Gallagher Premiership playoff race

Gallagher Premiership Playoff race
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With just four rounds remaining, the Gallagher Premiership playoff race tightens, but which teams will manage to overcome the body aches and pains that are beginning to set in and grasp onto a semi-final spot.  Despite the fact, Leicester Tigers and Saracens have already booked a place in the semis, the race for 3rd and 4th place still remains tight: Harlequins, Exeter, Northampton, Sale, and Gloucester all remain contenders, with London Irish having an outside chance

 

How does the playoff race stand?

Harlequins

The defending champions, on 68 points currently have a difficult remainder to the tournament.  Quins play Tigers, Saints, Gloucester, and Chiefs, all teams in the playoff race.  Harlequins’ upcoming battles will be no mean feat, but with the return of Marcus Smith, Alex Dombrandt, Joe Marler, and Joe Marchant from international duty, Quins’ confidence will increase significantly.  Not only from that but also from their bonus-point victory over London Irish, spearheaded by Marcus Smith’s excellent game management.

Predicted outcome:

Away semi-final vs Saracens.
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Exeter Chiefs

On 62 points, currently, fourth-placed Chiefs are in a dangerous position.  With only three games remaining for them, in which they will have to play Saracens and Harlequins.  Their lackluster performance against the Tigers was a sign of trouble.  Despite the bonus-point win against 13th placed Bath, they struggled immensely in the first half. Moreover, the Chiefs could struggle massively against Harlequins and Saracens, they have just lacked the intensity and pace they had last year.

Predicted outcome:

Seventh place, finishing on 68 points.

 

Northampton Saints

Currently, on 58 points with four games in hand, the Saints are in a strong position to contend.  Saints play Bath, Harlequins, Saracens, and Newcastle.   Saints will hope for two bonus-point wins against struggling Bath and Newcastle which would put them to 68 points.  Furthermore, if they could squeeze a win against either Harlequins or Saracens that would almost certainly secure their play-off spot.  However, despite their international filled team, a semi-final spot is questionable.

Predicted outcome:

Sixth place, finishing on 69 points.

Sale Sharks

Next on the list, the Sharks currently on 56 points have three games remaining, however three very winnable games.  They play teams all in the bottom, five: Newcastle, Wasps, and Bristol.  After two rocky performances against Bath and Saracens, their confidence will be shaky.  However, with the news of Faf de Klerk and Lood de Jager leaving the Sharks at the end of the season, they will look to absolutely tear it up in the final games of the season to give Ashton Gate a final present, potentially with a bonus-point win against Newcastle.

Predicted outcome:

Fifth place on 70 points
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Gloucester

Gloucester will be very disappointed in their previous game against Wasps, they lacked a certain clinical edge that was needed to put the game to bed.  Despite this, Gloucester are still well in the hunt.   If you count Worcester’s forfeiting of their match as a win for Gloucester, they would be on 59 points in 5th place.  In addition, in their remaining four games they play both Bath and Bristol.   If Adam Hastings can recover his form from last year, they will hope for at least one bonus point from these two games. Unfortunately, though, Gloucester will still have to face an in-form Saracens and Harlequins.  These upcoming games for Gloucester are crucial in pursuit of a spot in the semis.

Predicted outcome:

Fourth place, away semi-final vs Leicester, beating Sale on points difference

 

London Irish

The Exiles, although still in the completion have slim chances at a playoff spot.  Three from three bonus-point wins are required and as well all the other contending teams to seriously fumble their opportunities.    This task seems just slightly too big for London Irish.

Predicted outcome:

8th place.

 

Final conclusions

The predicted 3rd and 4th place spots will be stolen by Harlequins and Gloucester, with them facing Saracens and Leicester respectively, but by no stretch of the imagination should one count out any of the other contenders in the Gallagher premiership playoff race, there’s still a lot of rugby to be played.

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