Talisman Waldrom can lead the Chiefs’ charge
Exeter are a true test for Tigers
Leicester have won three league games on the trot to open up a handy gap over sixth-placed Northampton and keep the pressure on fourth-placed Bath in the battle for playoff berths.
But, with respect to Gloucester, Bristol and Harlequins, this tasty televised Premiership clash with second-placed Exeter at Welford Road is a truer test of whether or not the Tigers have found their mojo again under Aaron Mauger.
The Chiefs are in fine form themselves with just two defeats in 16 in all competitions. A 13-13 draw at third-placed champs Saracens and a 17-11 come-from-behind win at Bath are impressive efforts on the road.
It is also impossible to miss the fact that the West Countrymen are scoring tries for fun. They have claimed a try bonus in the seven matches since the draw at Sarries including a 35-35 home draw with leaders Wasps.
Rather than a bet on Exeter to stay within five points, back their powerhouse number eight and ex-Tiger Thomas Waldrom to score a try.
Waldrom has been the league’s top tryscorer for the last two seasons and while he has been less prolific in this campaign, he crossed the whitewash in the Chiefs’ 31-10 win over Leicester at Sandy Park in December and has barged over in the league at Wasps, Bristol and Newcastle.
Leicester struggled to keep Quins’ rolling maul in check at the Stoop last Friday and pack drives are a destructive feature of Exeter’s gameplan with Waldrom frequently being the focus.
In the Pro12, second-placed Ospreys look worth a wager to win at Edinburgh.
Ospreys have won 14 of their last 15 matches in all competitions including away league games at Glasgow and the Dragons and that one defeat was at home to third-placed Munster to a last-gasp try.
Edinburgh have been edged out in both matches at Myreside since making it their home and have also struggled to hold leaders Leinster and Ulster on the road in the last month.
Champions Connacht are going well enough after a slow start to the campaign to give up 28 points to bottom-of-the table Zebre (TG4, 7.35pm) but heavy rain is forecast for Galway and they have had only a five-day turnaround since a trip to Treviso.
An outlay on lively backrower Naulia Dawai scoring a try appeals most. Dawai scored the winning try from a close-range lineout drive when Wasps were stunned at the Sportsground in the Champions Cup.
Ulster are asked to give up 30 points to Treviso in Belfast (BBC2 Northern Ireland, 7.35pm) so, with rain forecast, a backrow tryscorer bet looks best again.
Sean Reidy has scored two in his last five outings for Ulster.
T Waldrom to score a try in Leicester v Exeter
1pt 7-4 bet365
2pts 5-6 bet365
N Dawai to score a try in Connacht v Zebre
1pt 11-4 Betfair, Paddy Power
S Reidy to score a try in Ulster v Treviso
1pt 16-5 Betfair, Paddy Power