//Relegation battle starts to hot up

Relegation battle starts to hot up

With just a few weeks of the Gallagher English Premiership remaining, it looks like Exeter Chiefs have done enough to clinch top spot.

The south coast club currently have a nine point lead over second-placed Saracens, while Gloucester are third and a further 12 points back.

But a nail-biting finish is expected for those teams locked at the bottom of the table, with as many as eight able to go down this year.

Northampton Saints have 41 points but that is still only 12 clear of 12th-placed Newcastle Falcons.

Sale Sharks are sixth and one point worse off than Northampton, while Bath sit on 39 points.

Wasps have 37, Bristol Bears have 36, while Leicester (34), Worcester (32) and Newcastle (29) wrap up the bottom half.

It is now going to be a gruelling few weeks for those teams, with just five games remaining.

Northampton will feel they have too many points at present, but the Saints play three of the top four in their final few games.

The same can be said of Sale and Bath and the former are expected to ease their fears by beating Harlqeuins on Friday night, which is best priced at 1/2.

For the first time in many years, the Premiership could be about to lose one of the ‘big boys’.

Leicester have never finished in the bottom half of the table since the Premiership started in 1987 but they are as big as 8/1 to finish last.

With just three wins in 19 in all competitions, they cannot be ruled out at that price.

Leicester’s only saving grace may come in their next three games, with Newcastle and Bristol still to come.

The Falcons are still 26/19 to be bottom come May 18, which is a big price considering their current position.

Worcester can also not be ignored and they have been fighting for safety ever since returning to the top flight in 2015.

9/4 is the current top price for them to finish last, while they are as big as 3/1 to beat Wasps away this Saturday.