Fri 11 Sep 2020 | 06:32

Predictions and teams: Premiership, Round 20

Predictions and teams: Premiership, Round 20
Fri 11 Sep 2020 | 06:32
Predictions and teams: Premiership, Round 20
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THREE ROUNDS TO GO: Three of the four places in the semifinals are still up for grabs.

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Following a round of midweek matches, there are no games on Friday or Saturday. The six fixtures making up the round take place on Sunday and Monday.

The Sunday matches could go a long way to deciding the make-up of the Premiership semifinals and the vital qualification places for next season’s Champions Cup.

The wall-to-wall action on Sunday starts with an absolute cracker as fourth-placed Wasps host Bristol Bears who are two points above them in third.

This is followed by one of the many red-letter fixtures in the Premiership calendar, the East Midlands derby, which normally would have a huge crowd heading to watch Leicester Tigers versus Northampton Saints.

The Saints have won on their last three visits to Welford Road in all competitions, a sequence that has never been matched in 125 years of visiting the stadium.

The derby is followed by second-placed Sale Sharks hosting Bath – who are fifth – and London Irish versus Worcester Warriors before a spectacular day ends with a re-run of the Premiership Final 2019, Exeter Chiefs making the trip to Allianz Park.

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We have another special day for Premiership on Monday as 1,000 supporters will be in attendance at the Gloucester versus Harlequins match at Kingsholm.

This follows the huge success of the Harlequins versus Bath match, where fans enjoyed their trip to the Twickenham Stoop.

Round 20 predictions and teams below

Premiership Round 20 fixtures

Sunday, September 13

Wasps v Bristol Bears
(Ricoh Arena – Kick-off: 12.30; 11.30 GMT)

Wasps have lost just one of their last nine Premiership encounters: 11-20 at home to Sale in round 16, that defeat is Wasps only loss at Ricoh Arena in any competition since January.

Bristol Bears have lost only twice in any competition since early January, in successive Premiership fixtures in August against Exeter Chiefs and Sale Sharks.

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Bristol’s only defeat in their last six away games in all tournaments was 7-40 at Sale in round 17 of Premiership.

Wasps have won their last eight Premiership encounters with Bristol and are unbeaten against them in their last ten matches whilst their only defeat against the Bears in Premiership since 2001 was 21-26 at Memorial Stadium in September 2006. Bristol’s only previous victory at Ricoh Arena was 30-19 in the Premiership Cup in November 2018.

Prediction

@rugby365com: Wasps by 12 points

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Tom Willis, 7 Jack Willis, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Ben Harris.
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Tom West, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Ryan Mills, 23 Marcus Watson.

Bristol: 15 Ioan Lloyd, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Jack Bates, 10 Max Malins, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Jake Heenan (captain), 7 Dan Thomas, 6 James Dun, 5 Joe Joyce, 4 Ed Holmes, 3 Keiron Assiratti, 2 Will Capon, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Peter McCabe, 18 John Afoa, 19 John Hawkins, 20 Mitch Eadie, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Harry Ascherl, 23 Charlie Powell.

Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant referees: Christophe Ridley & Simon McConnell
TMO: Graham Hughes

Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints
(Welford Road – Kick-off: 14.00; 13.00 GMT)

Leicester Tigers have slipped to three straight defeats since beating London Irish at Welford Road on 26 August.

Tigers have lost just twice at Welford Road in 2020, both in Premiership, to Bath in round 15 and Sale in round 18.

Northampton Saints have lost their last four Premiership matches since beating London Irish at Twickenham Stoop on 22 August.

The Saints have been defeated in their last two away games in Premiership but have not lost three in succession on their travels since March 2018.

Northampton’s only reversal in their last five Premiership encounters with the Tigers was 15-23 at Twickenham Stadium in October 2018.

The Saints have won on their last three visits to Welford Road in all competitions, a sequence that has never been matched in 125 years of visiting the stadium.

Prediction

@rugby365com: Northampton Saints by five points

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Kini Murimurivalu, 13 Guy Porter, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Zack Henry, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Harry Wells, 5 Calum Green, 4 Tomás Lavanini, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Facundo Gigena.
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Nephi Leatigaga, 19 Thom Smith, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Ben White, 22 Johnny McPhillips, 23 Harry Potter.

Northampton: 15 George Furbank, 14 Ahsee Tuala, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Teimana Harrison (captain), 7 Lewis Ludlam, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Owen Franks, 2 James Fish, 1 Francois van Wyk.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Emmanuel Iyogun, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Alex Moon, 20 Nick Isiekwe, 21 JJ Tonks, 22 Henry Taylor, 23 Fraser Dingwall.

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Sara Cox & Paul Dix
TMO: Rowan Kitt

London Irish v Worcester Warriors
(Twickenham Stoop – Kick-off: 15.00; 14.00 GMT)

London Irish have lost their last eight Premiership fixtures since beating Gloucester at Madejski Stadium in February.

The Exiles have won at Twickenham Stoop this season, beating Harlequins there in an away game on 15 February.

