Preview: Premiership, Round 10
Table-topping Harlequins will look to return to winning ways when the welcome Worcester Warriors to Twickenham Stoop in the opening Round 10 fixture on Friday.
The defending Premiership champions saw their six-match winning streak halted by Bath last weekend and will aim to consolidate their place atop the standings with a home win over the struggling Warriors, who have won just three games this season.
Saturday sees Kassam Stadium play host to the London derby between Welsh and Irish while in Sunday’s only encounter, two plays three when Saracens take on in-form Gloucester at Vicarage Road.
We look at all the Round 10 action!
Friday, November 30:
Harlequins v Worcester Warriors
(Twickenham Stoop – 19.45 GMT)
Harlequins’ six-game winning run in all competitions ended at Bath last Friday. The reigning Premiership champions still top the table despite winning just two of their last five games in the competition. Quins’ only defeat at the Twickenham Stoop this season came to Saracens, an 18-16 loss on September 30.
Worcester Warriors’ last six encounters in the Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Worcester’s solo away victory since New Year’s Day came in Spain against Gernika on
Harlequins have won their last nine fixtures with the Warriors in all competitions. Worcester have won just once at the Stoop in the Premiership: a 15-9 win on February, 19 2005.
Harlequins: 15 Tom Williams, 14 Seb Stegmann, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter (captain), 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Jordan Burns, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Tom Casson.
Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Semisi Taulava, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Neil Best, 5 Chris Jones, 4 James Percival (captain), 3 John Andress, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Ceri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Rob O'Donnell, 18 Euan Murray, 19 Dean Schofield, 20 Sam Betty, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Andy Short, 23 Errie Claassens
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Roy Maybank, Ashley Rowden
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints
(Salford City Stadium – 19.45 GMT)
Sale Sharks’ solitary victory in their last ten Premiership encounters was a 21-9 win at home to London Irish on November 2. Sale have won their last three games at Salford City Stadium in all competitions.
Northampton Saints have won their last two games against Newport Gwent Dragons and London
Welsh, whilst the Saints have lost their last two away games in the Premiership.
The Sharks have won just one of their last seven clashes with the Saints: a 29-21 win at Edgeley Park on September 23, 2011.
Sale Sharks: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Charlie Amesbury, 13 Will Addison, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Andy Powell, 7 David Seymour (captain), 6 Richie Vernon, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Tom Holmes, 20 James Gaskell, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Cameron Shepherd.
Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Dom Waldouck, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Ryan Lamb. 9 Martin Roberts, 8 GJ van Velze, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Rhys Oakley, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Tom May.
Referee: Llyr Apgeraint-Roberts
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Robin Goodliffe
TMO: David Grashoff
Saturday, December 1:
Leicester Tigers v Bath
(Welford Road – 12.30 GMT)
Leicester Tigers have won three of their last five matches in the Premiership, and have lost just once at Welford Road since last October: 22-9 to Harlequins on September 22.
Bath’s last six fixtures in the Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day. Bath’s only away win since February in the Premiership was a 24-23 victory at Worcester on September 1.
Leicester’s only defeat in their last nine Premiership encounters with Bath since 2008 was a 26-25 loss at The Rec last October.
Bath have won just once before at Welford Road in this competition: a 13-12 win on November 29, 2003.
Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 George Ford, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Brett Deacon, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon (captain), 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Jonny Harris, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Micky Young, 22 Dan Bowden, 23 Geordan Murphy.
Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Kyle Eastmond, 13 Horacio Agulla, 12 Matt Banahan, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (captain), 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Lee Mears, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Josh Ovens, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Jack Cuthbert.
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Alan Hughes
London Welsh v London Irish
(Kassam Stadium – 13.00 GMT)
London Welsh have slipped to three straight defeats in all competitions. The Exiles’ won their most recent Premiership encounter at Kassam Stadium: a 16-9 win over Bath on November 4.
London Irish have lost their last three Premiership matches and have won just once on the road in the competition since September 2011 when they beat Worcester 25-16 on April 21.
The two teams have played just twice before in league play – way back between 1987-89 in Courage
League division two, with Irish winning on both occasions. London Irish have also won their only two previous cup clashes with the Welsh in 1995 and 2000.
Irish have visited Kassam Stadium twice before, losing on both occasions: 33-27 to Pontypridd in the semifinal of the Parker Pen Shield in 2002, and 38-9 to Northampton at the same stage of the Powergen Cup in 2003.
London Welsh: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Dan Caprice, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Hudson Tonga'uiha, 11 Nick Scott, 10 Gordon Ross, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Adam Balding, 7 Ed Jackson, 6 Daniel Browne, 5 Kirill Kulemin, 4 Jonathan Mills (captain), 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Franck Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 James Tideswell, 19 Matt Corker, 20 Alfie To'oala, 21 Jamie Stephenson, 22 Alex Davies, 23 Seb Jewell.
London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Matt Garvey, 6 Declan Danaher (captain), 5 Bryn Evans, 4 George Skivington, 3 Leo Halavatau, 2 Brian Blaney, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements 16 Gerard Ellis 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Jebb Sinclair, 21 Jamie Gibson, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Jack Moates.
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Paul Dix, Andrew Watson
Exeter Chiefs v London Wasps
(Sandy Park – 17.30 GMT)
Exeter Chiefs have won their last four games in all competitions and are unbeaten at Sandy Park in the Premiership this season.
London Wasps’ last eight matches in the Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day. Wasps have not won away from home in the Premiership since they visited Worcester on October 28, 2011.
The Chiefs have won their last four encounters with Wasps in all competitions, whilst the Londoners are yet to taste victory in three previous visits to Sandy Park.
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Dean Mumm, 5 James Hanks, 4 Tom Hayes (captain), 3 Carl Rimmer, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Simon Alcott, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Hoani Tui, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Sireli Naqelevuki.
Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Lee Thomas, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Will Taylor, 19 James Cannon, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Andrea Masi.
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Peter Huckle, Gareth Copsey
Sunday, December 2:
Saracens v Gloucester
(Vicarage Road – 15.00 GMT)
Saracens have slipped to back-to-back defeats in all competitions, whilst Sarries’ only Premiership defeat at Vicarage Road in their last 17 matches was a 20-19 loss to Leicester on February 19.
Gloucester are currently the best side in the Premiership on current form having picked up 21 league points from their last six games.
Gloucester’s only reversal in the competition since the opening round was a 28-25 defeat to Harlequins on November 3.
Saracens are unbeaten in their last four encounters with Gloucester, whilst the Cherry and Whites have not been victorious at Vicarage Road since November 16, 2008.
Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 David Strettle, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 James Short, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 George Kruis, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 John Smit, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Kameli Ratuvou.
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Tim Molenaar, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Martyn Thomas, 10 Billy Twelvetrees, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Tom Savage, 5 Jim Hamilton (captain), 4 Will James, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Koree Britton, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Tim Taylor, 23 Shane Monahan.
Referee: Sean Davey
Assistant referees: Stuart Terheege, Kevin Stewart
TMO: Graham Hughes