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Preview: Premiership, Round 17

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 16:01
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We look at all the Round 17 action
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Bath second row Dominic Day admits that it is win at all costs when they welcome West Country rivals Gloucester to the Rec on Friday.

Day and co will be itching to return to winning ways after their run of six straight victories in all competitions came to an end with their narrow 23-25 defeat at Northampton Saints.

Currently seventh on the Premiership table, but only seven points behind the Cherry and Whites in fourth, a victory would catapult them back into the play-off race.

And after putting their rivals to the sword in the LV= Cup at Kingsholm at the start of February, Day knows that Gloucester will be itching for revenge when hostilities resume.

"If we want to get into the top-four then pure and simple this is a must-win game for us," he said.

"After the defeat to Northampton Saints last time out we cannot afford to let another one of our top-four rivals steal a march on us.

"There has been a bit of an extra edge to training this week with the derby game coming up.

"Gloucester will be gunning for us after we beat them pretty handily in the cup a few weeks back at Kingsholm."

Bath's only defeat at The Rec in their last 11 games in any tournament since September was against Saracens in Premiership just before Christmas.

Meanwhile Gloucester have only won once since September on their travels, earlier this month at Franklin's Gardens, and Andy Hazell knows he and his teammates have their work cut out for them.

"Bath for me have been the in-form team of the last month. I know they lost to Northampton last weekend but it's still going to be a really tough one for us," he said.

"We have two weeks off after this game so we can go and throw everything at them and hopefully we'll still be in that top four during that time.

"Bath have an all round game now, the forwards have a good driving game and they have some strike runners in the backs like Matt Banahan and pace out on the wings and in the back three with Tom Biggs and Nick Abendanon.

"They are definitely the best Bath team I have played against at the breakdown, and they really get in and disrupt your ball."

We look at all the Round 17 action!

Friday, March 1

Worcester Warriors v London Wasps
(Sixways – Kick-off: 20.00; 20.00 GMT)

London Wasps director of rugby Dai Young has warned his side against a Worcester Warriors backlash this weekend following their last-gasp cruel loss against Gloucester at Kingsholm on Friday.

Worcester crashed 29-23 against Gloucester last weekend, conceding an injury-time penalty try and seeing full-back Errie Claassens red carded in the process.

The late controversy saw Richard Hill's Worcester slip to a fifth successive Premiership loss, meaning the Warriors still have not won in the league in 2013.

And with London Irish recording an impressive 30-19 win against Young's London Wasps at the Madejski Stadium last Sunday - Worcester are now nervously looking over their shoulders.

Teams:

Worcester Warriors: 15 Errie Claassens, 14 Chris Pennell, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Jon Clarke, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Blair Cowan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Neil Best, 5 Dean Schofield, 4 James Percival (captain), 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Ceri Jones, 18 John Andress, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Sam Betty, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Danny Gray, 23 Josh Matavesi.

Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell (captain), 14 Elliot Daly, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Nick Robinson 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Sam Jones, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 James Cannon, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Zak Taulafo , 18 Will Taylor, 19 Alex Rae, 20 Matt Everard, 21 Stuart Commins, 22 Stephen Jones, 23 Charlie Hayter.

Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton, Paul Dix
TMO: TBC

Bath v Gloucester
(The Rec – Kick-off: 20.00; 20.00 GMT)

Bath second row Dominic Day admits that it is win at all costs when they welcome West Country rivals Gloucester to the Rec on Friday.

Day and co will be itching to return to winning ways after their run of six straight victories in all competitions came to an end with their narrow 23-25 defeat at Northampton Saints.

Currently seventh on the Premiership table, but only seven points behind the Cherry and Whites in fourth, a victory would catapult them back into the play-off race.

Teams:

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Carl Fearns, 6 Francois Louw (captain), 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Dominic Day, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Mat Gilbert, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Sam Vesty, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni.

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mike Tindall (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Tom Savage, 5 Will James, 4 Lua Lokotui, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Andy Hazell, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Ryan Mills, 23 Martyn Thomas.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant Referee: Stuart Terheege, Ashley Rowden
TMO: Geoff Warren

Saturday, March 2

Leicester v Sale
(Welford Road – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)

Leicester Tigers' only win in their last four games was 28-12 over London Welsh at Welford Road in Premiership on 9 February.

Tigers slipped up 27-32 at home to Saracens on Saturday evening but have not lost back to back encounters at Welford Road since October 2011.

Sale Sharks' four match winning run in all competitions ended with their 21-30 home defeat to table-topping Harlequins on Friday.

The Sharks have won their last two away games in all competitions but have not won three in a row on the road in the same season since October 2006.

