Predictions: Rugby Championship and more

Date published: September 16 2016

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It’s all go this weekend as we head into the fourth round of the Rugby Championship, along with the latest rounds of action in Europe.

South Africa head to New Zealand with little hope after their loss to the Wallabies, while Argentina's clash with Australia could turn out to be one of the best games of the tournament this year.

Meanwhile the pick of the Premiership fixtures sees Saracens face off against Northampton Saints, in a rematch of the 2014 final. There's also a repeat of the Top 14 final from last season, with champions Racing 92 welcoming visitors Toulon. And finally in the PRO12, Cardiff Blues will get their biggest test of the season so far when they face in-form Glasgow Warriors on Friday.

RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP

First things first, you can still sign up for our Rugby Championship fantasy game with our friends over at SuperBru. It’s been great fun so far.

New Zealand v South Africa

Preview: The All Blacks look unstoppable at the moment while the Springboks are with their backs against the wall. It’s that underdog mindset which has served them well in the past, but this is the worst Bok team in more than a decade facing a very complete New Zealand.

Prediction: It should be a one sided affair for the most part with New Zealand set to clinch the Rugby Championship title with a bonus-point victory. All Blacks by 20-30.

Australia v Argentina

Preview: Australia showed plenty of character to fight back from a 14-3 deficit against South Africa but they can ill afford a similar start against los Pumas who have shown in the last two years that they have the ability to control the tempo of the match if they get ahead.

Prediction: There will be little separating these sides and don't be surprised if it goes down to the wire. The Wallabies have their tails up though and home ground advantage will be decisive, so Australia will win by three points.

PREMIERSHIP

Remember to join our predictions pool over on SuperBru, right here.

Saracens v Northampton

It's a credit to the depth that Saracens have at the moment that Sean Maitland drops to the bench to be replaced by Chris Wyles, despite scoring two tries last weekend in the win over Exeter Chiefs. Saracens since clicking into gear after half-time against Worcester have looked outstanding and will be pumped up for a first home game of the season at Allianz Park.

But Northampton have caused them all sorts of problems in recent seasons, and the Saints clinical first half against Bristol proved that their attack can still cut it with the best, Stephen Myler playing with real authority at fly-half. That said, it would be wrong to go against the champions given both their form and home advantage. Saracens by six.

Other Premiership predictions:

Sale Sharks v Gloucester: Sharks by 5
Bath v Worcester Warriors: Bath by 18
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins: Chiefs by 8
Wasps v Bristol: Wasps by 20
Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers: Tigers by 6


PRO12

Cardiff Blues v Glasgow Warriors

The Blues' one-point win over Munster last Friday in Ireland felt like a real statement from a side who are making strides under the tutelage of head coach Danny Wilson in his second season. It took a monumental defensive effort to cling on in Cork after Dan Fish's late converted try but they did just do that, and the belief that comes from a win like that can't be bought. After dispatching Edinburgh 34-16 in Round 1 the Blues will come into this in high spirits. Glasgow however look like the team to beat so far, following big wins over both Connacht and Leinster. Warriors by 7.

Other PRO12 predictions:

Ulster v Scarlets: Ulster by 6
Edinburgh v Leinster: Leinster by 8
Zebre v Connacht: Connacht by 5
Newport Gwent Dragons v Munster: Munster by 9
Ospreys v Treviso: Ospreys by 30


Top 14

Racing 92 v Toulon

You could hear the sigh of relief from Diego Dominguez echoing across France after his side got their act together with an important away win over Toulouse in Round 4, but life doesn't get any easier in the Top 14 for last season's beaten finalists as they head north for another shot at Racing. Charles Ollivon has been in top form at number eight for Toulon and will hope to continue that against a Racing outfit missing key midfield man Henry Chavancy. Racing also come into this after taking a thumping from Clermont at the Stade Marcel Michelin. That won't do against rivals like Toulon, but it's a 50-50 call. Racing by 3.

Other Top 14 predictions: 

Lyon v Toulouse: Toulouse by 5
Bayonne v Montpellier: Montpellier by 8
Brive v La Rochelle: La Rochelle by 6
Pau v Stade Français: Pau by 3
Clermont v Bordeaux-Bègles: Clermont by 12
Castres v Grenoble: Castres by 10

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