We’re in for an interesting weekend of Rugby, with the bottom of the table coming to life as Gloucester take on neighbours Worcester Warriors, both teams desperate to prove a point as the early stages of this season unfold. Gloucester got their campaign off to an absolute flyer with a win over champions Exeter but have since gone cold and suffered losses on the road to both Leicester and Harlequins, who themselves have had a couple of falters in their early games. Can the home crowd at Kingsholm give Gloucester the edge they need to overcome their local rivals? Castle Grim has historically been a fortress where travelling teams feared tipping up on game day and the Cherry and Whites could be relied upon to provide strong competition to even the toughest opposition, but of late it has not been that way and if Ackerman “et al” want to start rebuilding Gloucester into a top third team, then they need to get the formula right in their own back yard first.
Worcester have had a miserable start to their premiership campaign and this to an extent is through no fault of their own, with the exception of Newcastle away (which is a tough one for a lot of teams) they have had to face down both last season’s champions and runners up in the space of two weeks! Coming off the back of that little melee, they are going to want to prove badly that they have what it takes to fight it out in the premiership for another season. The bouncing around between Championship and Premiership has been held by Bristol, Worcester and London Irish for so long that they must feel like they are trapped in a revolving door and you can feel that out of all those teams, it is Worcester that really want to jump out and start to build. Looking at what they have coming up in Saracens, Bath and Harlequins, they are going to go hell for leather to get those first points on the board this evening.
The polar opposite of Friday’s fixtures is Sunday’s 3 o’clock kick-off when Exeter and Wasps lock horns for the first time this season, you know there will be fireworks, and you know that Wasps are going to be hunting for redemption on last season’s championship loss. Wasps were absolutely formidable in the latter stages of last season and it comes as no surprise that both these teams are in virtual deadlock at the top of the table again this season. The pace, power and technical ability of these sides is matched by few others. Sarries seem to have lost a bit of that spark they had in 15-16 and it is all looking very changeable amongst the likes of Leicester, Bath and Quins. You can see Wasps and Exeter running away with it again this year, but hey, we’re a very short way into this season yet, but come season end one of these sides will probably be ruing the result this weekend.
The last fixture I am going to have my eyes on this weekend will be Harlequins Vs Leicester. These two always go at it hammer and tongs as Harlequins have been close but always out of contention in the league with Leicester since 2011 (when funnily they actually won the league, were crowned champions and achieved their first title) so this one is usually a great game to get hold of. Leicester have struggled to shine so far, and despite a shocking start to their campaign, Harlequins have come to life, winning their last two putting them firmly in the mid table mix.
So there we have it, another cracking weekend of a rugby sandwich should be in order. Gloucester, Worcester, Exeter and Wasps providing the bread and Leicester and Harlequins the filling. I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry for that.