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Preview: Premiership, Round 19

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 17:55
Conor-o_shea-harlequins Charliesharplesgloucester Olly-kohn-quins Gloucester-general
We were probably a bit rusty
Quote-end

Director of Rugby Nigel Davies makes one change to his back line and four in the pack as Gloucester  welcome Harlequins to Kingsholm for Friday's Premiership encounter.

Third in the Premiership table will play fifth as the race for top four places heats up, and the game at Kingsholm kicks off a weekend of key action.

The one change in the backs from the team that started against London Welsh last weekend, sees Henry Trinder replace Mike Tindall in the midfield as Gloucester continue to field an all English back line.

Up front, Koree Britton will make his first start in the Premiership at hooker, while Lua Lokotui returns to partner Jim Hamilton in the second row.

Meanwhile, Tom Savage and Akapusi Qera resume their usual positions as blindside and openside flank respectively.

After three weeks without a game, Davies acknowledged that his team weren't initially at their best against London Welsh last weekend but will be looking for a more complete performance against Harlequins.

"We were probably a bit rusty, definitely didn't work to the patterns that we did earlier in the season, although we saw a bit of it towards the end of the game in the last 20 minutes when we opened it up again.

"What we've done this week is look within ourselves as a group, just refocus on what's important to us and look at the individuals that we have within the team and what we're capable of.

"It's all about how we perform on Friday night. It's a big game, against a tough opponent who have been trailblazing over the last two or three years in terms of their performances and results. So, it'll be a big test for us.

"But we're still very much in the fight. It's about seeing what we can do, and taking our game to the next level."

We look at all the Round 19 action!

Friday, March 29

Gloucester v Harlequins
(Kingsholm - Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)

Third in the Premiership table will play fifth as the race for top four places heats up, and the game at Kingsholm kicks off a weekend of key action.

The one change in the backs from the team that started against London Welsh last weekend, sees Henry Trinder replace Mike Tindall in the midfield as Gloucester continue to field an all English back line.

Up front, Koree Britton will make his first start in the Premiership at hooker, while Lua Lokotui returns to partner Jim Hamilton in the second row.

Meanwhile, Tom Savage and Akapusi Qera resume their usual positions as blindside and openside flank respectively.

Teams:

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

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Ross Chisholm, 13 George Lowe, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter (captain), 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Matt Hopper.

Saturday, March 30

Bath v London Welsh
(The Rec - Kick-off: 14.15; 14.15 GMT)

Bath's only win in their last three Premiership fixtures was 31-25 at home to Gloucester in round 17.

Bath have lost just once at The Rec in any competition since September: 0-22 to Saracens in the Premiership on 22 December.

London Welsh have not managed a victory in the Premiership since 1 December when London Irish visited the Kassam Stadium. The Exiles have tallied just two away wins this season, one in the Premiership at Sale and one in the European Challenge Cup, at Prato.

London Welsh won 16-9 when the two clubs met at Oxford in November, whilst their only previous meeting at The Rec in competitive rugby came in the 4th round of the John Player Special Cup in February 1987, with the home side victorious 30-4.

Teams:

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

London Welsh: 15 Seb Jewell, 14 Phil MacKenzie, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Sonny Parker, 11 Seb Stegmann, 10 Gordon Ross, 9 Alex Davies, 8 Daniel Browne, 7 Michael Hills, 6 Julio Cabello Farias, 5 Kirill Kulemin, 4 Jonathan Mills (captain), 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Dan George, 1 Franck Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 James Tideswell, 19 Matt Corker, 20 Adam Balding, 21 Rob Lewis, 22 James Lewis, 23 Nick Scott.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant Referees: Gareth Copsey & Peter Huckle

Worcester v Exeter
(Sixways - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)

Worcester Warriors' solo victory in their last seven Premiership fixtures was 29-23 at home to Wasps on 1 March.

Exeter Chiefs won their most recent away match 27-16 at Harlequins but have not managed back to back away victories in the competition since last April.

All three previous Premiership contests between the two clubs have been taken by the Chiefs, while Worcester's most recent victory over the Devonians was 25-14 at the old County Ground in National One in March 2004.

Teams:

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

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 (captain), 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Carl Rimmer.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Brett Sturgess, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 James Hanks, 20 Ben White, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Sireli Naqelevuki.

Referee: David Rose
Assistant Referees: Steve Lee & Nigel Carrick.

Northampton v Leicester
(Franklin's Gardens - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)

Northampton Saints have won their last four matches of Premiership Rugby since they lost 11-27 to Gloucester at Franklin's Gardens on 9 February.

Leicester Tigers are the Premiership's best away side having secured 27 league points on their travels this season.

Saints and Tigers both jointly lead the Premiership (along with Wasps) in scoring 40 tries apiece during this season's campaign.

Leicester have won their last six encounters with Northampton in all competitions since the Saints' 27-19 win at Franklin's Gardens in the Premiership in the opening round of the 2010/11 season.

Teams:

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 James Wilson, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom May, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Tom Wood, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Samu Manoa, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Tom Mercey, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 GJ van Velze, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Luther Burrell.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Toby Flood (captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Thomas Waldrom, 20 Graham Kitchener, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Robin Goodliffe & Roy Maybank.
TMO: David Grashoff.

London Wasps v Saracens
(Adams Park - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)

Wasps welcome table toppers Saracens to Adams Park this weekend aiming to bounce back from a last second heart-breaking defeat to Northampton Saints last time out.

London Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young conceded that a positive result last weekend would have given his side an unlikely win, but added that plenty of hard work this week will prepare his side well for the leading side in the league.

Teams:

London Wasps: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Jones, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Marco Wentzel (captain), 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 T Rhys Thomas, 17 Tim Payne, 18 Will Taylor, 19 Tom Palmer, 20 Jonathan Poff, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Nick Robinson, 23 Hugo Southwell.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Petrus du Plessis, 2 John Smit, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 George Kruis, 20 Jacques Burger, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 David Strettle.

Referee: Martin Fox
Assistant Referees: Andrew Pearce & Ashley Rowden.

Sunday, March 31

London Irish v Sale Sharks
(Madejski Stadium - Kick-off: 14.15; 14.15 GMT)

London Irish's last five matches of Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day; the Exiles most recent defeat at Madejski Stadium in any competition being 9-31 to Leicester in the Premiership on 22 December.

Sale Sharks recorded a fifth victory of the 2012/13 campaign, 14-13 at home to Bath last weekend. The Sharks' only away victory in the competition this season was 26-25 over London Welsh at Oxford in round 15.

The Sharks won 21-9 when the two sides met at Salford City Stadium in round 8; they have not completed a league double over London Irish since season 2005/06. Sale's most recent win at Madejski Stadium was in October 2006.

Teams:

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Guy Armitage, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Pat Phibbs, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Ofisa Treviranus, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Bryn Evans, 4 George Skivington (captain), 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Jon Fisher, 20 Jebb Sinclair, 21 Topsy Ojo, 22 Jonathan Joseph, 23 Darren Allinson.

Sale Sharks: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Charlie Amesbury, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour (captain), 6 Daniel Braid, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Kearnan Myall, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Tom Holmes, 20 Andy Powell, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Tom Brady.

Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton & Andrew Watson.
TMO: Graham Hughes

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