Preview: Premiership, Round 10
Thu, 19 Dec 2013 13:50
Saracens have lost just one match this season
It will be the Premiership leaders against the defending champions when Saracens host Leicester at Allianz Park for the first time on Saturday.
Saracens have lost just one match this season, leaving them ten points ahead of the Fifth-placed Tigers, but Leicester flank Jamie Gibson believes that things are beginning to click at the right time.
Having been involved in the back-to-back victories over Montpellier in the european Cup, Gibson is confident that the Tigers can challenge Saracens this weekend.
I'm really pleased with how the last few weeks have gone. It took a while to settle in to a new club, new area, a new group of people," he said. "It's a learning experience and you're not completely in your element at first.
"It's a different sort of pressure but I knew quite a few players from the England set-up and a few from London Irish before.
"The first thing you want to do is impress the coaches and players and you approach it like a challenge.
"You are going to make mistakes when you're first starting out and that was true at London Irish too, but I sat down with Cockers and players like Tom Croft and my game has really improved this year.
"I'm more patient with my decision-making and approach rather than rushing in and when you've got so many high-quality players at Leicester sometimes you can step back a bit and see how they do it."
We look at all the weekend's fixtures:
Friday, December 20
Sale Sharks v London Irish
(Salford City Stadium - Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)
Sale Sharks have won just once in their last four Premiership games: 26-10 at home to bottom placed Worcester in Round Eight.
The Sharks’ solo defeat at AJ Bell Stadium in their last four Premiership encounters there was 16-18 to Exeter on November 1.
London Irish have won only one of their last eight fixtures in all tournaments: 24-13 over Stade Français at Madejski Stadium in the European Challenge Cup on December 8, whilst their most recent victory in the Premiership was 18-13 at home to Harlequins on October 5.
The Exiles have won just once on the road in the Premiership since early January: 20-18 at Worcester in Round Two this season.
London Irish have won just one of their last four encounters with the Sharks in the Premiership: 21-19 at Reading on 8th January 2012, whilst their only away victory at Sale since 2009 came at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton in April 2011.
Sale Sharks: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Mark Jennings, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid, 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Kirill Kulemin, 20 Andrei Ostrikov, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Phil Mckenzie.
London Irish: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Andrew Fenby, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Tomás O'Leary, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Jebb Sinclair, 5 Ian Gough, 4 George Skivington (captain), 3 CJ Van der Linde, 2 Jimmy Stevens, 1 Matt Parr.
Replacements: 16 Mike Mayhew, 17 John Yapp, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Nic Rouse, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Alex Lewington, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Darren Allinson.
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Chris Sharp, Luke Pearce
TMO: Trevor Fisher
Saturday, December 21
London Wasps v Northampton Saints
(Adams Park - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
London Wasps have won their last three matches in all tournaments since their 5-28 home reversal to Bath on November 24.
The Londoners have won just two of their last six Premiership home games played at Adams Park - against Worcester and Leicester.
Northampton Saints have lost just one of their last nine fixtures in all tournaments: 7-40 at home to Leinster in the European Cup on December 7.
The Saints’only away defeat in the Premiership this season came at Gloucester, 24-26,in Round Three.
Northampton have won their last eight fixtures against their hosts since Wasps were last victorious 2015 at Adams Park in the Premiership on 4th October 2009.
London Wasps: TBC
Northampton Saints: TBC
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Ashley Rowden, Peter Huckle
TMO: David Sainsbury
Saracens v Leicester Tigers
(Allianz Park - Kick-off: 15.15; 15.15 GMT)
Saracens have won their last seven matches in all tournaments,and have topped the Premiership Rugby since the end of Round Two.
The Londoners have played fourteen games at their new Allianz Park venue and have lost only once: 13-27 to Northampton in last season’s Premiership semifinal.
Leicester Tigers have won their last six contests in all tournaments since their 16-23 defeat to Harlequins at Welford Road in the Premiership on November 2.
The Tigers have not lost away from home in any tournament since visiting Wasps in the Premiership on October 27.
The two clubs met on three occasions last season in all competitions with Saracens unbeaten, Leicester’s most recent victory over the Londoners being 24-15 in the 2012 Premiership semifinal at Welford Road. This is the Tigers first ever visit to Allianz Park.
Leicester Tigers: TBC
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Andy Watson, Robin Goodliffe
TMO: Graham Hughes
Bath v Harlequins
(The Recreational Ground - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Referee: Martin Fox
Assistant referees: Gareth Copsey, Paul Dix
TMO: Rowan Kitt
Gloucester v Worcester Warriors
(Kingsholm - Kick-off: 14.00; 14.00 GMT)
Gloucester have lost their last five Premiership matches since their 22-16 victory at Newcastle on September 29.
Gloucester’s only home win in the Premiership so far this season remains 26-24 over Northampton in Round Three.
Worcester Warriors only win in their last 20 matches in all competitions was 21-16 at Cardiff Blues in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on November 8, whilst the Warriors’have not managed a single league point in their last seven away games in the Premiership.
Gloucester have lost just once to Worcester in their last seven meetings in all tournaments since 2009: 5-21 at Sixways in the Premiership on 7th January 2012.
The Warriors only win at Kingsholm in any tournament was 13-6 in the Premiership in round 21 of the 2008/09 season.
Worcester Warriors: TBC
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Roy Maybank
TMO: David Grashoff
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