This weekend's predictions!

Date published: September 21 2013

It is once again time for us to place our heads on the block and give you Planet Rugby's predictions for this weekend's global action.

It's time for us to put our heads on the block and give you Planet Rugby's calls for this weekend's global action.

The Rugby Championship takes a breather this week before its final two weeks of fixtures, but there is still plenty of action going on as Round Three of the Aviva Premiership and RaboDirect PRO12 accompany action from the Top 14.

So as we continue to settle into a new domestic season in Europe, cast your eye over the increased number of possible bets below.

Let's get started…

Aviva Premiership

Sale Sharks v London Wasps

Wasps have a 0 from 2 record so far this season but with a -5 points total, the picture painted could be very different ahead of their trip to Sale. Losing to Harlequins and most recently Exeter will not therefore have hurt morale too much so a +2 handicap is solid.

In fact, the Wasps to win by 1-5 points bet is worth a look at 9/2 as Sale come into this one following a shock home loss to Newcastle. No one expected that at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Danny Cipriani returns though and should come on for the final 20 or so minutes. So how about something for the headline writers – Cipriani kicking a penalty that hands Sale a narrow win late on. If that takes your fancy then Sale to win by one point is 20/1 or two points is at 18s.

Prediction: Wasps to sneak this one.

Gloucester v Northampton

Despite so much pre-season promise that was built on a maturing young English backline, Gloucester are coming into this game on the back of two defeats. Losses to Sale at Kingsholm and then at Saracens – the latter due largely to an early red card – has left them languishing in last place ahead of Week 3.

Saints meanwhile are flying with nine points from their opening games and we expect that to be improved upon when the full-time whistle blows at Kingsholm. George North is a decent shout for first try-scorer, as is the influential Kahn Fotuali'i, but we think the best option to take a gamble on here is Northampton to win by 1-12 points.

Prediction: Saints to compound Gloucester's woes with a hard-fought win.

RaboDirect PRO12

Glasgow Warriors v Leinster

Two victories from two has been a strong start for Glasgow but they've not won their opening three games of a season since 2002/03. We think that will change.

Leinster will be kicking themselves for not holding onto their lead against the Ospreys last week – we feel it is only a matter of time before the absence of Sean O'Brien, Brian O'Driscoll and several other internationals will see them fall to defeat. Glasgow to win by 1-12 points therefore at 8/5 seems good.

Also worth looking at is British and Irish Lion Stuart Hogg for first try at 14/1, which is particularly tasty due to Paddy Power offering a refund should a forward cross the whitewash first.

Prediction: Glasgow to make it three from three.

Connacht v Ulster

Could it happen? Ulster losing their opening three fixtures? Well, with new signing from the Chiefs, Craig Clarke, debuting and dangerous finisher Fionn Carr back in the Connacht starting line-up on the wing for this Sportsground clash then there is definitely a chance for the home side.

Carr is a good shout for first try-scorer, as too is Ulster powerhouse Nick Williams. But with rain expected, why not also back the 1-5 point win margin for either side.

Prediction: It promises to be a narrow win and we side with Connacht, just. They won't have a better chance than this to upset Ulster.

Top 14

Montpellier v Clermont

What a fixture to kick-off the Top 14 weekend as Friday sees Montpellier look to make a statement against Vern Cotter's Clermont at Stade Yves Du Manoir.

Rene Ranger and Robert Ebersohn are not with them just yet but the 50/1 Heineken Cup long shots still possess plenty of fire-power and enter this game as favourites.

Clermont though have not held back with their selection for this away game and named a quality backline that includes Morgan Parra, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Lee Byrne, Wesley Fofana and Naipolioni Nalaga, with the latter our pick for first try-scorer at 17/2. However, we also like Montpellier by 1-7 points at 21/10.

Prediction: Home win in a close contest.

Toulon v Bayonne

First impressions: the handicap line of 30 points seems too low for Toulon, particularly after Bayonne were smashed by 59 points at this venue last season.

Returning to the Toulon side will be Joe van Niekerk, who will not let anyone drop their standards.

Expect a big win for the Heineken Cup champions and also David Smith to get the ball rolling as first try-scorer at Stade Felix Mayol.

Prediction: Toulon to run riot.