Premiership, Round 17: Teams and Predictions
PREVIEW: The Premiership log-leaders Bristol Bears and reigning champions Exeter Chiefs will kick off this weekend’s action.
Pat Lam’s men have been in superb form this season, building up a 12-point lead over their nearest rivals as they prepare to do battle in a mouthwatering West Country derby.
Four more games will then take place on Saturday, starting with London Irish against Harlequins at the Brentford Community Stadium.
Gloucester Rugby host Newcastle Falcons.
At Mattioli Woods Welford Road, Leicester Tigers will look to bounce back from their defeat to Bath Rugby last time out when they take on fifth-placed Northampton Saints.
Steve Borthwick’s men trail the visitors by eight points in the table but could close that gap with a victory.
And the third Saturday kick-off sees high-flying Sale Sharks travel to face Worcester Warriors as Alex Sanderson’s visitors look to cement their place in the Premiership top four.
Sharks are sitting pretty in third but with Harlequins level on points in fourth – and Saints just four points behind them in fifth – another win could provide some much-needed breathing space.
Last but not least, Sunday will bring the weekend’s action to a thrilling crescendo when last season’s Gallagher Premiership Rugby finalists Wasps face Bath Rugby in Coventry.
The hosts’ hopes of a top four finish appear to be slipping away but they can certainly dash Bath’s aspirations as Stuart Hooper’s side attempt to close the gap from seventh.
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) April 22, 2021
We take a closer look at all Round 17’s matches!
Friday, April 23
Bristol Bears v Exeter Chiefs
(Ashton Gate – Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)
Bristol Bears have won their last six Premiership Rugby matches since their 34-all draw at London Irish on 21 February, another victory would tie Bristol’s best winning run in the competition set twelve months ago. The Bears have lost just twice at Ashton Gate this season, to Clermont Auvergne in the European Champions Cup and to Sale in Round 8 of Premiership Rugby.
Exeter Chiefs only defeat in the last five rounds of Gallagher Premiership Rugby was 18-34 at Gloucester on March 26. The Chiefs have lost two of their last three away games, at Sale in Round 11 and at Gloucester in Round 15.
In Premiership Rugby Exeter have the edge in previous meetings with Bristol leading by five wins to two and beat the Bears over two legs in the Championship in 2010 to be promoted to the Premiership for the first time. The Chiefs have visited Ashton Gate on six previous occasions and won them all, the most recent of which was against Racing 92 in the final of last season’s European Champions Cup.
@rugby365com: Bristol Bears by five points
Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Max Malins, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Jake Heenan, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Steven Luatua (captain), 5 Chris Vui, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 John Afoa, 19 Joe Joyce, 20 Fitz Harding, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Alapati Leiua
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds (captain), 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Sam Skinner, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Jonny Gray, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Sean Lonsdale, 20 Richard Capstick, 21 Stu Townsend, 22 Harvey Skinner, 23 Ian Whitten
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix and Jamie Leahy
TMO: Tom Foley
*Article continues below…
Saturday, April 24
London Irish v Harlequins
(Brentford Community Stadium – Kick-off: 12.30; 12.30 GMT)
London Irish’s last five matches in Premiership Rugby have all gone the way of home field advantage. The Exiles most recent defeat at Brentford Community Stadium was a declared loss against Northampton on January 3 whilst their only defeat at their new venue in a game that actually took place was to Sale on December 6.
Harlequins last seven Premiership Rugby encounters have all been won by the home side on the day, their most recent away victory being on a trip to Bath in Round 8. The two clubs drew 27-all when they met at the Stoop in January, their first tie for twelve years.
Harlequins last four away games played against London Irish have been at Twickenham Stadium, Madejski Stadium, the Twickenham Stoop and now Brentford Community Stadium.
@rugby365com: London Irish by three points
London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 James Stokes, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Albert Tuisue, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Matt Rogerson (captain), 5 Rob Simmons, 4 George Nott, 3 Ollie Hoskins, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Facundo Gigena.
Replacements: 16 Matt Cornish, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Lovejoy Chawatama, 19 Chunya Munga, 20 Ben Donnell, 21 Caolan Englefield, 22 Jacob Atkins, 23 Tom Homer.
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tyrone Green, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt (captain), 7 Will Evans, 6 Tom Lawday, 5 Dino Lamb, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Jordan Els, 18 Will Collier, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jack Kenningham, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Will Edwards, 23 Luke Northmore.
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Jack Makepeace and Simon McConnell
TMO: Geoff Warren
Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints
(Mattioli Woods Welford Road – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Leicester Tigers last ten Premiership Rugby matches have been evenly split with five wins and five defeats. The Tigers have won their last six home games in all competitions – their best run at Mattioli Woods Welford Road since 2016.
Northampton Saints’ only defeat in the last four rounds of Premiership Rugby was at home to Bristol on March 21. The Saints have scored fifteen tries and conceded six in their last two matches in the competition. Northampton have lost just once away from home in any competition in 2021: 19-37 at Harlequins on March 7.
