Premiership, Round Five - Teams and Predictions
PREVIEW: The 2020/2021 season enters Round Five this weekend with only four matches.
Harlequins’ match at Worcester and London Irish’s home game with Northampton were cancelled due to coronavirus cases.
The scrapping of the games comes after 33 new cases were found at 10 clubs in the latest round of testing – the highest number this season.
Focussing on the games that are going ahead, Round Five kicks off with Bristol Bears hosting the Newcastle Falcons on Friday.
On Saturday, Wasps are at home to Exeter Chiefs and Gloucester will face Sale Sharks at Kingsholm.
On Sunday there is just one match with Leicester Tigers taking on Bath at Welford Road.
We take a closer look at all the Round Five matches!
Friday, January 1:
Bristol Bears v Newcastle Falcons
(Ashton Gate, Bristol – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Bristol Bears have won their last three Premiership fixtures since their opening weekend defeat at Wasps. Bristol have lost only once at Ashton Gate in Premiership Rugby since last January: 22-25 to Exeter on August 25.
Newcastle’s only defeat so far this season was at home to Cardiff Blues in the European Challenge Cup on December 11. The Falcons have not been defeated away from home in any competition since a trip to Gloucester in May 2019.
The Bears won both encounters when the two clubs last met in the Premiership in season 2018/19, whilst the Falcons have been victorious on three of their last four visits to Bristol in all competitions.
@rugby365com: Bristol by 12 points.
Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Siva Naulago, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Piers O’Conor, 11 Ioan Lloyd, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Steven Luatua (captain), 5 Joe Joyce, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Jake Armstrong, 2 George Kloska, 1 Peter McCabe.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Thompson, 17 Andrew Turner, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 John Hawkins, 20 Fitz Harding, 21 Harry Randall, 22 Alapati Leiua, 23 Luke Morahan.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 George Wacokecoke, 12 Matias Orlando, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sam Stuart, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Mark Wilson (captain), 6 Sean Robinson, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 Jamie Blamire, 1 Trevor Davison.
Replacements: 16 Charlie Maddison, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Connor Collett, 20 Josh Basham, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Gareth Owen.
Referee: Christopher Ridley
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Jamie Leahy
TMO: Graham Hughes
Saturday, January 2:
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs
(Ricoh Arena, Coventry – Kick-off: 14.00; 14.00 GMT)
Wasps have won their last three matches in all competitions since their reversal to Newcastle at the Ricoh Arena in Round Three of Premiership. That defeat to the Falcons is Wasps’ only home loss since Sale won in Coventry in August.
Exeter Chiefs have not been defeated in the Premiership since they last visited the Ricoh Arena on October 4 with Wasps running out 46-5 victors.
The last six meetings between the two clubs have been evenly split with three wins apiece, whilst the Chiefs only victory at Ricoh Arena since 2015 was in September 2018.
@rugby365com: Exeter by five points.
Wasps: 15 Lima Sopoaga, 14 Paolo Odogwu, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Tom Willis, 7 Jack Willis, 6 James Gaskell, 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Tom West.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Ben Morris, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Will Porter, 22 Charlie Atkinson, 23 Jimmy Gopperth.
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Tom O’Flaherty, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Tom Hendrickson, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Ian Whitten, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Richard Capstick, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Don Armand, 4 Will Witty, 3 Marcus Street, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Alec Hepburn.
Replacements: 16 Jack Innard, 17 James Kenny, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Tom Price, 20 Rus Tuima, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Harvey Skinner, 23 Josh Hodge.
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant referees: Hamish Smales, John Meredith
TMO: David Grashoff
Gloucester v Sale Sharks
(Kingsholm, Gloucester – Kick-off: 16.30; 16.30 GMT)
Gloucester have won only one of their last four first-team matches; 38-34 at home to Ulster in the European Champions Cup. The Cherry & Whites have lost just twice at Kingsholm in any tournament since August, both in the Premiership to Harlequins in September and December.
Sale Sharks have lost their last three matches in all tournaments and have not been defeated in four successive matches in the same season since 2016/17. The Sharks have lost just once away from home in the Premiership since August: 13-15 at Newcastle on November 27.
The Sharks only defeat in their last four encounters with Gloucester was 16-18 at Salford in the opening round of last season, whilst Sale’s most recent victory at Kingsholm came in December 2017.
@rugby365com: Sale Sharks by three 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 Jordy Reid, 5 Alex Craig, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 James Hanson, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Alex Seville, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Seb Nagle-Taylor, 21 Toby Venner, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Ollie Thorley.
Sale Sharks: 15 Sam James, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Robert du Preez, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 JP du Preez, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Bevan Rodd.
Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 Valerey Morozov, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 Josh Beaumont, 20 Sam Dugdale, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Luke James, 23 Byron McGuigan.
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: Gareth Holsgrove, Peter Allan.
TMO: Geoff Warren
Sunday, January 3:
Leicester Tigers v Bath
(Welford Road, Leicester – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Leicester Tigers have won the last two matches they have played, both against Top 14 opposition in this season’s European Challenge Cup. The Tigers last eight home games in the Premiership have been evenly split with four wins and four defeats.
Bath’s most recent match was their 19-23 defeat at home to Scarlets in Round One of the European Champions Cup on December 12. Bath have won just once away from home in any competition since October: 33-17 at Worcester on December 5.
Bath have won their last four matches against the Tigers in the Premiership since Leicester’s 34-19 victory at Twickenham in “The Clash” in April 2018. Bath have won on their last three visits to Welford Road.
@rugby365com: Leicester by nine points.
Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 George Martin, 5 Calum Green, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Dan Cole 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Cameron Henderson, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Jack van Poortvliet, 22 Zack Henry, 23 Kini Murimurivalu.
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Ruaridh McConnochie, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Taulupe Faletau, 5 Charlie Ewels (captain), 4 Josh McNally, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Beno Obano.
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Josh Bayliss, 21 Miles Reid, 22 Will Chudley, 23 Josh Matavesi.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Simon Harding & Wayne Falla.
TMO: Clare Hodnett