Premiership, Round 14 - Teams and Predictions
PREVIEW: The 2020/2021 Premiership season enter’s Round 14 this weekend with some interesting fixtures.
Newcastle Falcons and Wasps kick off the round on Friday. Both sides are looking to bounce back from defeats last weekend, with Wasps knowing they will leapfrog their hosts if they leave the north-east with a victory.
There are three games to look forward to on Saturday.
Harlequins attempt to get back to winning ways against Gloucester, who have not won at Twickenham Stoop since 2006.
Further west, Bath welcome Worcester Warriors to The Rec looking to continue a resurgence which has so far brought four wins in five games.
Half an hour after those games begin, Exeter Chiefs against Leicester Tigers gets underway at Sandy Park.
The Devonians have won the last six matches between the two sides but Leicester make the trip buoyed by their first Premiership away win in almost two years last time out.
A Sunday double-header concludes another busy weekend, with league leaders Bristol Bears making the trip to Northampton Saints.
The match is at Franklin’s Gardens, where the Bears have won on their past two visits.
Meanwhile, Sale Sharks host a London Irish side who were in determined mood last weekend – their total of 272 tackles was the fourth-highest recorded by a Premiership side since 2010/11, with Blair Cowan making a record-equalling 34 of those.
We take a closer look at all Round 14’s matches!
Friday, March 19:
Newcastle Falcons v Wasps
(Kingston Park, Newcastle – Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)
Newcastle Falcons solitary victory since early January was 25-22 at home to Harlequins in Round 11 of the Premiership. The Falcons have lost two of their last three encounters at Kingston Park.
Wasps have won only once since early January: 17-13 at Worcester in Round Nine of the Premiership. Wasps have lost their last two away games in the competition and have not lost three in succession on their travels since November 2019.
The Falcons have won their last two matches against Wasps to put an end to an eleven-game winless streak against the West Midlander’s in the Premiership. Remarkably Wasps are unbeaten on their last six trips to Kingston Park since their 10-15 defeat there in October 2011.
@rugby365com: Wasps by five points
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Mateo Carreras, 13 George Wacokecoke, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Michael Young (captain), 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Will Welch, 6 Sean Robinson, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Trevor Davison.
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Will Montgomery, 20 Callum Chick, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Alex Tait.
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Sam Wolstenholme, 8 Sione Vailanu, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ben Harris.
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Tom West, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Theo Vukasinovic, 20 Alfie Barbeary, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Charlie Atkinson, 23 Matteo Minozzi.
Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe
Assistant Referees: John Meredith, Wayne Falla
TMO: Graham Hughes
Saturday, March 20:
Harlequins v Gloucester
(Twickenham Stoop, London – Kick-off: 14.00; 14.00 GMT)
Harlequins have been defeated just twice in the last eight rounds of the Premiership but both of those have been in their last three matches. The Londoners have won their last three Premiership fixtures at the Twickenham Stoop their best run at the venue since February 2019.
Gloucester’s two game winning run ended with their home defeat to Leicester on Saturday. Gloucester were victorious in their most recent away game, 20-19 at Wasps in Round 12 and have not won successive away games in Premiership since April 2019.
Harlequins have won their last three encounters with Gloucester in the Premiership and have not won four in succession against the Cherry & Whites in the competition since 1999. Gloucester’s only victory at the Stoop in the Premiership since 2006 was 29-7 in March 2019.
@rugby365com: Harlequins by seven points.
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tyrone Green, 13 Luke Northmore, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt (captain), 7 Will Evans, 6 James Chisholm, 5 Dino Lamb, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Simon Kerrod, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Jordan Els
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Glen Young, 20 Tom Lawday, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Brett Herron, 23 Ben Tapuai
Gloucester: 15 Charlie Sharples, 14 Tom Seabrook, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Matt Banahan, 11 Jacob Morris, 10 George Barton, 9 Charlie Chapman, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jack Clement, 6 Freddie Clarke, 5 Oliver Atkins, 4 Matt Garvey (captain), 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Ethan Hunt, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Todd Gleave, 17 Alex Seville, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Freddie Thomas, 20 Joe Howard, 21 Matty Jones, 22 Isaac Marsh, 23 Alex Morgan
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: George Selwood, Jonathan Healy
TMO: Nigel Carrick
Bath v Worcester Warriors
(The Recreation Ground, Bath – Kick-off: 14.00; 14.00 GMT)
Bath’s only defeat in the last five rounds of the Premiership was 15-38 at home to Exeter Chiefs on March 6. Excluding declared wins, Bath have been victorious at the Recreation Ground only once since September: 16-14 over Gloucester on February 19.
Worcester Warriors have picked up five losing bonus points from their last seven defeats in the Premiership. The Warriors have won only twice away from home in the Premiership since March 2019 and both of those victories were at the Twickenham Stoop against Harlequins and London Irish.
