Premiership, Round 19 - Teams and Predictions
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The weekend kicks off with Bath Rugby hosting Sale Sharks at The Rec on Friday in a battle of seventh versus third in the standings.
The hosts will be keen to avenge their defeat to local rivals Bristol Bears last time out, while Sharks will want to extend their five-game winning run.
That stretch of victories has seen them move to within four points of Exeter Chiefs and a home semi-final, which is surely their aim now.
There’s a double serving of rugby on Saturday, with Wasps getting things going against Worcester Warriors at Ricoh Arena.
Lee Blackett’s men came agonisingly close to victory in Round 18, falling to a 48-46 defeat in a classic encounter with Harlequins.
Having beaten Bath the week previous, that defeat will have hurt but there were plenty of attacking positives to take from it which they will bid to put into against Warriors.
Then, Leicester Tigers have the honour of hosting in-form Harlequins at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.
Quins have been in scintillating form in the second half of the campaign to move into the top four, where they now have a nine-point buffer over fifth-placed Northampton Saints.
They, like Sharks, only trail Chiefs by four points and will have aspirations of a home semi-final spot.
But Tigers, who have a European Rugby Challenge Cup final to look forward to, have also enjoyed a more productive backend to the campaign and will be a tough nut to crack – catch.
There is no action on Sunday, with two doses of Monday night rugby instead.
First off, Newcastle Falcons welcome Northampton Saints to Kingston Park looking to build off of their emphatic success over London Irish last time out.
Saints, meanwhile, suffered a blow to their top four hopes with defeat to Gloucester Rugby in Round 18 and so nothing less than a win will do.
League leaders Bristol Bears take on Gloucester Rugby as they aim to make sure that top spot in the league is theirs.
Finally, Tuesday sees London Irish host Exeter Chiefs with the visitors on the hunt for any Bears slip-ups in the race to finish in top spot.
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We take a closer look at all Round 19’s matches!
Friday, May 14
Bath Rugby v Sale Sharks
(The Recreation ground – Kick-off 19.00; 19.00)
Bath Rugby have been defeated in their last three first team matches and have not lost four in succession since December 2019. Bath have been defeated in five Premiership Rugby matches at the Recreation Ground this season and have never lost six home games in one Premiership campaign.
Sale Sharks only defeat in the last eight rounds of Gallagher Premiership Rugby was 14-17 at Northampton on March 13. The Sharks have lost just once away from home in their last four trips, at La Rochelle in the quarter final of the European Champions Cup.
Bath have won their last three encounters against Sale since their 3-6 reversal at AJ Bell Stadium in April 2019. Sale have not been victorious at the Rec since a single point win in March 2014.
@rugby365com: Sale by three points
Bath: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Max Clark, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Will Muir, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Josh Bayliss, 5 Charlie Ewels (captain), 4 Will Spencer, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Juan Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Tom Doughty, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Josh McNally, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Orlando Bailey, 23 Joe Cokanasiga
Sale Sharks: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jean-Luc du Preez, 7 Tom Curry (captain), 6 Cobus Wiese, 5 JP du Preez, 4 James Phillips, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Bevan Rodd
Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 James Harper, 19 Cameron Neild, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Raffi Quirke, 22 Kieran Wilkinson, 23 Connor Doherty
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant Referees: Greg Macdonald & Simon McConnell.
TMO: Christophe Ridley.
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Saturday, May 15
Wasps v Worcester Warriors
(Ricoh Arena – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Wasps only victory in the last four rounds of Premiership Rugby was 39-29 at home to Bath on April 25. That win against Bath was their first at the Ricoh Arena since January 2.
Worcester Warriors have lost their last eight Premiership Rugby matches since their declared win at home to Newcastle on February 20. Warriors have won only once away from home in Premiership Rugby since November 2019: at London Irish in September 2020.
Wasps have won their last thirteen fixtures against the Warriors in Premiership Rugby since Worcester’s 29-23 victory at Sixways in March 2013. Worcester’s most recent win on Wasps soil came at High Wycombe on New Year’s Day 2012.
@rugby365com: Worcester Warriors by seven points
Wasps: 15 Charlie Atkinson, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Paolo Odogwu, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Brad Shields (captain), 7 Thomas Young, 6 Ben Morris, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Biyi Alo, 2 Gabriel Oghre, 1 Tom West
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Sione Vailanu, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Rob Miller
Worcester Warriors: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Harri Doel, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Ted Hill (captain), 5 Justin Clegg, 4 Andrew Kitchener, 3 Richard Palframan, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Ethan Waller
Replacements: 16 Isaac Miller, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Anton Bresler, 20 Joe Batley, 21 Gareth Simpson, 22 Ollie Lawrence, 23 Ed Fidow
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix & Jamie Leahy.