Worcester Warriors have slipped to three straight Premiership defeats since beating Harlequins at Sixways on 26 August.

Worcester’s only away win in Premiership this campaign was at The Stoop against Harlequins in round four.

The Warriors’ only defeat in their last four Premiership fixtures with London Irish was 22-9 at Madejski Stadium in February 2018 whilst Worcester’s three previous Premiership victories at Twickenham Stoop were all against Harlequins.

Prediction

@rugby365com: London Irish by three points

The teams:

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Matt Williams, 12 Terrence Hepetema, 11 James Stokes, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Albert Tuisue, 7 Isaac Curtis-Harris, 6 Matt Rogerson (captain), 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 George Nott, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Harry Elrington.
Replacements: 16 Ben Atkins, 17 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Chunya Munga, 20 Ben Donnell 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Theo Brophy Clews, 23 Ollie Hassell-Collins.

Worcester: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Tom Howe, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Noah Heward, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ted Hill (captain), 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Ethan Waller.
Replacements: 16 Beck Cutting, 17 Callum Black, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Tom Dodd, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Gareth Simpson, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Ollie Lawrence.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Simon Harding & Phil Watters
TMO: Claire Hodnett

Sale Sharks v Bath
(AJ Bell Stadium – Kick-off: 15.00; 14.00 GMT)

Sale Sharks have lost just twice in the last nine rounds of Premiership, in successive matches in August, to Harlequins and Exeter Chiefs.

The Sharks have been defeated just twice at AJ Bell Stadium in Premiership this season, to Gloucester in round 1 and to Exeter in round 15.

Bath’s only reversal in the last six rounds of Premiership was 23-27 at home to Wasps on 31 August.

Bath have won their last three away games in the tournament but have not won four in succession on their travels since season 2009/10.

Bath have lost just one of their last four fixtures with Sale: 3-6 on their most recent visit to Salford in April 2019. Bath’s latest victory at AJ Bell Stadium was in September 2014.

Prediction

@rugby365com: Sharks by eight points

Teams

TBC

Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce & Tom Foley
TMO: Stuart Terheege

Saracens v Exeter Chiefs
(Allianz Park – Kick-off: 16.30; 15.30 GMT)

Saracens have been defeated in their last two Premiership encounters, to Wasps and Sale, but have not lost three in a row in the tournament since December 2017.

Saracens lost their most recent match at Allianz Park 18-28 to Wasps but have not suffered back-to-back home game reversals in the competition since they were at Vicarage Road in February 2006.

Exeter Chiefs have won their last seven Premiership fixtures since their 30-34 defeat at Harlequins on 29 February, their only other away loss in the tournament this season came at Bath in round 2.

Exeter beat Saracens 14-7 at Sandy Park in round 7 and have only twice before achieved a Premiership regular season double over Saracens, in 2014/15 and 2017/18. The Chiefs have won on just one of their last four visits to Allianz Park.

Prediction

@rugby365com: Saracens by five points

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Will Hooley, 14 Rotimi Segun, 13 Dom Morris, 12 Harry Sloan, 11 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 10 Manu Vunipola, 9 Tom Whiteley, 8 Janco Venter, 7 Sean Reffell, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Callum Hunter-Hill, 4 Joel Kpoku, 3 Alec Clarey, 2 Kapeli Pifeleti, 1 Sam Crean.
Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Josh Ibuanokpe, 19 Cameron Boon, 20 Andy Christie, 21 Alex Day, 22 Juan Pablo Socino, 23 Josh Hallett.

Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Josh Hodge, 13 Corey Baldwin, 12 Tom Wyatt, 11 Facundo Cordero, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Joe Snow, 8 Don Armand (captain), 7 Richard Capstick, 6 Sean Lonsdale, 5 Tom Price, 4 Will Witty, 3 Alfie Petch, 2 Jack Innard, 1 Billy Keast.
Replacements: 16 Jordon Poole, 17 James Kenny, 18 Matt Johnson, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Aaron Hinkley, 21 Will Yarnell, 22 Jack Walsh, 23 Luke Mehson.

Referee: Adam Leal
Assistant referees: Andrew Jackson & Gareth Holsgrove
TMO: Sean Davey

Monday, September 14

Gloucester v Harlequins
(Kingsholm – Kick-off: 19.45; 18.45 GMT)

Gloucester’s last four Premiership matches have all been won by the home side on the day.

The Cherry & Whites have won their last two home games at Kingsholm to halt a run of three successive defeats at the famous old venue.

Harlequins record since the return of Premiership is won three lost three.

Harlequins 38-15 victory at London Irish in their most recent away game ended a run of five successive Premiership defeats on the road.

The last four fixtures between the two clubs have been evenly split with two wins apiece, whilst Harlequins recent record at Kingsholm in Premiership is a creditable three wins and two defeats from their last five visits.

Prediction

@rugby365com: Gloucester by five points

Teams

TBC

Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: Christophe Ridley & Jonathan Healy
TMO: Trevor Fisher

Source: @premrugby

PV: 8
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Predictions and teams: Premiership, Round 20 | Rugby365