Premiership, Round three - TEAMS AND PREDICTIONS
THE FANS ARE BACK: Supporters are returning to Premiership Rugby this weekend with three of our clubs seeing fans back in the stands.
The first game with supporters is Saturday’s clash between Worcester Warriors and Bath Rugby, followed on Sunday by the matches at Brentford Community Stadium and Kingsholm.
The weekend kicks off on Friday at Ashton Gate as the Bristol Bears defend an enviable home record against Northampton Saints.
In addition to the Worcester Warriors match there are two other games on Saturday. Double winners, Exeter Chiefs head to Mattioli Woods Welford Road, while Newcastle Falcons take their unbeaten record to the Ricoh Arena to face Wasps.
We take a look at all Round Three’s fixtures!
Friday, December 4:
Bristol Bears v Northampton Saints
(Ashton Gate – Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)
Ignoring the semi-finals Bristol Bears have won three of their last four Premiership Rugby matches. The Bears have won their last five encounters in all competitions at Ashton Gate with their only defeat at the venue in 2020 being to Exeter in Round 16 of Premiership Rugby.
Northampton Saints have lost their last nine matches in all competitions, excluding their declared defeat against Gloucester in Round 22 last season. The Saints most recent victory was 27-3 against London Irish at the Twickenham Stoop on August 22.
Bristol have won their last three matches against Northampton in Premiership Rugby since the Saints 45-40 victory at Ashton Gate in September 2018. The East Midlanders have won on two of their previous three visits to Ashton Gate.
Prediction: Bristol Bears to win by seven points.
Bristol Bears: 15 Henry Purdy, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Siale Piutau (captain), 11 Alapati Leiua, 10 Sam Bedlow, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Jake Heenan, 5 Joe Joyce, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Jake Woolmore
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 John Afoa, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Mitch Eadie, 21 Harry Randall, 22 Tiff Eden, 23 Toby Fricker
Northampton Saints: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Matt Proctor, 13 Piers Francis, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Tom Collins, 10 James Grayson, 9 Henry Taylor, 8 Tom Wood, 7 Lewis Ludlam, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 5 David Ribbans, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Reece Marshall, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 James Fish, 17 Francois Van Wyk, 18 Ehren Painter, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Shaun Adendorff, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 Fraser Dingwall, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Adam Leal & Roy Maybank.
TMO: David Rose.
*Article continues below…
Saturday, December 5:
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs
(Mattioli Woods Welford Road – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Leicester Tigers only victory in the last four rounds of Premiership Rugby was 38-15 against Gloucester last time out at Mattioli Woods Welford Road. The Tigers have not won successive home games since February.
Exeter Chiefs have begun the defence of their Premiership Rugby crown with maximum points after two rounds. The Chiefs have not been defeated in any competitions since they visited Wasps on October 4. Exeter has lost just one of their last eight Premiership Rugby fixtures against Tigers; 13-20 at Welford Road in September 2017.
Predictions: Exeter Chiefs to win by 12 points
Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Guy Porter, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Harry Simmons, 10 Zack Henry, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 5 Calum Green, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Nephi Leatigaga
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Ryan Bower, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Tommy Reffell, 21 Jordan Taufua, 22 Ben White, 23 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Facundo Cordero, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Tom Hendrickson, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Stu Townsend, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Don Armand, 4 Will Witty, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Innard, 17 James Kenny, 18 Marcus Street, 19 Tom Price, 20 Richard Capstick, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Jack Walsh, 23 Josh Hodge
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Hamish Smales & Jack Makepeace.
TMO: Keith Lewis.
Wasps v Newcastle Falcons
(Ricoh Arena – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Wasps were defeated at Gloucester on Saturday, their first regular-season loss in Premiership Rugby since Sale visited Ricoh Arena on 25 August. Wasps have won eight of their last nine fixtures in Coventry. Newcastle Falcons have become the first promoted team to win their first two matches in Premiership Rugby since Bristol did so in 2005. Newcastle beat Bath 19-12 at the Recreation Ground in Round 1 but have not won successive away games in Premiership Rugby since March 2018.
The Falcons beat Wasps by a single point at Ricoh Arena the last time the two teams met in March 2019 to end an 11-game winless run against Wasps in the tournament. Newcastle have won on two of their last three visits to Ricoh Arena in all competitions.
Predictions: Wasps to win by five points
Wasps: 15 Lima Sopoaga, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Paolo Odogwu, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Sam Wolstenholme, 8 Alfie Barbeary, 7 Thomas Young (captain), 6 Ben Morris, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Levi Douglas, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Simon McIntyre
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Tom West, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Tom Willis, 21 Will Porter, 22 Michael Le Bourgeois, 23 Matteo Minozzi
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Toby Flood, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (captain), 8 Gary Graham, 7 Connor Collett, 6 Sean Robinson, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Trevor Davison
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Darren Barry, 20 Josh Basham, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 George Wacokecoke
Referee: Andrew Jackson
Assistant Referees: John Meredith & Wayne Falla.
