It is that time of the week again when 'Orrible Punt sits in the Planet Rugby hot-seat to give his calls. Today, it's the Aviva Premiership.
It is that time of the week again when 'Orrible Punt sits down in the Planet Rugby hot-seat to give you his calls. Today, get set for the Premiership.
Remember you can contact Russ with all your comments and questions on Twitter – @rpetty80.
Harlequins vs Bath
Quins have lost their last three league games and struggled to match the second-half intensity of a fired up Munster team last Sunday. They have been 'doubled' by Exeter and Saracens this season and Bath won't need any further evidence that controlling the breakdown (and starving quick ball) is the key against them – they just need to refer back to their November win at the Rec. Quins have however won nine of their last eleven home league games against Bath by an average of 16-12 and beat them twice in the LV= Cup there this season. The last 20 meetings have averaged just 31 total points and 18 of them have seen less than 40 so it tends to be a low-scoring clash. If there are to be tries then they could be later on as Quins have conceded 12/30 tries in last 20 minutes and Bath 10/22. I will take a Quins win by 1-10 points in this one. Sin-bin backers could be in for a treat as there have been ten cards shown in nine Quins home games and twelve in nine Bath away games, as well as seven cards in the last eight league meetings and four in the two cup games this season. Familiarity breeds contempt and a fourth meeting in a season could see some grudges settled, while referee Wayne Barnes gave out three in the fixture last season and has averaged 1.8 a game in the league this year (22 in 12). He has also shown thirteen in his last eight Bath matches (eleven in last four) and twelve in his last eight Quins games.
Leicester vs Wasps
Wasps may have won an impressive eight of the last eleven league games with Leicester, but Tigers have won 20/22 meetings at Welford Road – by an average score of 26-13. The last eight clashes have been won by the home side on the day and in five of the last six, Leicester led at half-time. Tigers have won 7/9 games on their own patch this season by an average score of 25-16. They've only been outscored in the second-half in just 2/15 games there. Wasps have lost four straight league matches and 22 of the previous 25 away games. The hosts are without the services of Marcos Ayerza but bar that can name the team that caused Toulon plenty of problems. The visitors are without Marco Wentzel, Stephen Jones, Joe Launchbury, Andrea Masi et al and whilst an eye needs to be kept on try-scorer prices for their lethal wingers, I think a Leicester pack that has already scored eight penalty tries this season is going to be too much for Dai Young's side to handle. I'll take the early -13 point handicap available. The first-half has been highest scoring in seven of last eight meetings between sides, and 6/9 Wasps away games this season so that is a possible angle to get involved with. There have been seventeen cards shown in nine of the Tigers home games and twelve handed out in the last seven Wasps matches, with at least one card in twelve of their last fourteen away trips. Another game to back the sin-bin then.
Good luck to all!