The Tigers have won their last six fixtures with the Sharks since Sale won 15-12 at Edgeley Park on 4 September 2009. The Sharks' only victory at Welford Road since November 2003 was 14-11 in the Premiership on 23 February 2008.

Teams:

Leicester: Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 George Ford, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Tom Croft (captain), 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Kieran Brookes, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Brett Deacon, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Micky Young, 22 Matt Cornwell, 23 Scott Hamilton.

Sale Sharks: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Will Addison, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Cillian Willis, 8 Richie Vernon, 7 David Seymour (captain), 6 Dan Braid, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 James Gaskell, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Al Dickinson, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Andy Powell, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Jordan Davies.

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Peter Huckle & Gordon Goodliffe.
TMO: TBC

Northampton Saints v London Irish
(Franklin’s Gardens – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)

Northampton Saints have won three of their last four Premiership matches and remarkably have won only two of their last five fixtures at Franklin's Gardens in the tournament.

Northampton Saints have won three of their last four Premiership matches and remarkably have won only two of their last five fixtures at Franklin's Gardens in the tournament.

London Irish beat Wasps 30-19 at Madejski Stadium on Sunday and have now won three of their last four games in the competition. The Exiles only away win this season in Premiership was 18-12 at Gloucester in round 13.

London Irish beat Northampton 39-17 when the two clubs met at Madejski Stadium in round six. The Irishmen have never before achieved a league double over the Saints. The Exiles won on their most recent visit to Franklin's Gardens: 14-13 on 17 September 2011.

Teams:

Northampton:  Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 James Wilson, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom May, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson,8 GJ van Velze, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Samu Manoa, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Tom Mercey, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Soane Tomga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Dom Waldouck.
 
London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Guy Armitage, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Pat Phibbs, 8 Jon Fisher, 7 Ofisa Treviranus, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Bryn Evans (captain), 4 George Skivington, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Jebb Sinclair, 21 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 22 Setaimata Sa, 23 Jack Moates.


Referee: J.P. Doyle
Assistant Referees: Gareth Copsey & Nigel Carrick.
TMO: TBC

Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs
(Twickenham Stoop – Kick-off: 15.15; 15.15 GMT)

Harlequins' only defeat in their last 13 contests in all competitions was 16-17 to London Wasps at the Twickenham Stoop in Premiership on 9 February - this represents their only defeat at the venue this season.

Exeter Chiefs' five match winless run in the Premiership ended on Saturday with their 47-16 victory over London Welsh at Sandy Park. The Devonians have not won on the road in Premiership since their visit to London Irish on 25 November.

Exeter are one of only four sides to have beaten Harlequins in the Premiership this season, and are chasing a first ever league double over the Londoners. The Chiefs have lost on all three previous visits to the Stoop in all competitions.

Teams:

Harlequins: Harlequins: 15 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Easter (captain), 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Jordan Burns, 22 Ben Botica, 23 George Lowe.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Sireli Naqelevuki, 12 Phil Dollman, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Ben White, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Tom Hayes (captain), 3 Alex Brown, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Carl Rimmer.
Replacements: 16 Neil Clark, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 James Hanks, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Ian Whitten.

Referee: David Rose
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank & Andrew Pearce.
TMO: Graham Hughes.

Sunday, March 3

Saracens v London Welsh
(Allianz Park: Kick-off: 14.14; 14.45 GMT)

Saracens only defeat in their last eleven encounters in all competitions was 16-29 at London Irish in Premiership on 9 February.

Saracens have not lost any home game at their seven different home venues since Clermont Auvergne won 22-3 at Vicarage Road in the quarterfinal of last season's European Cup.

London Welsh have slipped to six successive Premiership defeats since beating London Irish 15-9 at Kassam Stadium on 1 December. The Exiles' solo away victory in the competition remains at 29-19 when they visited Sale on 21 September.

Saracens won 28-23 at Oxford in their only previous Premiership encounter with London Welsh, whilst the Welshmen's only previous league win over Saracens was 23-7 way back on 12 September 1987 at Southgate in league division two (London Welsh's very first league game).

Teams:

Saracens: Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 James Short, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Ben Ransom.

London Welsh: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Phil MacKenzie, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Seb Jewell, 11 Seb Stegmann, 10 Gavin Henson, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Alfie To'oala, 7 Michael Hills, 6 Julio Cabello Farias, 5 Kirill Kulemin, 4 Jonathan Mills (captain), 3 James Tideswell, 2 Greg Bateman, 1 Franck Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 Paulica Ion, 19 Matt Corker, 20 Daniel Browne, 21 Alex Davies, 22 Gordon Ross, 23 Tom Voyce.

Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Kevin Stewart & Andrew Watson.
TMO: David Grashoff

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