Imagine Rugby Blogs

Two stand out games full of interest

Favourites backed to take the points

Posted Sep 10, 2010 by Jeff Dawson

Australia v New Zealand

There’s two games I’ll be looking out for on this weekend’s rugby calendar – the culmination of the Tri-Nations when Australia entertain New Zealand and the Aviva Premiership fixture between champions Leicester Tigers and new-boys Exeter Chiefs.

Both take place tomorrow (Saturday), the International kicking off at 11am (BST), live on Sky Sports 1 and the domestic match starting at 5.30pm, live on ESPN.

With New Zealand already confirmed as Tri-Nations champions, it’ll be interesting to see how they go about this fixture. They will no doubt want to beat their fiercest rivals in their own back yard, and they certainly have the ability to achieve that, but pride may be their biggest adversary. The Wallabies will want to end what has been a frustrating tournament for them well and they have the chance to make a statement of their own as the big rugby nations start to think about next year’s World Cup in New Zealand.

I’m predicting an All Blacks victory by at least 10 points.

On the domestic front, the reason I chose the Leicester v Exeter game is simple. The Tigers got off to a poor defeat at bitter rivals Northampton last weekend whilst new-boys Exeter laid down a marker by hammering Gloucester.

Exeter have put a lot of effort and money into staying in the Premiership following their promotion last season and this may be the biggest test of all for them.

Welford Road is a fortress for the reigning champions and it’s going to take a lot of effort, and luck, for the Chiefs to get anything from this game. But, as the unknown quantity in this division, they may be able to pull a surprise and claim the victory. I would love to see the underdog win this one. I certainly can’t wait to see how it unfolds but I’m going to air on the side of caution and go for a Tigers win. Head is ruling heart with that one.

Other games in the top division include: Newcastle v Wasps on Friday night, Bath v London Irish, Gloucester v Leeds Carnegie, Harlequins v Northampton and Saracens v Sale.

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