TMO: Claire Hodnett.
Leicester Tigers v Harlequins
(Mattioli Woods Welford Road – Kick-off: 15.30; 15.30 GMT)
Leicester Tigers only victory in their last four first team matches was 33-24 at home to Ulster in the semi-final of the European Challenge Cup. The Tigers have lost only once at Mattioli Woods Welford Road since the end of January: 18-23 to Northampton in Round 17 of Premiership Rugby.
Harlequins have won their last three Premiership Rugby matches and scored seventeen tries in the process. Quins 25-21 victory at London Irish in Round 17 ended a three-game losing run away from home in Premiership Rugby.
Harlequins are unbeaten in their last four encounters with Leicester since the Tigers 35-24 victory at Welford Road in December 2018.
@rugby365com: Harlequins by four points
Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Guy Porter, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 George Martin, 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 Hanro Liebenberg, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Zack Henry, 23 Kini Murimurivalu
Harlequins: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Joe Marchant, 13 Luke Northmore, 12 James Lang, 11 Nathan Earle, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Jack Kenningham, 6 Tom Lawday, 5 Stephan Lewies (captain), 4 Matt Symons, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Will Collier, 19 Dino Lamb, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Will Edwards, 23 Ben Tapuai
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Matthew Carley & Wayne Barnes.
TMO: Tom Foley.
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Monday, May 17
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints
(Kingston Park – Kick-off: 19.30; 19.30 GMT)
Newcastle Falcons ended a six-game losing streak in Premiership Rugby by tallying their largest points total in fifteen years in the competition with their 52-27 eclipsing of London Irish at Kingston Park on Saturday.
Northampton Saints three-game winning run in Premiership Rugby ended with their 7-31 home reversal to Gloucester last weekend. The Saints have won their last three away games in all competitions and have not won four in succession on their travels since 2014.
The two clubs should have met in Round 9 of Premiership Rugby, but the game was awarded to Newcastle. Northampton have won on six of their last eight visits to Kingston Park in Premiership Rugby.
@rugby365com: Newcastle Falcons by five points
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George Wacokecoke, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Callum Chick, 7 Mark Wilson (captain), 6 Will Welch, 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Trevor Davison, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Adam Brocklebank.
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Philip van der Walt, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Chidera Obonna.
Northampton Saints: 15 George Furbank, 14 Ollie Sleightholme, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Tommy Freeman, 10 James Grayson, 9 Tom James, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Lewis Ludlam, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Ehren Painter, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Shaun Adendorff, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Fraser Dingwall, 23 Tom Collins.
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson & Wayne Falla.
TMO: Jack Makepeace.
Bristol Bears v Gloucester
(Ricoh Arena – Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)
Bristol Bears only defeat since Round 8 of Premiership Rugby was 12-20 at home to Exeter on April 23. Bristol have not lost successive Premiership Rugby matches at Ashton Gate since November 2018.
Gloucester Rugby have won three of their last four Premiership Rugby matches, with their 31-7 victory at Northampton on Saturday being only their second away win in Premiership Rugby this season. The Cherry and Whites have not won back-to-back away matches in the tournament since April 2019.
Bristol have won their last four Premiership Rugby matches against Gloucester since their West Country rivals 35-13 win at Kingsholm in September 2018. Gloucester have not tasted success at Ashton Gate since March 2017.
@rugby365com: Bristol Bears by seven points
Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 Max Malins, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Steven Luatua (captain), 5 Chris Vui, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jake Kerr, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 John Afoa, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Alapati Leiua.
Gloucester: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Giorgi Kveseladze, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Santiago Carreras, 10 Billy Twelvetrees, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow (captain), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 18 Jack Stanley, 19 Ben Morgan, 20 Jack Clement, 21 Stephen Varney, 22 Lloyd Evans, 23 Ollie Thorley.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Anthony Woodthorpe & Gareth Holsgrove.
TMO: Rowan Kitt.
Tuesday, May 18
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs
(Brentford Community Stadium – Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)
London Irish have lost their last three Premiership Rugby matches since their 36-33 win against Bath at Brentford Community Stadium in Round 15. The Exiles were defeated by Harlequins in their most recent match at their new home, only their second defeat at Brentford this season.
Exeter Chiefs only defeat in the last seven rounds of Premiership Rugby was 18-34 at Gloucester on 26 March. The Chiefs three away defeat in Premiership Rugby this season were at Wasps in Round 5, Sale in Round 11, and Gloucester in Round 15.
London Irish have won just one of their last seven encounters with Exeter: 22-19 at Sandy Park in September 2020.
@rugby365com: Exeter Chiefs by five points
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant Referees: Adam Leal & Roy Maybank.
TMO: Sean Davey.