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Preview: Premiership, Round 12

Thu, 02 Jan 2014 15:21
Kahn-fotuali_i-saints Kahn-fotuali_i
You do your homework on different teams
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The arrival of 2014 coincides with the second half of the English Premiership competition, which kicks off this weekend.

On Friday, Newcastle Falcons host Sale Sharks in Round 12, while Harlequins travel to Northampton Saints.

On Saturday, London Irish host Worcester Warriors, while Saracens make the trip to face Gloucester.

The action is completed on Sunday with Leicester's clash against Bath and Exeter's trip to Wasps.

The pick of the weekend's matches is undoubtedly when Saints host Quins.

Kahn Fotuali'i says that the Northampton players are looking forward to meeting the challenges that will be posed by Harlequins at Franklin's Gardens.

Both teams are coming into the big match on the back of good performances.

Saints put six tries past third-placed Bath last Saturday, with Harlequins earning plenty of plaudits for the way they played against Exeter at Twickenham.

And the Samoan says in this week's Saints podcast that Harlequins can be dangerous given the opportunity.

"You do your homework on different teams, and they all have their strengths," he commented.

"The way that Harlequins play is pretty dangerous, and if we let them get their front foot ball it could be dangerous for any team that they play against.

"They're a quality side with some quality players and defensively we're going to have to be on our game.

"It's going to be a tough challenge, but we're looking forward to it. We're not just mauling or scrummaging; we're getting players across the field and being a threat in attack and are putting teams under pressure defensively."

We look at all the Round 12 action!

Friday, January 3

Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks
(Kingston Park - Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)

Newcastle Falcons have lost just one of their last five encounters with Sale Sharks in all tournaments: 19-27 at Edgeley Park in the Premiership on Boxing Day 2011, whilst The Sharks only win in 20 previous visits to Kingston Park in all tournaments was 14-9 in the Premiership on 7th September 2008.

Newcastle Falcons have slipped to five straight defeats in the Premiership, but at least have broken their try drought, scoring two during last Friday's narrow defeat to London Wasps.

The Falcons most recent victory in the tournament was 13-11 at home to London Irish on 27th October.

Sale Sharks last four Premiership games have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst the Sharks only away victory in the Premiership since February was 22-16 at Gloucester in Round One.

Newcastle have lost just one of their last five encounters with Sale in all tournaments: 19-27 at Edgeley Park in the Premiership on Boxing Day 2011, whilst The Sharks only win in twenty previous visits to Kingston Park in all tournaments was 14-9 in the Premiership on 7th September 2008.

Teams:

Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Danny Barnes, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Ally Hogg (captain), 7 Andy Saull, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Scott MacLeod, 4 Carlo del Fava, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Franck Montanella, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Sean Tomes, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 James Fitzpatrick.

Sale Sharks: 15 Robert Miller, 14 Thomas Brady, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid (captain), 5 Michael Paterson 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Thomas Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Andrei Ostrikov, 20 Viliami Fihaki, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Phil Mackenzie.

Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant Referees: Kevin Stewart & Robin Goodliffe
TMO: Trevor Fisher.

Northampton Saints v Harlequins
(Franklin's Gardens - Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)

Northampton Saints won 13-6 when the two sides met in the Premiership in Round Two and are attempting to achieve a league double over the Londoners for the first time since season 2004/05.

Harlequins have won on three of their last four visits to Franklin's Gardens in all tournaments.

Northampton Saints are the best team in the Premiership on current form having dropped just four points from a possible thirty.

The Saints single defeat in the tournament this season remains 24-26 at Gloucester in Round Three.

Northampton have lost just one of their last nine Premiership games at Franklin's Gardens: 8-36 to Leicester on 30th March.

Harlequins only reversal in their last six outings in all competitions was 3-14 at Bath in the Premiership on December 21 – Quins have not lost successive away games in the Premiership since visiting Saracens and Gloucester in March.

Northampton won 13-6 when the two sides met in the Premiership in Round Two and are attempting to achieve a league double over the Londoners for the first time since season 2004/05.

Harlequins have won on three of their last four visits to Franklin's Gardens in all tournaments.

Teams:

Northampton Saints: 15 Tom Collins, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Sam Dickinson, 20 Tom Wood, 21 Kahn Fotuali'i, 22 Glenn Dickson, 23 Fa'atoina Autagavaia.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Nick Kennedy, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ollie Lindsay-Hague.

Referee: Greg  Garner
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix & Paul Burton
TMO: David Grashoff.

Saturday, January 4

London Irish v Worcester Warriors
(Madejski Stadium - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)

London Irish have won six of their last seven clashes with Worcester Warriors in all competitions including a 20-18 victory at Sixways in the Premiership on 14th September.

London Irish have won only one of their last ten matches in all tournaments: 24-13 over Stade Français in the European Challenge Cup on December 8.

The Exiles have tallied just four league points from their last six the Premiership matches, only Worcester have a poorer return.

Worcester Warriors have become only the third side in the history of the Premiership to reach the halfway stage without gaining a victory – the others were Bedford in 1999/2000, and Rotherham in 2003/04.

