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England Premiership weekend preview: Play-off battle approaches dramatic end

The race for the top four has been the talking point of the Premiership for the past few weeks and soon we will learn who join frontrunners Saracens in the play-offs.

All the Premiership action gets underway on Friday evening with Northampton Saints looking for a big win against Newcastle Falcons to keep their top-four hopes alive.

Big night ahead for Saints

WhatNewcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints
WhereKingston Park, Newcastle
When19:45, Friday 21st April 2023
How to watchBT Sport 1
OddsNewcastle Falcons 11/4, Tie 25/1, Northampton 2/7

Northampton Saints are set for the final game of the regular season when they make the trip to the North East to face rock-bottom Newcastle Falcons.

Saints and East Midlands rivals Leicester Tigers are the only two teams with just a single match remaining in their hopes of finishing in the top four.

Northampton’s win over Saracens last time out at Franklin’s Gardens gives them hope, as they occupy fourth place going into their trip to Kingston Park.

All Saints can do now is focus on securing a bonus point win at Newcastle and then nervously watch on as their fate will be decided with results elsewhere over the next fortnight.

Northampton will be going all out for points and are 10/11 to win with a -9.5 Handicap at Kingston Park.

Europe the focus for Exeter

WhatExeter Chiefs v Bristol Bears
WhereSandy Park, Exeter
When15:00, Saturday 22nd April 2023
How to watchPRTV

Exeter Chiefs' 62-19 hammering at the hands of Leicester last time out saw the end of their faint hopes of reaching the play-offs.

With a European Champions Cup semi-final at La Rochelle to look forward to on 30th April, the Chiefs will be fully focused on their clash across the Channel.

Bristol also have nothing out pride to play for in this encounter, but due to the club’s locations there should still be a bit of extra bite about this dead rubber in mid-table.

Quins face uphill battle

WhatHarlequins v Bath
WhereTwickenham Stoop, London
When15:00, Saturday 22nd April 2023
How to watchBT Sport 2
OddsHarlequins  1/7, Tie 33/1, Bath 9/2 

Harlequins are another side who have probably given themselves too much to do at this late stage of the season.

Quins could already be out of the play-off picture before kick-off against Bath, if Northampton have won on Friday night.

It has been a season to forget for Bath and Quins should still fall on the right side of the -13 Handicap at 10/11, even if there is only pride to play for.

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Sale can secure home semi-final

WhatGloucester v Sale Sharks
WhereKingsholm Stadium, Gloucester 
When17:30, Saturday 22nd April 2023
How to watchBT Sport 2
OddsGloucester  15/8, Tie 20/1, Sale Sharks 4/9

Sale Sharks will be focused on making sure they have a home play-off semi-final to look forward to when they travel to Gloucester on Saturday.

With the Tigers hot on their heels, Sale can avoid a nervy final day of the regular season by winning at a Cherry & Whites side who have also underwhelmed this year.

Sale should win this one comfortably and are 1/1 with a -5 Handicap.

Must-win clash for Exiles

WhatSaracens v London Irish
WhereStoneX Stadium, London
When15:00, Sunday 23rd April 2023
How to watchBT Sport 1
OddsSaracens 1/3, Tie 25/1, London Irish 12/5

Saracens have the luxury of a home semi-final already assured, but they will also be wanting to take some winning momentum into the post-season.

London Irish are firmly in the mix for the play-offs after what has been a very positive regular season campaign for the Exiles.

Irish have everything on the line in this one and that could give them the edge to cause an upset in this capitalderby on Sunday.

The Exiles are well priced at 12/5 to claim the win that would still give them a shot at the play-offs going into the final weekend.

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