Bath’s only loss in their last seven fixtures with Worcester in the Premiership was 19-21 at Sixways in January 2019. Worcester have never won in 16 previous visits to the Rec in all competitions.
@rugby365com: Bath by 15 points.
Bath: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Ruaridh McConnochie, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Clark, 11 Will Muir, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Miles Reid, 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 Josh McNally (captain), 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Juan Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Arthur Cordwell, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Tom Ellis, 20 Ethan Staddon, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Orlando Bailey, 23 Joe Cokanasiga
Worcester Warriors: 15 Nick David, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Oli Morris, 12 Will Butler, 11 Perry Humphreys, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Gareth Simpson, 8 Tom Dodd, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ted Hill (captain), 5 Joe Batley, 4 Andrew Kitchener, 3 Joe Morris, 2 Isaac Miller, 1 Marc Thomas
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Maks van Dyk, 19 Justin Clegg, 20 Cornell du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Francois Venter
Referee: Adam Leal
Assistant Referees: Greg Macdonald, Gareth Holsgrove
TMO: Stuart Terheege
Exeter Chiefs v Leicester Tigers
(Sandy Park, Exeter – Kick-off: 14.30; 14.30 GMT)
Exeter Chiefs have been defeated just twice in the last seven rounds of the Premiership, both in successive games in February, at home to Northampton and away to Sale. The Chiefs have lost twice at Sandy Park this campaign to Bristol in Round Six and the Saints in Round 10.
Leicester Tigers only loss in the last four rounds of the Premiership was 3-17 at Bristol on February 27. The Tigers won away from home for the first time in almost two years in the Premiership at Gloucester last weekend, and have not won successive away games in the tournament since May 2018.
Exeter have won their last six fixtures against the Tigers in the Premiership since Leicester’s 20-13 home win in September 2017. Tigers have not been victorious at Sandy Park since September 2014.
@rugby365com: Exeter by 10 points.
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Facundo Cordero, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Harvey Skinner, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds (captain), 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Sean Lonsdale, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Innard, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Marcus Street, 19 Don Armand, 20 Richard Capstick, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Dan John, 23 Josh Hodge
Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Guy Porter, 10 Zack Henry, 9 Jack van Poortvliet, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain), 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Cameron Henderson, 3 Joe Heyes, 2 Charlie Clare, 1 Nephi Leatigaga
Replacements: 16 Jake Kerr, 17 James Whitcombe, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Ben White, 22 Johnny McPhillips, 23 Harry Potter
Referee: Jack Makepeace
Assistant Referees: Phil Watters, Rob Warburton
TMO: Keith Lewis
Sunday, March 21:
Sale Sharks v London Irish
(AJ Bell Stadium, Manchester – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Sale Sharks last four fixtures have all been won by the home side on the day. The Sharks have lost just once at AJ Bell Stadium since the turn of the year: 22-27 against Bath in Round Nine of the Premiership.
London Irish have lost just once in the last four rounds of the Premiership and that was by a solitary point at Leicester on March 5. The Exiles only victory away from home in the Premiership his campaign was 16-10 at Wasps on February 27.
The Sharks have won their last seven encounters with London Irish in the Premiership since the Exiles 25-23 win at Madejski Stadium in April 2015. London Irish have lost on all seven previous occasions they have visited AJ Bell Stadium.
@rugby365com: Sale by 18 points.
Sale Sharks: TBC
London Irish: TBC
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Jamie Leahy
TMO: Rowan Kitt
Northampton Saints v Bristol Bears
(Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Northampton Saints have lost only twice in the last seven rounds of the Premiership, at home to Bath in Round 11 and away at Harlequins in Round 12. Excluding declared results, the Saints have lost just once at Franklin’s Gardens in the Premiership since November and that was by a single point to Bath on February 28.
Bristol Bears are unbeaten in the last five rounds of the Premiership since their 13-20 reversal at home to Sale on February 5. Bristol have lost just three times away from home in any competition since the end of August and all those defeats were against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena.
The Bears have won their last four encounters with the Saints, their best run against the East Midlander’s in competition rugby. Bristol have won on their last two visits to Franklin’s Gardens.
@rugby365com: Bristol by three points.
Northampton Saints: 15 George Furbank, 14 Matt Proctor, 13 Fraser Dingwall, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Tommy Freeman, 10 James Grayson, 9 Tom James, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 Alex Coles, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Alex Waller (captain)
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Ehren Painter, 19 Alex Moon, 20 JJ Tonks, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Harry Mallinder
Bristol Bears: 15 Henry Purdy, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Siva Naulago, 10 Tiff Eden, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Steven Luatua (captain), 5 Chris Vui, 4 Joe Joyce, 3 John Afoa, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Sam Bedlow, 23 Luke Morahan
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Peter Allan
TMO: Claire Hodnett