Premiership, Round 10 – Teams and Predictions
PREVIEW: With the Six Nations taking a week off, the spotlight is firmly on Round 10 of the Premiership and there are five enticing matches.
The action all starts on Friday with a West Country derby as old rivals Bath and Gloucester go at it at the Rec.
Bath won this fixture last season 31-20 and points are normally guaranteed when these two meet, with at least 50 accumulated in four of their last five meetings.
Saturday brings three more matches and there is plenty riding on the first, as Harlequins host Sale Sharks.
Sale are third in the table, one place above Quins, and bidding to bounce back from a surprise 22-27 home loss to Bath last time out.
Defending champions Exeter have won three matches in a row but face a stern test against Northampton Saints.
Meanwhile, there is the latest instalment of an historic Premiership rivalry as Leicester Tigers and Wasps do battle at Welford Road.
Finally, on Sunday, league leaders Bristol Bears travel to the Brentford Community Stadium to meet London Irish.
Saturday’s match between Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors has been cancelled due to positive Covid-19 cases in the Falcons’ camp.
We take a closer look at all Round 10’s matches!
Friday, February 19:
Bath v Gloucester
(Recreation Ground, Bath – Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)
Bath’s 27-22 victory at Sale last weekend was their first win in 2021. Bath’s most recent victory in a match played at The Recreation Ground was against today’s opponents, Gloucester, in Round 21 of the Premiership last season.
Gloucester have won just once in the Premiership since September: 40-24 at home to Wasps in Round Two this campaign, however in their last three defeats they have achieved losing bonus points and one try bonus.
Each club won its respective home game when the two sides met in Premiership Rugby last season whilst Gloucester’s most recent victory at The Rec was in October 2017.
@rugby365com: Bath by 10 points.
Bath: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Max Clark, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Will Muir, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Ben Spencer (captain), 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Miles Reid, 6 Taulupe Faletau, 5 Mike Williams, 4 Josh Bayliss, 3 Christian Judge, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Tom Ellis, 20 Ethan Staddon, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Jonathan Joseph.
Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Tom Seabrook, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Billy Twelvetrees, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow (captain), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Alex Craig, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Henry Walker, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Alex Seville, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Freddie Clarke, 21 Stephen Varney, 22 George Barton, 23 Henry Trinder.
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Paul Dix
TMO: David Rose
Saturday, February 20:
Harlequins v Sale Sharks
(Twickenham Stoop, London – Kick-off: 13.00; 13.00 GMT)
Harlequins have won their last three Premiership encounters since their 27-all draw with London Irish on 10 January. The Londoners beat Leicester at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday and have not won successive fixtures at the venue since last August.
Sale Sharks four game-winning run in the Premiership ended with their 22-27 home reversal to Bath last Friday. The Sharks have lost only once away from home in the Premiership since August: 13-15 at Newcastle in Round Two this season.
The last ten encounters between the two clubs in Premiership Rugby have all been won by the home side on the day whilst Sale’s most recent victory at the Stoop in the tournament was in November 2014.
@rugby365com: Harlequins by five points.
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aaron Morris, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Will Evans, 6 Archie White, 5 Stephan Lewies (captain), 4 Matt Symons, 3 Simon Kerrod, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Elia Elia, 17 Jordan Els, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Glen Young, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Brett Herron, 23 Luke Northmore.
Sale: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Sam James, 12 Luke James, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jono Ross (captain), 6 Jean-Luc du Preez, 5 Josh Beaumont, 4 Matt Postlethwaite, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Ewan Ashman, 1 Valery Morozov.
Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 Bevan Rodd, 18 WillGriff John, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Cobus Wiese, 21 Cameron Neild, 22 Raffi Quirke, 23 Conor Doherty.
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Simon Harding, Simon McConnell
TMO: David Grashoff
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints
(Sandy Park, Exeter – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Exeter Chiefs have won their last three Premiership fixtures since their 7-20 reversal at home to Bristol on 9 January.
