Friday's Premiership predictions and rugby union tips: Exeter won't have it easy
Warriors unlikely to put up much of a fight at Newcastle
Free rugby tips, best bets and analysis for Friday's Premiership games.
Where to watch
Bath v Exeter
BT Sport 1, 7.45pm Friday
Exeter to win by one to 12 points
1pt 7-4 Ladbrokes, Coral
1pt 10-11 general
A galaxy of international stars return to Exeter's line-up for their trip to Bath as the Chiefs look to hit the accelerator as the end of the year approaches.
Four wins from their first eight games is below-par return for Rob Baxter’s title hopefuls, and it has left them trailing leaders Leicester by 17 points.
Baxter views the next six weeks as a crunch period in Exeter’s season and has demanded a big performance against a Bath side rooted to the foot of the table after seven straight losses.
Bath have conceded on average over 33 points per game this year and it was no surprise to see them put out an urgent call for a new defence coach after local rivals Gloucester put 71 points on a youthful Bath side in the Premiership Cup.
However, the team selected for Friday's contest is far stronger with scrum-half Ben Spencer fit after injury and England duo Charlie Ewels and Sam Underhill back to bolster their pack.
Exeter are also reinforced by the return of internationals Stuart Hogg, Henry Slade and Sam Simmonds but even when their big guns have played this year, they haven't found top gear on their travels.
The Chiefs’ three away wins have all come by ten points or fewer and while Bath have suffered one sizeable home loss to Saracens this season, they are usually competitive at The Rec.
Newcastle are only three points behind Exeter after an excellent start to the season and can chalk up a fifth win in seven at Worcester’s expense.
The Warriors have lost their last 15 away games and head to the North East with the worst defensive record in the Premiership.
Newcastle have won the pair's last three meetings at Kingston Park by ten or more points and Worcester look easy prey for a Falcons team who welcome back exciting winger Adam Radwan.
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