottom with only two games to go. The Tigers awful campaign has been something that has shocked many this year, and it will be incredibly interesting to see how they restructure next season should the side ensure they are playing in the Premiership next season. 

This match continues the perfect chance for Quins to get back to winning ways after embarking upon a torrid run of form in recent weeks. Five losses in the league is simply not good enough, although it should be noted that they have played against Exeter, Northampton, Saracens and Gloucester in four of their last five, with the current top-four all looking in very good shape. Leicester Tigers on the other hand have been struggling massively this campaign, with the side winning just twice in their last eight games. Their form over the entirety of the season has been awful, and once they have made sure of their place in the Premiership this season, they will look to build towards next year. With this in mind, and the fact Leicester have been awful, we are backing Quins to win with a -9 point handicap. 

Saracens vs Exeter (Saturday, 15:00 BST)

What a game we have on Saturday with the two best teams in England coming together for an epic battle. Exeter currently top the table with 81 points following 16 wins and four draws, with their +204 points difference incredibly impressive. Saracens meanwhile sit in second with 72 points following 15 wins in their 20. The Chiefs’ extra win along with their huge bonus point tally of 17 sees them holding a sizeable lead at the top, and while Sarries can still finish in first, it is incredibly unlikely they will rise above the league leaders. However, despite this, this game is incredibly important as it will give one of the two sides a huge mental advantage going into the playoffs, especially if the pair come together in the final.

Exeter’s recent form has been near-perfect, with the side winning six of their last seven games in a run that has helped them to put some real space between themselves and Sarries in second. Saracens meanwhile have been inconsistent of late, winning four of their last six games, with the reigning-champions stumbling somewhat lately. Recent form between the sides sees Exeter with the upper-hand, winning three of the last four matches between the pair. However, these three wins have been at home, and Saracens will point to the fact they have won every single one of their 10 home games so far in the league this year. With a Champions Cup final against Leinster to come, Sarries may have one eye on that match as well, but they will see this match against Exeter as the perfect chance to take on a top quality side without any silverware on the line, meaning they will likely already be in tournament mode, which does not often see them lose. 

Gloucester vs Newcastle (Saturday, 15:00 BST)

Gloucester have been superb this year, and they, like Exeter and Sarries, have clinched a playoff spot this season. 61 points have come from 12 wins, one draw and seven losses, and they currently boast a 10 point lead over Northampton and Harlequins in fourth and fifth respectively. Danny Cipriani has been the main man for the side across the season and he will be massive going into the final few games and the playoffs, with the playmaker looking to force his way into Eddie Jones’ England World Cup squad. Newcastle meanwhile have been awful, winning just six times all season as they have found the Premiership a very difficult place to ply their trade. The 30 points they have picked up means they are nine short of Leicester in 11th and they simply have to win their last two games with bonus points and hope Leicester do not pick up any sort of points or they will be in the Championship next season. Taking all of this into account, we think the Falcons will be in England’s second-tier next season, with their current campaign just not good enough.

Gloucester have been very impressive this season, winning four of their last five games as they continue to prove they are one of the strongest teams in the league, while their home form has been incredible, winning eight of their 10 home matches this year. Newcastle on the other hand have lost their last three in a row after winning their previous three games, while on the road, the Falcons have only won three times this year, with seven losses along the way. Form wise, this contest has seen Gloucester have the better of things with two wins in their last two, while they have won three of the last five and, with this in mind, we are backing Gloucester to comfortably win this one, with Newcastle there to be beaten right now. 

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Will Saracens close the gap on Exeter at the top? Get Premiership Rugby tips

The penultimate weekend of the Premiership season is upon us, with a huge round of games to come

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