The Chiefs only other home defeat at Sandy Park in any competition in the last twelve months was to London Irish in Round 21 of the Premiership last season.
Northampton Saints were declared victors for their Round Nine fixture at home to Newcastle last weekend making it three straight wins in the competition. The Saints have won all three away games they have played in 2021, a declared victory at London Irish plus wins at Gloucester and at Wasps in Rounds seven and eight.
Exeter have lost just once in their last ten meetings with the Saints in all competitions: 28-31 at Franklin’s Gardens in the Premiership in December 2018. The Saints have not won at Sandy Park since a 17-16 victory in the Premiership in February 2014.
@rugby365com: Exeter by nine points.
Exeter: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tom O’Flaherty, 13 Tom Hendrickson, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Josh Hodge, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Richard Capstick, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Sam Skinner, 4 Will Witty, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Alec Hepburn.
Replacements: 16 Jack Innard, 17 James Kenny, 18 Marcus Street, 19 Don Armand, 20 Sean Lonsdale, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Ian Whitten.
Northampton: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Matt Proctor, 13 Rory Hutchinson, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Ollie Sleightholme, 10 George Furbank, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Shaun Adendorff, 7 Lewis Ludlam (co-captain), 6 Nick Isiekwe, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Ehren Painter, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Alex Waller (co-captain).
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Tom Wood, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Harry Mallinder, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro.
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant Referees: Dean Richards, Phil Watters.
TMO: Keith Lewis
Leicester Tigers v Wasps
(Welford Road, Leicester – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Leicester Tigers’ only victory in the last three Rounds of the Premiership was 41-24 at home to Worcester on 6 February.
The Tigers’ solitary defeat at Welford Road since early December was 15-25 to Sale on 29 January.
Wasps ended a two-game losing run with their 17-13 win at Worcester on Sunday. Wasps have lost just once away from home in any competition in the last twelve months: 24-40 at Gloucester in Round Two of the Premiership this season.
The last eight fixtures between the two clubs in the Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day whilst Wasps only victory at Welford Road since September 2008 was in September 2016.
@rugby365com: Leicester Tigers by three points.
Leicester: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Kini Murimurivalu, 10 Zack Henry, 9 Richard Wigglesworth (captain), 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Calum Green, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Luan de Bruin.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Tommy Reffell, 21 Jack van Poortvliet, 22 Johnny McPhillips, 23 Dan Kelly.
Wasps: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Ben Vellacott, 8 Tom Willis, 7 Ben Morris, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 James Gaskell, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Tom West.
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Levi Douglas, 20 Sione Vailanu, 21 Alex Schwarz, 22 Jacob Umaga, 23 Michael Le Bourgeois.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Jack Makepeace, John Meredith
TMO: Claire Hodnett
Sunday, February 21:
London Irish v Bristol Bears
(Brentford Community Stadium, London – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
London Irish‘s three-match unbeaten run in the Premiership ended with their 3-26 defeat at Exeter on Saturday. The Exiles have won their last two home games at their new stadium and have not won three in succession at home since they were at Madejski Stadium in February 2016.
Bristol Bears have lost just once since the opening round of the Premiership: 13-20 at home to Sale on 5 February. The Bears have not lost away from home since their trip to Wasps on 22 November.
The last three meetings between the clubs in the Premiership have been evenly split with a win apiece plus a draw.
@rugby365com: Bristol Bears by seven points.
London Irish: 15 James Stokes, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Theo Brophy Clews, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Albert Tuisue, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Matt Rogerson (captain), 5 George Nott, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 2 Matt Cornish, 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Sean O’Brien, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Terrence Hepetema, 23 Tom Parton.
Bristol: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Siva Naulago, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Mitch Eadie, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Steven Luatua (captain), 5 Chris Vui, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 John Afoa, 2 Will Capon, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 George Kloska, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Jake Armstrong, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Alapati Leiua.
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant Referees: Andrew Jackson, Jamie Leahy
TMO: Ian Tempest