Premiership, Round two - Teams and Predictions
NEW STADIUM: After a compelling kick-off to Premiership Rugby last weekend it’s now time for Round 2 and a celebration in west London as London Irish move into their new stadium, the 39th venue to host a Premiership Rugby fixture.
Irish’s first home fixture at the Brentford Community Stadium will see them take on Leicester Tigers on Sunday.
We start the weekend with another first as Newcastle Falcons host Sale Sharks, their first home match back in Premiership Rugby after an impressive win last weekend at Bath Rugby.
Wayne Barnes makes his seasonal debut at Kingston Park, refereeing his 231st Premiership game.
*Article continues below…
We take a look at all Round Two’s fixtures!
Friday, November 27:
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks
(Kingston Park Kick-off: 19.45; 19;45 GMT)
Newcastle Falcons became the third promoted team in the past four seasons to win its opening encounter in Premiership Rugby. The Falcons have won their last eleven fixtures at Kingston Park in all competitions since Bristol beat them there in Premiership Rugby in May 2019.
Sale Sharks only defeat in their last eight matches in all competitions (excluding the defaulted fixture against Worcester in Round 22 last season) was 22-37 at home to Bath in September. The Sharks have won their last three away games in Premiership Rugby, their best run on the road since April 2014.
Newcastle’s only defeat in their last four Premiership Rugby fixtures against Sale was 7-20 in Salford in October 2018. The Sharks have not been victorious at Kingston Park since May 2016.
Prediction: Sale Sharks to win by 12 points
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 Sam Stuart, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Pete Lucock
Sale Sharks: 15 Luke James, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Sam James, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Simon Hammersley, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Ben Curry (captain), 6 Jean-Luc du Preez, 5 James Phillips, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Valerey Morozov
Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 Bevan Rodd, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 Matt Postlethwaite, 20 Sam Dugdale, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Rob du Preez, 23 Marland Yarde
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Karl Dickson, Wayne Falla
TMO: Trevor Fisher
Saturday, November 28
Northampton Saints v Harlequins
(Franklin’s Gardens – Kick-off: 14.00; 14.00 GMT)
Northampton Saints most recent victory was 27-3 against London Irish at the Twickenham Stoop on August 22. The East Midlander’s have lost their last seven fixtures at Franklin’s Gardens, their worst home losing run in the professional era.
Harlequins last six Premiership Rugby fixtures have all been won by the home side on the day.
Have not lost away from home in the tournament since a trip to Worcester on August 26. Harlequins beat Northampton 30-17 at the Twickenham Stoop the last time the clubs met, in August, to end a four-game losing run to Saints. Harlequins have not tasted success at Franklin’s Gardens since an 18-9 Premiership victory in December 2012.
Prediction: Northampton Saints to win by 5 points
Northampton Saints: 15 Harry Mallinder, 14 Ahsee Tuala, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tom Collins, 10 James Grayson, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Tom Wood, 7 Lewis Ludlam, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 5 David Ribbans, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Reece Marshall, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 James Fish, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Shaun Adendorff, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Fraser Dingwall, 23 Rory Hutchinson
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Nathan Earle, 13 Luke Northmore, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Will Evans, 6 Tom Lawday, 5 Stephan Lewies (captain), 4 Glen Young, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Jordan Els, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Hugh Tizard, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Scott Steele, 22 James Lang, 23 Joe Marchant
Referee: Thomas Foley
Assistant Referees: Jack Makepeace & Simon McConnell.
TMO: Rowan Kitt
Gloucester Rugby v Wasps
(Kingsholm – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Excluding defaulted fixtures, Gloucester have lost their last four matches since beating London Irish at Kingsholm in September. The Cherry & Whites have lost just once at home since the end of August: 15-28 to Harlequins in Round 20 of Premiership Rugby last season.
Wasps have lost just once in their last nine Premiership Rugby encounters, to Exeter in last season’s final. The Coventry based side have lost only once away from home in any competition in the last eleven months; 9-18 at Leicester in Premiership Rugby in February. Wasps victory over Gloucester at Ricoh Arena in March ended a four-game losing run to the Cherry & Whites. Wasps most recent victory at Kingsholm was 30-23 in Premiership Rugby in December 2014.
