Our Cornish friends over at MaulOver podcast have had a good look into their crystal ball and come up with their predictions for a great weekend of rugby. Let us know your thoughts…
Friday 2nd December
Sale v Exeter
Sale will take a break from their efforts to sign every winger in the Super League, to welcome an in-form Exeter to the AJ Bell. The home side will hope for an improvement in their tackling, which, against Wasps last week, registered and 8.2 on the O’Gara Scale. The Chiefs are finally hitting their straps, buoyed by the return of Will Chudley who has added tempo, with fit again Dave Ewers and Don Armand set to contribute some much missed grunt to their ball carrying.
Ben – Exeter by 7, Russ – Exeter by 10, George- Exeter by 12, Phil- Exeter by 4
Saturday 3rd December
England v Australia
Injuries to Billy Vunipola’s knee and Elliot Daly’s judgement will see England making changes to a winning side. Nathan Hughes is ready to slot in at number eight while on the wing, Semesa Rokoduguni, who caught the eye against Fiji will miss out to Marland Yarde, who caught the ball against South Africa. Australia will hope to spoil a Twickenham party for second year running, and with Israel Folau and Bernard Foley leading a dangerous back division, look to be in a better place than the outfit that was kicked around Australia in the summer.
Ben – England by 4, Russ – England by 10, George- England by 6, Phil- England by 6
Bath v Saracens
Bath will hope that the return of some of their international stars will alleviate the injury crisis that has engulfed the Rec, but despite the arrival of Ben Tapuai their back-line will continue to have a makeshift look without George Ford and Jonathan Joseph. The Saracens squad still retains a strong appearance despite injuries and international absence and rumours abound that Maro Itoje is nearing a return. Now that Brad Barritt has the scent of the try-line in his nostrils, the visitors will hope to take advantage of Bath’s frailty.
Ben – Saracens by 12, Russ – Saracens by 10, George- Saracens by 15, Phil- Bath by 2
Gloucester v Bristol
Gloucester turned in a fine performance for the second consecutive week at Saracens and, on Saturday, will hope to make it three in a row for the first time since 1994. The home side welcome back Ross Moriarty and Greig Laidlaw and should have too much for a Bristol side who, despite some signs of promise from a new Searle/ Hurrell/ Woodward combination in midfield, have yet to win in the league this season.
Ben – Gloucester by 19, Russ – Gloucester by 8, George- Bristol by 3, Phil- Gloucester by 15
Leicester v Northampton
If it wasn’t for the promise of the gratuitous violence, that always simmers under the surface of an East-Midlands derby, few fans would be looking forward to this mid-table clash. Saints will hope that Louis Picamoles is able to return as tries have been in short supply without him. Leicester have Manu Tuilagi set to commence a three game run before his next injury and he will be raring to join forces with the in-form half back pairing of Sam Harrison and Freddie Burns.
Ben – Leicester by 9, Russ – Leicester by 14, George-Leicester by 1, Phil- Leicester by 12
Sunday 4th December
Newcastle v Harlequins
Newcastle should approach this clash with confidence high after a fine away win last week. Joel Hodgson has given Falcons some much needed unpredictability and will hope to take advantage of Harlequins appalling form away from home. Much will depend on the back-row battle, Jack Clifford has returned impressively from injury to join an in form James Chisholm but they will have their work cut out against Newcastle’s unit of Callum Chick, Ally Hogg and the disappointingly not named after an animal, Mark Wilson.
Ben – Newcastle by 2, Russ – Quins by 5, George- Quins by 6, Phil- Draw
Worcester v Wasps
Having been taken to the cleaners at Exeter last week, Worcester will be desperate for a better performance against Wasps in what has now become a local derby. The Warriors have been left somewhat behind in the table and will be grateful for the battered corpse of Bristol propping up the league below them. The Coventry All-Stars on the other hand are flying high in second place and, if Danny Cipriani can take a week off from gifting tries to the opposition, will be confident that their high-paced backs will prove too much for a depleted Worcester.
Ben – Wasps by 21, Russ – Wasps by 11, George- Wasps by 19, Phil- Wasps by 15