Gareth Chilcott: We can expect one of the best Bath-Gloucester derbies tonight
Bath against Gloucester is always a big game that affects two cities in a major way, and it is a game that deserves its own spotlight and to not be overshadowed by the Six Nations.
So I am pleased this evening's game falls when it does and not on a Six Nations weekend. Many people will already be thinking about England's game against Italy next weekend, or Scotland against Wales, but this weekend is about the Aviva Premiership – where the games don't come any bigger than Bath versus Gloucester.
Unfortunately, we are talking about the teams in fourth and seventh place in the Premiership, not first and second, but where the sides are in the league table tends to have little bearing on the occasion when they meet.
Bath, since bringing in Peter Stringer, have looked like a different team, and they were beaten at Northampton last weekend, while Gloucester won there a few weeks earlier.
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Gloucester are three places above Bath and will have their sights set on reaching the play-offs, while Bath are seven points off the pace but will be looking to put a run together until the end of the season and climb into the top four.
Earlier in the season, I may have felt Gloucester would have had too much for Bath, but I think we can expect one of the best derbies for a while this evening. The players may not all be from the area these days but the supporters still are – and this match means so much to them. The tension in both cities this week will have been palpable. I wouldn't like to pick a winner, but if Bath lose they fall 9-12 points behind Gloucester and their season could fizzle out.
Bristol travel to Bedford in the Championship tomorrow – and, for all the talk of next season, a win at Goldington Road would give Bristol real belief that there is still plenty to play for this season.
Newcastle have been fantastic, and, don't get me wrong, they will start as huge favourites to win the play-offs. But we know all too well what has happened in the past – and Bristol seem to be hitting form at a good time.
Winning at a place like Bedford would reinforce the belief that promotion this season is not beyond the realms of possibility. And I don't buy any of that 'we'll go up when we're ready' nonsense – you get yourself up into the Premiership as soon as you can.
Bristol will have a few guys coming back from injury soon, plus Andy Robinson is in their corner now, and they should go to Bedford – and into the rest of the season – brimming with confidence.
On the subject of England, they have done fantastically well so far in this Six Nations, and this really does have the feel of a bright new era for English rugby.
They are playing some good stuff, they are playing with maturity, and from the rain of Dublin to the pressure put on them by France, they are coping with whatever challenge is presented to them.
They are not the finished article yet, although they should probably win the championship from the position they have got themselves into.
But, if they lose to Wales in Cardiff and win the tournament on points difference in a fortnight's time, I still think there will be an asterisk next to their title success.
Because, if Wales scupper England's Grand Slam hopes, there will be a sense of disappointment, even if the title is won. England still have to beat Italy, and Wales have to beat Scotland, to set up a great occasion in Cardiff – and I hope it does go down to the wire.
And, if England win the Grand Slam, it will give them a huge foundation for the next Rugby World Cup.