Predictions: Wasps to win by 7 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 Jordy Reid, 6 Freddie Clarke, 5 Matt Garvey, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Jack Stanley, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin
Replacements: 16 James Hanson 17 Jamal Ford-Robinson 18 Ciaran Knight 19 Alex Craig 20 Jamie Gibson 21 Will Flinn 22 Henry Trinder 23 Kyle Moyle
Wasps: 15 Lima Sopoaga, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Sam Wolstenholme, 8 Tom Willis, 7 Thomas Young (captain), 6 Alfie Barbeary, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Tim Cardall, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Ben Harris
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Tom West, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Levi Douglas, 20 Ben Morris, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Charlie Atkinson, 23 Paolo Odogwu
Referee: Hamish Smales
Assistant Referees: Adam Leal & Greg Macdonald.
TMO: Graham Hughes
Bristol Bears v Worcester Warriors
(Ashton Gate – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Bristol Bears have lost their last two matches in Premiership Rugby, both to Wasps; they have not lost three games in succession in the competition since Christmas and New Year last season.
The Bears solitary defeat at Ashton Gate in 2020 in any competition was 22-25 to Exeter in Round 6 of Premiership Rugby’s last campaign. Worcester Warriors have won their last three Premiership Rugby fixtures (excluding defaulted games), they have not won four in succession in the competition since March 2016.
Bristol have won their last two encounters against Worcester but have never won three consecutive games against the Warriors. Worcester have won twice before at Ashton Gate, both very narrowly, 2928 in the first leg of the RFU Championship Final in 2015 and 27-25 in Premiership Rugby in March 2019.
Predictions: Bristol Bears to win by 10 points
Bristol Bears: 15 Ioan Lloyd, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Siale Piutau (captain), 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Sam Bedlow, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Chris Vui, 5 Joe Joyce, 4 Ed Holmes, 3 John Afoa, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 John Hawkins, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Tiff Eden, 23 Alapati Leiua
Worcester Warriors: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Tom Howe, 13 Oli Morris, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Nick David, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Marco Mama, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ted Hill (captain), 5 Andrew Kitchener, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Callum Black
Replacements: 16 Beck Cutting, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 George Merrick, 20 Joe Batley, 21 Gareth Simpson, 22 Jamie Shillcock, 23 Ashley Beck
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: John Meredith & Peter Allan.
TMO: Craig Maxwell-Keys.
Exeter Chiefs v Bath Rugby
(Sandy Park – Kick-off: 17.30; 17.30 GMT)
Exeter Chiefs have won their last 4 matches in all competitions since their 5-46 reversal at Wasps on 4 October. The Chiefs have been defeated just once at Sandy Park since February; 19-22 against London Irish in Round 21 of Premiership Rugby.
Bath Rugby are without a win in their last three Premiership Rugby fixtures since beating Gloucester at the Recreation Ground on 22 September. Bath’s most recent away win was at Sale on 13 September. The Chiefs only defeat to Bath in their last eleven meetings in all competitions was 10-13 at The Rec in October 2019.
Bath have not been victorious at Sandy Park since October 2016.
Prediction: Exeter Chiefs to win by 15 points
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Facundo Cordero, 14 Tom O’Flaherty, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Sam Skinner, 4 Don Armand, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Innard, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Marcus Street, 19 Will Witty, 20 Richard Capstick, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Jack Walsh, 23 Tom Hendrickson
Bath: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Ruaridh McConnochie, 13 Cameron Redpath, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Joe Cokanasiga, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Josh Bayliss, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Charlie Ewels (captain), 4 Josh McNally, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Beno Obano
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Miles Reid, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Max Clark, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix & Jamie Leahy.
TMO: Stuart Terheege
*Article continues below…
Sunday, November 29
London Irish v Leicester Tigers
(Brentford Community Stadium – Kick-off: 16.15; 16.15 GMT)
Brentford Community Stadium becomes the 39th venue to host a Premiership Rugby fixture. London Irish have won just once in the last 12 Rounds of Premiership Rugby; 22-19 at champions, Exeter Chiefs on 30 September.
Leicester Tigers beat Gloucester 38-15 on Saturday but have not won successive Premiership Rugby encounters since October 2018. The Tigers most recent away win in any competitions was on a trip to Calvisano in the European Challenge Cup last December. Leicester have lost only one of their last eight fixtures with London Irish; 11-36 at Madejski Stadium in November 2019.
Prediction: London Irish to win by 3 points
London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Matt Rogerson (captain), 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Sean O’Brien, 5 Andrei Mahu, 4 George Nott, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Allan Dell
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Chunya Munga, 20 Steve Mafi, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Theo Brophy Clews, 23 Tom Parton
Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Harry Potter, 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 Ryan Bower
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Tommy Reffell, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Ben White, 22 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 23 Guy Porter
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant Referees: Anthony Woodthorpe & Roy Maybank.
TMO: David Grashoff.