5 things we learnt from round 17 of the Gallagher Premiership

Could Tigers be relegated?

For a lot of this season there has been speculation and jokes as to whether Tigers could go down at the end of the season. But now those jokes might turn into reality, Leicester sit tenth in the table and just five points away from the dreaded 12thplace. The harsh truth is that if Worcester and Newcastle start winning more games than Tigers do reglation could be real.

Leicester have a relatively easy fixture list bar Exeter, well that is normally the way you would look at the remaining fixtures however, Bristol, Quins, Newcastle and Bath could all beat the deflated tigers.  Tigers have never finished in the bottom half of the Premiership but they have only won six league games this season. 

There has been vast criticism over Leicester’s strategy throughout the season and a lot being pinpointed at the coaching. But there are only so many coaches a club can go through before you need to look at problems elsewhere and with Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh on good form the only thing to say is, surely it can’t be down to coaching?

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Exeter start buying your tickets

It wasn’t pretty but it didn’t need to be; all Exeter needed to do against Bath was win to guarantee them a top four place. They are the first side with the semi-final security blanket around them. The way that they have performed from the outset this season has been something quite remarkable, a relentless fire and drive regardless of whether they are home or away. Out of 17 games, they have lost three and have a points difference of 177. They are extremely hard to beat and securing their semi-final spot with still five rounds to play is an extremely big testament to their season. 

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Don’t just kick the ball out

Alex Lozowski there’s still five seconds left and Danny Care will score a try! Although Saracens got the win on Saturday, their performance wasn’t exactly one to write home about, especially in the first half. Simple errors, such as the kick at the end of the first half was one of Saracens downfalls, with the half never getting much momentum behind it. Mark McCall decided to give his international players a week off ahead of their quarter final match against Glasgow Warriors this weekend. Although the London derby is big, it wasn’t a win that Saracens desperately needed to hold down their playoff spot, but more a game to hinder the chances of their oppositions top four contentions.

The second half came to life more with some flashes of yellow being seen in each direction and Saracens eventually got the job done, but not having their international stars on stage has cost them during this Six Nations period. 

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Newcastle, I cry with you

Seeing some of the Newcastle players drop to their feet in tears on Saturday evening after their momentous win over Sale at St James Park brought a tear to my eye as I am sure it did to others. The relief on the player’s faces was something truly remarkable when they realised that the relegation spot might not be there’s just yet.

The Falcon’s fall from grace has been painful to watch given their outstanding performances last season that saw them make it just one match away from Twickenham. 

Newcastle now need to start winning desperately if they stand any chance of remaining in top flight English rugby. Not only this, but they will need to rely on results from Tigers and Worcester being in their favour. It is a long shot but as we’ve seen in this season before, anything can happen.

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Gloucester book your places for the semi final

I will say it now; Gloucester will have a home semi-final. Their intentions this season have been top four and the way that they have been playing cements their hopes. There has been speculation over whether playmaker Danny Cipriani will stay with the Cherry and Whites but regardless of what his plans next season are, Gloucester will be relying on him more than ever to help them book a place in the final.

Since arriving in Gloucestershire, Cipriani has shaken off of his bad boy persona (or at least nearly) and has really focused on developing himself as a player to stake a claim in the England squad. In turn, this has massively benefitted Gloucester as they not only have multiple plays coming off of him but rely on him for his instinctiveness in play to help create space for some of their tries. With Saracens starting to lose the occasional game Gloucester are hot on their heels to take the second-place spot away from them. It is a possibility that Gloucester can make a home semi-final and if they do, my goodness Kingsholm would be a place to visit.

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