IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Exeter Chiefs may have made history last weekend with victory over Bath, but Phil Dollman insists the quality within the Premiership means they can't afford to ease off for a second.
The Chiefs have made impressive progress since gaining promotion in 2010, reaching their first Premiership final last year.
However, it took until the last day of 2016 for them to finally record victory over rivals Bath at the Rec in the competition, coming courtesy of two late tries from wing James Short.
That was enough to move them up to third in the table following their fifth straight league win.
But Dollman knows that, despite the win, there is still room for improvement, especially with the fact that they let Bath move into an initial 11-0 half-time lead.
And with champions Saracens next up on the horizon on Saturday, the Chiefs fullback revealed there had been a lot of important reflection over the course of this week.
"We can take a lot of confidence from the Bath game. We didn't perform but we got the result. We know we can perform better than that," he said.
"We've played a lot better than that and come out on the other end of results.
"This week is probably a good one to look at things. We got the win and that felt great. But when you analyse things, there's a lot there to be improved on and that's a good way to look at ourselves.
"I wouldn't have said there's been an easy game for a long time. It does seem like the quality of the Premiership has taken a step up in the last few years.
"We're hopefully making that step up again ourselves, stepping on from last year and improving as do the other teams so we've just got to try and improve a little bit more.
"It's a big test against Saracens, they've proven their quality already this year and previous seasons. It will give us a good indicator of where we are.
"We've improved the last five or six weeks so we can go there and see what we are about."
Despite their recent run of form, Exeter will head to Allianz Park aware they have lost their last four encounters with Saracens, including last season's Premiership Final at Twickenham.
Their most recent defeat saw Saracens run in five tries in the 13-34 loss at Sandy Park in September and Dollman admits his team must not switch off again if they want to turn the tables on their opponents.
"It's that 80 minute performance," he said. "Whenever you play Saracens if you don't put in an 80 minute performance you're going to find it tough to get a good result against them because they go again and they are looking for errors off you all the time so we've got to be very clinical.
"If we can stop them playing our game, maybe we'll get the ball back and launch against them and get on the front foot.
"They've got a strong kicking game with a strong chase but a lot of teams have in the league.
"We've got to front up to start with because if they get on us physically then you are in for a tough day.
"They played well against us last year, they really exposed us defensively so we’ve really got to be on our mettle."
We look ahead to all the Round 13 action!
Friday, January 6:
Newcastle Falcons v Bath
(Kingston Park - Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)
The Falcons have scored 23 tries in the 12 rounds of the Premiership this season and 10 of those have come in the last two home games.
Bath have not won away from home in any competition since their trip to Exeter in the Premiership on October 30.
Newcastle's solitary victory in their last dozen meetings with Bath in the Premiership was 19-14 at Kingston Park in this equivalent fixture last season played on January 2.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Belisario Agulla, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Opeti Fonua, 7 Will Welch (captain), 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Evan Olmstead, 4 Calum Green, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Will Witty, 20 Sean Robinson, 21 Michael Young, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Fred Burdon.
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Aled Brew, 10 George Ford (captain), 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Paul Grant, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Robbie Fruean.
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: John Meredith, Wayne Falla
TMO: Keith Lewis
Saturday, January 7:
Gloucester v Worcester Warriors
(Kingsholm - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Earlier in the season this fixture produced a sensational 23-23 draw. Gloucester's five-game winning run at Kingsholm in all tournaments ended with their single point defeat to Northampton on New Year's Day.
Worcester Warriors doubled their tally of victories in the Premiership this season with their 24-17 win at home to Harlequins in Round 12. The Warriors have yet to record a single league point from their six away games in the tournament this season.
Worcester have lost just one of their last four Premiership fixtures against the Cherry & Whites and that was by only two points at Kingsholm in Round Three last season. The Warriors only victory at Gloucester in competition rugby was 13-6 in the Premiership in April 2009.
Gloucester: 15 James Hook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jonny May, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jacob Rowan, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 John Afoa, 19 Joe Latta, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Andy Symons, 23 Henry Purdy.
Worcester: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Dean Hammond, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Ryan Mills, 9 Michael Dowsett, 8 Phil Dowson (captain), 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Alafoti Faosiliva, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Na’ama Leleimalefaga, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Will Spencer, 21 Marco Mama, 22 Luke Baldwin, 23 Ben Howard.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Thomas Foley, Luke Pearce
TMO: David Sainsbury
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs
(Allianz Park - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Saracens have lost just one of their last eight first team fixtures: 11-14 at Bath in the Premiership on December 3. Sarries are unbeaten in any home game since Northampton visited Allianz Park in the Premiership on March 5.