TMO: Graham Hughes
#⃣Is this the #BOG loss @WP_RUGBY will regret
🏉Two brothers from #SouthAfrica rocking the @premrugby world#Rugby #brothers @SaleSharksRugby @LeicesterTigers
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) December 2, 2020
Worcester Warriors v Bath Rugby
(Sixways – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Worcester Warriors four game-winning run in Premiership Rugby ended with their 13-30 defeat at Bristol on Saturday. The Warriors only defeat in their last four matches at Sixways was 13-36 to Bristol on 4 September.
Bath Rugby have begun their Premiership Rugby campaign with a pair of defeats for the first time since season 2009-10. Bath’s most recent victory in the competition was 31-24 at home to Gloucester on 22 September. Bath have lost only two of their last 15 Premiership Rugby encounters with Worcester, both at Sixways in April 2017 and January 2019. Bath’s overall record at Sixways is won nine, drawn one, lost four.
Prediction: Worcester Warriors to win by seven points
Worcester Warriors: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Oli Morris, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Nick David, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Tom Dodd, 6 Ted Hill (captain), 5 Andrew Kitchener, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Richard Palframan, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Ethan Waller
Replacements: 16 Beck Cutting, 17 Callum Black, 18 Conor Carey, 19 George Merrick, 20 Joe Batley, 21 Gareth Simpson, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Ashley Beck
Bath: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Cameron Redpath, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Ruaridh McConnochie, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Josh Bayliss, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 Josh McNally (captain), 3 Christian Judge, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Beno Obano
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Ethan Staddon, 20 Miles Reid, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Max Wright, 23 Joe Cokanasiga
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Simon Harding & Simon McConnell.
TMO: Geoff Warren
*Article continues below…
Sunday, December 6
London Irish v Sale Sharks
(Brentford Community Stadium – Kick-off: 14.30; 14.30 GMT)
London Irish opened their new ground at Brentford with a 22-9 victory over Leicester on Sunday, but have not won successive home games in Premiership Rugby since February 2016. Sale Sharks slipped to a 13-15 defeat at Newcastle on Friday and have not lost back to back Premiership Rugby encounters since they were defeated in their opening two games on their return to rugby in August.
Sharks have not lost consecutive away games in the tournament since last December. Sale have won their last six Premiership Rugby fixtures against London Irish since the Exiles 25-23 victory at Madejski Stadium in April 2015.
Prediction: Sale Sharks to win by 10 points
London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Matt Rogerson (captain), 7 Izzy Moore-Aiono, 6 Jack Cooke, 5 Andrei Mahu, 4 George Nott, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Allan Dell
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Isaac Curtis-Harris, 20 Steve Mafi, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Theo Brophy Clews, 23 Tom Parton
Sale Sharks: 15 Luke James, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Sam James, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Simon Hammersley, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jean-Luc du Preez, 7 Jono Ross (captain), 6 Cobus Wiese, 5 James Phillips, 4 Matt Postlethwaite, 3 Will-Griff John, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Valerey Morozov
Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 Bevan Rodd, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 Sam Dugdale, 20 Ewan Ashman, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Rob du Preez, 23 Marland Yarde
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix & Jamie Leahy.
TMO: Nigel Carrick.
Gloucester Rugby v Harlequins
(Kingsholm – Kick-off: 16.15; 16.15 GMT)
Gloucester Rugby beat Wasps 40-24 at Kingsholm on Saturday but have not won successive Premiership Rugby matches since September. The Cherry & Whites only defeat at Kingsholm since August was against today’s visitors, Harlequins, in Round 20 last season. Harlequins beat Northampton 49-29 at Franklins Gardens at the weekend but have not won back to back encounters in Premiership Rugby since Rounds 19 and 20 last season.
The Londoners have won their last four away games in Premiership Rugby, their best sequence since September 2012. Harlequins only defeat in their last four Premiership Rugby encounters with Gloucester was 7-29 at the Twickenham Stoop in March 2019. Quins have won on three of their last four visits to Kingsholm.
Prediction: Gloucester to win by five points
Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Ollie Thorley, 13 Billy Twelvetrees (captain), 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Tom Seabrook, 10 Lloyd Evans, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow, 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Matt Garvey, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Jack Stanley, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Jamal Ford-Robinson
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Val Rapava-Ruskin, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Alex Craig, 20 Freddie Clarke, 21 Will Flinn, 22 Henry Trinder, 23 Kyle Moyle
Harlequins: 15 Chris Ashton, 14 Nathan Earle, 13 Luke Northmore, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt (captain), 7 Will Evans, 6 James Chisholm, 5 Glen Young, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta
Replacements: 16 Elia Elia, 17 Jordan Els, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Hugh Tizard, 20 Tom Lawday, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Tyrone Green, 23 Paul Lasike
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Greg Macdonald & Phil Watters.
TMO: Rowan Kitt