Preview: Premiership, Round 16
Log-leaders Northampton Saints will be out for revenge when they host Gloucester at Franklins Gardens on Saturday.
Log-leaders Northampton Saints will be out for revenge when they host Gloucester at Franklins Gardens on Saturday.
Gloucester are the only team in the Premiership to have beaten the Saints this season, and northampton's American lock Samu Manoa admitted that they will be out to set the record straight.
"Gloucester are going to be a very tough team to play. They are the only team that we've lost to in the league this year," he said.
"We came out in the second half against Newcastle thinking the game was done, but they came back.
"We let our foot off the gas a little bit so we need to come out stronger against Gloucester and keep our foot down all the way," he added.
Although Gloucester are not threatening the top of the table, but Manoa said that his team will be taking nothing for granted.
"There aren't any teams that are weak and even though Gloucester are near the bottom they are still dangerous.
"Hopefully we can get it right this time and get ourselves a little payback," he said.
After tough encounters with worcestor and Newcastle in recent weeks, the Saints know better than to underestimate a team near the bottom of the standings.
"It's been tough to warn off complacency when we play the teams lower in the league, but there are no easy games in the Premiership.
"Worcester and Newcastle are the bottom two teams but they are also the most dangerous because they are desperate and will do anything to get a win.
"We've just got to be smart about how we play and we did well to come away with two wins [from the last two games]," said Manoa.
We take a closer look at all the matches:
Friday, February 28
Bath v Saracens
(Recreation Ground - Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)
Bath have won their last seven matches in all competitions since drawing at Leicester in on January 5.
Bath are one of only two sides to have a 100% winning record at home this season, the other being Northampton.
Saracens only defeat in their last nine Premiership encounters since October was 13-22 at home to London Irish in Round 13.
Saracens are the second best away side in the Premiership this season behind Northampton with their only defeat on the road being inflicted by the Saints.
Saracens have won their last seven fixtures against Bath since Bath won 16-14 at Vicarage Road in February 2010. Sarries have been victorious on their last four trips to the Rec.
Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw (captain), 6 Alafoti Fa'osiliva, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Dominic Day, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Ryan Caldwell, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Micky Young, 22 Gavin Henson, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 David Strettle, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick, 3 James Johnston, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Eoin Sheriff, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Marcelo Bosch.
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Paul Dix
TMO: David Grashoff
Saturday, March 1
Exeter Chiefs v London Irish
(Sandy Park - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Exeter Chiefs have slipped to five straight Premiership defeats - their worst run in the competition - and dropped from fifth to eighth place in the table.
The Chiefs have been defeated in their last two Premiership contests at Sandy Park, by Northampton and Bath, but have never lost three in a
row at the venue.
London Irish’s three game winning run in the Premiership ended on Sunday with their 15-20 reversal to Leicester Tigers. The Exiles have won their last two away games, at Saracens and Wasps, but have not won three in a row on the road in the Premiership since 2008.
Exeter have won their last four encounters with London Irish whilst the Exiles only previous victory at Sandy Park was in October 2010.
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Matt Jess, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Phil Dollman, 11 Tom James, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Dave Ewers, 7 Ben White, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (captain), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Don Armand, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Fetu'u Vainikolo.
London Irish: 15 Topsy Ojo, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Eamonn Sheridan, 12 James O'Connor, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Kieran Low, 5 Nic Rouse, 4 George Skivington (captain), 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 David Paice, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Mike Mayhew, 17 Matt Parr, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Ian Gough, 21 Gerard Ellis, 22 Ian Humphreys, 23 Ed Hoadley.
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Roger Baileff, Ashley Rowden
TMO: Geoffrey Warren
Harlequins v Worcester Warriors
(Twickenham Stoop - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Harlequins have picked up just 13 league points from their last six Premiership matches, ranking them in 8th spot in the ‘current form’ table.
The Londoners have won their last five home games in the tournament since Saracens visited the Twickenham Stoop in September and were victorious 22-12.
Worcester Warriors only two victories in any first team game since this date last year were at Cardiff in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in November and at home to Oyonnax in the European Challenge Cup in January.
The Warriors solitary win in their last 40 games on their travels in the Premiership since April 2009 came at Wasps on New Years Day 2012.