Exeter Chiefs' solitary defeat in their last eight games in all competitions was 7-13 at home to Bordeaux in Round Three of the European Champions Cup. Exeter, along with Saracens, have the best away records in the Premiership this season, both gaining 20 points from their six trips so far.
Saracens have won their last four encounters with the Chiefs, including last season's Premiership Final at Twickenham, since Exeter's 24-20 victory at Allianz Park in May 2015.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Titi Lamositele, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Nick Tompkins.
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Sam Hill, 12 Henry Slade, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson (captain), 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Tom Johnson, 6 Don Armand, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Ollie Atkins, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Carl Rimmer.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Dave Dennis, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Ian Whitten, 23 Michele Campagnaro
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Paul Burton
TMO: Sean Davey
Harlequins v Sale Sharks
(Twickenham Stoop - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Harlequins are one of only three sides with a 100 percent home winning record in the Premiership this season – they have gleaned 25 of their total of 28 league points at home this campaign.
'Quins only loss at Twickenham Stoop in any tournament since March was 24-62 to Exeter in Round 22 last season.
The Sharks have won just once on the road in any tournament this season, 31-13 at Bristol in Round Seven of the Premiership. Sale beat Harlequins 19-10 in Salford in Round Two and have not achieved a season's double over the Londoners since 2007-08.
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Alofa Alofa, 12 Joe Marchant, 11 Charlie Walker, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care (captain), 8 James Chisholm, 7 Dave Ward, 6 Luke Wallace, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 George Merrick, 3 Will Collier, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Stan South, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Matt Hopper.
Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Will Addison, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Sam James, 9 James Mitchell, 8 Josh Beaumont (captain), 7 TJ Ioane, 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 James Flynn, 18 Kieran Longbottom, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 AJ MacGinty, 23 Josh Charnley.
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Jonathan Healy, Andy Watson
TMO: Geoff Warren
Northampton Saints v Bristol
(Franklin's Gardens - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Northampton Saints have won their last two Premiership matches, at home to Sale and away at Gloucester but have not won three in a row in the tournament since March. The Saints' only loss in their last four Premiership matches at Franklin's Gardens was 16-22 to Newcastle in Round Nine.
Bristol have won their last four matches in all tournaments, scoring 17 tries in the process compared with only 27 tries scored in their opening 14 first-team games of 2016-17.
Bristol have won their last two away games, at Pau in the European Challenge Cup and at Sale in the Premiership.
Northampton have won their last two fixtures against Bristol in the Premiership, whilst Bristol's only win at Franklin's Gardens in any tournament since 2001 was 14-8 in the Premiership in January 2007.
Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 JJ Hanrahan, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Tom Wood (captain), 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 James Craig, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Harry Mallinder, 23 Juan Pablo Estelles.
Bristol: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Jack Wallace, 13 Thretton Palamo 12 Will Hurrell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Mitch Eadie, 7 Olly Robinson (captain), 6 Nick Fenton-Wells, 5 Ben Glynn, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Kyle Traynor.
Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Gaston Cortes, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Jack Lam, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Luke Arscott.
Referee: Andrew Jackson
Assistant referees: Steve Lee, Simon McConnell
TMO: Trevor Fisher
Sunday, January 8:
Wasps v Leicester Tigers
(Ricoh Stadium - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Wasps have lost just one of their last six first team matches: 18-20 in Connacht in Round Four of the European Champions Cup. Wasps have won their last 18 matches at the Ricoh Arena in all tournaments and have only dropped one possible league point there in any tournament this season when scoring only three tries in their 25-20 eclipsing of Exeter in Round One of the Premiership.
Leicester Tigers only victory in their last four first team games was 18-16 at home to Munster in the European Champions Cup, during which time they have scored just two tries but conceded ten. The Tigers have a won three lost three record on the road in the Premiership this season.
Wasps beat Leicester 34-22 at Welford Road in Round Two and have not achieved a Premiership double over their now near neighbours since 2008-09. Wasps have lost just once at home to the Tigers since 2007: 21-26 at the Ricoh Arena in May 2015.
Wasps: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Guy Thompson, 6 Thomas Young, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Marty Moore, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Matt Mullan (captain).
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 James Gaskell, 20 James Haskell, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Rob Miller.
Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Burns, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Jack Roberts, 11 Tom Brady, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Brendon O'Connor, 7 Will Evans, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mike Fitzgerald, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Worth, 23 Matt Smith.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Peter Allan, Jack Makepeace
TMO: Stuart Terheege