The Warriors only Premiership win in their last 22 games was 29-23 at home to Wasps on March 1.

London Irish have won six of their last seven clashes with Worcester in all competitions including a 20-18 victory at Sixways in the Premiership on 14th September.

Teams:

London Irish: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Tomás O'Leary, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Kieran Low, 5 Nic Rouse, 4 George Skivington, 3 Leo Halavatau, 2 Mike Mayhew, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 Matt Parr, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Declan Danaher, 21 Alex Lewington, 22 Ian Humphreys, 23 Ed Hoadley.

Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell (captain), 14 James Stephenson, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Ravai Fatiaki 11 Josh Drauniniu, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Jeremy Su'a, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Sam Betty, 6 Richard de Carpentier, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 James Percival, 3 Rob O'Donnell, 2 Chris Brooker, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 George Porter, 18 John Andress, 19 Chris Jones, 20 Semisi Taulava, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Josh Matavesi.

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank & Andrew Pearce
TMO: Sean Davey.

Gloucester v Saracens
(Kingsholm - Kick-off: 15.15; 15.15 GMT)

Gloucester's only victory in their last seven fixtures with Saracens was 28-23 in this equivalent fixture at Kingsholm last season, played on April 20. Saracens have won only once at Gloucester since 2005:19-17 in the Premiership on 29th October 2011.

Gloucester have won their last two games in the Premiership but have not won three in a row in the tournament since October 2012.

Gloucester's most recent Premiership game at Kingsholm was a 12-6 victory over Worcester, ending a three game losing sequence at the venue in the tournament.

Saracens arrive at the halfway stage of the Premiership season having won ten of their eleven games, only the third side to have achieved this since 1999: Bath in 2003/04 and Harlequins in 2011/12.

Sarries only loss in their last 12 Premiership regular season encounters was 20-41 at Northampton in Round Six.

Gloucester's only victory in their last seven fixtures with Saracens was 28-23 in this equivalent fixture at Kingsholm last season, played on 20th April. Saracens have won only once at Gloucester since 2005:19-17 in the Premiership on 29th October 2011.

Teams:

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Billy Twelvetrees (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Ben Morgan 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Matt Cox, 5 James Hudson, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Will James, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Shane Monahan, 23 Martyn Thomas

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick, 3 James Johnston, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Chris Wyles.

Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick & Peter Huckle
TMO: Rowan Kitt.

Sunday, January 5

Leicester Tigers v Bath
(Welford Road - Kick-off: 14.00; 14.00 GMT)

The last five encounters between the two clubs in the Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day, and in four of those the loser gained a bonus point.

Bath have visited Welford Road on 17 previous occasions in the Premiership and won just once: 13-12 on 29th November 2003.

Leicester Tigers only defeat in their last eight matches in all tournaments came at Saracens in the Premiership on December 21.

Tigers have lost just one of their last thirteen encounters at Welford Road in all competitions: 16-23 to Harlequins on November 2.

Bath's 25-43 loss at Northampton on Saturday ended an eleven game winning run in all tournaments.

Bath have not lost back to back Premiership matches since December 2012.

The last five encounters between the two clubs in the Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day, and in four of those the loser gained a bonus point.

Bath have visited Welford Road on 17 previous occasions in the Premiership and won just once: 13-12 on 29th November 2003.

Teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Toby Flood (captain), 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Ed Slater, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 David Mélé, 22 Scott Hamilton, 23 Matt Smith

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (captain), 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Leroy Houston, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 Horacio Agulla.

Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Ashley Rowden & Gareth Copsey
TMO: Geoff Warren.

London Wasps v Exeter Chiefs
(Adams Park - Kick-off: 15.00, 15.00)

Exeter Chiefs have won their last seven matches against London Wasps in all tournaments, with the Londoners only Premiership success over the Devonians being 24-12 at Adams Park in December 2010.

London Wasps have lost just one of their last five fixtures in all tournaments: 15-17 at home to Northampton in the Premiership on 21st December.

Wasps last five encounters in the Premiership have all in fact been won by the away side on the day – their most recent victory at Adams Park in the tournament being 22-12 over Leicester in Round Six.

Exeter Chiefs only victory in their last seven contests in all tournaments was 16-3 at home to Newcastle in the Premiership in round 10.

The Chiefs have not been victorious on the road since an 18-16 win at Sale on November 1.

Exeter Chiefs have won their last seven matches against London Wasps in all tournaments, with the Londoners only Premiership success over the Devonians being 24-12 at Adams Park in December 2010.

Teams:

London Wasps: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Will Helu, 13 Chris Bell (captain), 12 Charlie Hayter, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Rory Pitman, 7 Guy Thompson, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Joe Launchbury, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Will Taylor, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Ed Jackson, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Andrew Suniula.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Tom James, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Dave Ewers, 7 Ben White, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Dean Mumm (captain), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Damian Welch, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Sam Hill.

Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant Referees: Andy Watson & Stuart Terheege
TMO: Graham Hughes

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