Harlequins have won their last 12 encounters with Worcester in all tournaments whilst the Warriors have not beaten the Londoners in the Premiership since a 15-9 result at the Stoop in February 2005.
Harlequins: 15 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 14 Sam Smith, 13 Harry Sloan, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter (captain), 7 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Louis Grimoldby, 23 Paul Sackey.
Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Dean Hammond, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 David Lemi, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Jonathan Thomas (captain), 7 Sam Betty, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 James Percival, 3 Rob O'Donnell, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Paul Andrew, 18 Euan Murray, 19 Leonardo Senatore, 20 Semisi Taulava, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Paul Warwick, 23 Max Stelling.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Roy Maybank, Peter Huckle
TMO: Sean Davey
London Wasps v Sale Sharks
(Adams Park - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
London Wasps have slipped to four straight defeats in all tournaments since they beat London Irish at Adams Park in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in January.
Wasps have won just one of their last four Premiership encounters at Wycombe: 19-16 over Exeter in January.
Sale Sharks have won three of their last four fixtures in the Premiership; the defeat being 10-15 at home to Saracens in Round 14.
The Sharks have won their last two away games in the tournament, at Newcastle and at Worcester, but have not won three in a row on their travels in the same season since 2004/05.
Wasps have been victorious just once in their last six encounters with Sale in all tournaments: 25-18 at Adams Park in the Premiership on 23rd December 2012. The Sharks won on their most recent visit to Adams Park: 33-30 in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in February 2013.
London Wasps: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Will Helu, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Chris Bell (captain), 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Sam Jones, 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 James Cannon, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Tom Palmer, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Andy Goode, 23 Charlie Hayter.
Sale Sharks: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick MacLeod, 9 Will Cliff, 8 James Gaskell, 7 Dave Seymour, 6 Dan Braid (captain), 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Andrei Ostrikov, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Sammy Tuitupou.
Referee: Dean Richards
Assistant referees: JP Doyle, Stuart Terheege
TMO: Keith Lewis
Northampton Saints v Gloucester
(Franklin’s Gardens - Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Table topping Northampton Saints have won their last eight matches at Franklins Gardens in the Premiership since Leicester won there last March.
The Saints continue to set a new Northampton unbeaten record in the Premiership which now stands at twelve games - only Leicester have achieved longer unbeaten runs, having three better sequences.
Gloucester's 25-20 victory over Harlequins at Kingsholm on Saturday ended a three game losing streak in the Premiership. The Cherry & Whites have not won away from home in the tournament since they visited London Irish in December.
The only side to have beaten the Saints in the Premiership this season were Gloucester themselves who did so at Kingsholm in Round Three.
Northampton have only won two of their last seven encounters with Gloucester in the Premiership.
Northampton Saints: 15 James Wilson, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 GJ Van Velze, 7 Phil Dowson (captain), 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Sam Dickinson, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Ethan Waller.
Replacements: 16 Ross Mcmillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Samu Manoa, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Will Hooley, 23 Ben Foden.
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mike Tindall (captain), 11 Martyn Thomas, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Gareth Evans 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 James Hudson, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Will James, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Shane Monahan.
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Simon Mcconnell
TMO: Rowan Kitt
Sunday, March 2
Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers
(Kingston Park - Kick-off: 14.00; 14.00)
Newcastle Falcons have been defeated in their last nine Premiership encounters and are closing in on their worst run in the tournament, which was 11 straight defeats during 2011.
The Falcons have won two of their last three contests at Kingston Park in all tournaments beating Bucharest Wolves and Newport Gwent Dragons in January.
Leicester Tigers are unbeaten in their last five Premiership matches since December, a run which included a 27-all draw with Bath at Welford Road in January.
The Tigers have gained 16 league points from their last six away games; only Saracens and Northampton have gleaned more.
Leicester have won their last eight fixtures with the Falcons in all tournaments since Newcastle were victorious 14-10 in the Premiership at Kingston Park in March 2009.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Lee Smith, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Will Welch (captain), 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Scott MacLeod, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Gary Strain, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Sean Tomes, 20 Chris York, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Danny Barnes.
Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Pablo Matera, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Ed Slater (captain), 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Sebastian De Chaves, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 David Mele, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Adam Thompstone.
Referee: Gregory Garner
Assistant referees: Andy Watson, Gareth Copsey
TMO: Graham Hughes