Leicester were declared winners when the two clubs should have met at Franklin’s Gardens in January. Northampton have won on two of their last three visits to Leicester in Premiership Rugby.
@rugby365com: Northampton Saints by seven points
Leicester: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Kobus Van Wyk, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Kini Murimurivalu, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 5 Calum Green, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Tomás Lavanini, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Jack Van Poortvliet, 22 Zack Henry, 23 Nemani Nadolo.
Northampton: 15 George Furbank, 14 Matt Proctor, 13 Rory Hutchinson, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Ollie Sleightholme, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Lewis Ludlam (co-captain), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Alex Moon, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Ehren Painter, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Alex Waller (co-captain).
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Shaun Adendorff, 21 Tom James, 22 Ahsee Tuala, 23 Tommy Freeman.
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant Referees: Wayne Falla and Rob Warburton
TMO: Nigel Carrick
Worcester Warriors v Sale Sharks
(Sixways Stadium – Kick-off: 15.00, 15.00 GMT)
Worcester Warriors have lost their last six Premiership Rugby fixtures since they were declared winners at home to Newcastle on February 20. The Warriors have not won an eighty-minute game at Sixways since beating London Irish there in Round 1.
Sale Sharks have lost just once in the last six rounds of Premiership Rugby: 14-17 at Northampton on March 13. The Sharks have lost just twice away from home in Premiership Rugby since early December: at Harlequins in Round 10 and at Northampton in Round 13.
Sale beat Worcester 20-13 at Salford in Round 6 and have not achieved a season’s double over the Warriors since 2017/18. The Sharks have lost on their last three visits to Sixways in all competitions.
@rugby365com: Sale Sharks by five points
Worcester: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Tom Howe, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Alex Hearle, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 GJ van Velze, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Ted Hill (captain), 5 Andrew Kitchener, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Ethan Waller.
Replacements: 16 Isaac Miller, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Justin Clegg, 20 Tom Dodd, 21 Matt Kvesic, 22 Gareth Simpson, 23 Harri Doel.
Sale: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Sam James, 12 Connor Doherty, 11 Arron Reed, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tom Curry (captain), 6 Cameron Neild, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Curtis Langdon, 1 Bevan Rodd.
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Valery Morozov, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 James Phillips, 20 Jean Luc du Preez, 21 Raffi Quirke, 22 Kieran Wilkinson, 23 Luke James.
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant Referees: Anthony Woodthorpe and Peter Allan
TMO: David Grashoff
Gloucester Rugby v Newcastle Falcons
(Kingsholm – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Gloucester Rugby’s only victory in their last four Premiership Rugby fixtures was 34-18 at home to Exeter on March 26. Gloucester have won just two of their last seven home games in Premiership Rugby but both of those have been since the end of February.
Newcastle Falcons have lost their last five Premiership Rugby matches since their 25-22 victory at home to Harlequins in Round 11. The Falcons last two away victories have both been in the European Challenge Cup whilst their most recent win on the road in Premiership Rugby was on a visit to Wasps on December 5.
Newcastle beat Gloucester 22-10 at Kingston Park in Round 6 and have not achieved a season’s double over the Cherry and Whites since 2016/17. Newcastle have won on two of their last three visits to Kingsholm in Premiership Rugby.
@rugby365com: Gloucester by five points
Gloucester: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Jonny May, 10 Lloyd Evans, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow (captain), 6 Jack Clement, 5 Alex Craig, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 18 Jack Stanley, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Jordy Reid, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Santiago Carreras.
Newcastle: 15 Tom Penny, 14 George Wacokecoke, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Chidera Obonna, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (captain), 8 Callum Chick, 7 Gary Graham, 6 Will Welch, 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Trevor Davison.
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Pete Lucock.
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Adam Leal and Jonathan Healy
TMO: Sean Davey
*Article continues below…
Sunday, April 25
Wasps v Bath Rugby
(Ricoh Arena – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Wasps only two victories in the last ten rounds of Premiership Rugby were both away from home at Worcester in February and at Newcastle in March. Wasps most recent victory at Ricoh Arena was 24-5 against Exeter on January 2.
Bath Rugby’s only defeat in their last six first team encounters was 33-36 at London Irish in Round 15 of Premiership Rugby. Bath have won three of their last four away games in the tournament.
Wasps have won their last three matches against Bath since Bath’s 29-17 victory at the Recreation Ground in May 2019. Bath have visited Ricoh Arena on seven previous occasions in all tournaments where their record is, won three, drawn one, lost three.
@rugby365com: Wasps by three points
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Paolo Odogwu, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Brad Shields, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Ben Morris, 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Tom West.
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Levi Douglas, 20 Tom Willis, 21 Will Porter, 22 Charlie Atkinson, 23 Zach Kibirige.
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Will Muir, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Miles Reid, 5 Charlie Ewels (captain), 4 Josh McNally, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Josh Bayliss, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Max Clark, 23 Alex Gray.
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Hamish Smales and Simon Harding
TMO: Keith Lewis