So into Round 4 we go and the table is starting to look quite familiar especially with Exeter now off the bottom. As a big fan of the Premiership I love the ding dongs that go on between clubs, the traditional rivalries like Leicester Tigers and Bath as well as the new one that is mesmerising us all Saracens and Northampton!
As for what we have in store this week I think the two fixtures that jump out are my old club Wasps visit to the Saints and Bath’s trip over to play Leicester. Wasps are on fire at the moment with just oodles of talent cutting teams apart. Whilst Danny Cipriani scooped up all the headlines when he returned to Wasps it is the man beside him who has been playing the best rugby. Take a bow Jimmy Gopperth. JG has been superb so far adding an extra ball distributer to the Wasp backline and of course killing teams with his dead eye kicking. He is a treat all over the pitch. Wasps look in a good place and with a couple of superstars waiting in the wings have not even come close to putting out their strongest team.
As for Northampton they might not look in a good place but their defence has been unbelievable. They showed against Saracens all the old, knarly fighting spirit that has been missing for a while and their French superstar Picamoles has added some real beef and aggression. If they can get themselves up like they did against Saracens this game could be a close one.
Over at the other Midlands club Tigers have really wobbled so far. Pantomime villain Richard Cockerill will be louder than ever in training this week and desperate for the guys to put Bath in their place. Cockers of all people knows the Bath Leicester rivalry matters to the fans and another home defeat will be hard for everyone involved at the club to swallow. I cant really make out what has gone wrong for Leicester although looking at their team sheet you don’t see the list of brutal international forwards that used to jump out at you whenever you played them. When their Aussie signing eventually joins them that is going to add some real high class magic in the backline but they look like they could do with someone similar to Picamoles at Saints or Schalk Burger at Sarries to lift that forward pack.
Team psychology and management are under rated in my mind. Look at Bath last season. They were pretty woeful considering all the talent they had. Now with their new coach and a handful of classy signings they look a totally different team. This game however is a big old test for them as they managed to nearly mess up against Worcester last week with an underwhelming first half.
Glos will be looking to capitalise on their win up north last weekend as they invite Newcastle down to Castle Grim to see if they can put the iffy start to the season behind them and wrap up some decent points, but you're never going to write off the Falcons and I reckon the Kingsholm faithful will be in for a good afternoon of rugby here.
Bristol have really had a run of it in their first season back in the prem and it isnt going to get any easier for them as they take on Exeter, but they have shown a lot of willing and home advantage is a powerful thing, so let's see how they go, unfortunately I think the wait may be on a little longer for some points though.
Worcester are back in action at Sixways this weekend and they will be looking to make the most of the visit from Sale Sharks with a home win meaning a switch around in the league table as Sale currently enjoy 8th position with Worcester propping up 11th with only Bristol as buffer to the drop zone, but I feel some grit and determination here will see the Warriors having a good afternoon. Asides from the mauling they suffered at the hands of Saints, they have shown real determination and got a decent draw against Glos despite a one man disadvantage and put good points on the board against Bath, so I reckon they'll go well this weekend.
Ding dong – Round 4 – let battle commence.