Preview: Premiership, Round 15
Preview: Premiership, Round 15SHARE
The two Premiership pacesetters hit the road in Round 15 for what will be tricky assignments this weekend.
With just a solitary log point separating table-topping Northampton Saints and second-placed Saracens, both sides can ill afford to fall short away from home.
Round 15 is evenly split with three matches on Saturday and three on Sunday.
Bath and London Wasps, Gloucester and Harlequins and Worcester Warriors and Sale Sharks will face off on Saturday before London Irish and Leicester Tigers, Newcastle Falcons and Northampton Saints and Saracens and Exeter Chiefs collide on Sunday.
We look at all the Round 15 matches!
Saturday, February 22:
Bath v London Wasps
(Recreation Ground – Kick-off: 14.00; 14.00 GMT)
Bath have suffered just one defeat in the Premiership since Round Five: 25-43 at Northampton on December 28. Bath have won their last 11 home games in the Premiership since Saracens won there on December 22, 2012, a record for the West country club.
London Wasps have slipped to three straight defeats in all competitions and have not won on the road in the Premiership since their trip to Newcastle over Christmas. Bath won 28-5 when the two clubs met at Adams Park in Round Eight and have not achieved a season’s double over the Londoners since 2008/09.
London Wasps: TBC
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Stuart Terheege, Peter Huckle
TMO: Trevor Fisher
Gloucester v Harlequins
(Kingsholm – Kick-off: 14.00; 14.00 GMT)
Gloucester have suffered three successive losses in the Premiership since beating London Irish in Reading on December 29. The Cherry and Whites have won only two Premiership games at Kingsholm this season, only Newcastle and Worcester have fared worse on their own turf.
Harlequins’ two defeats in the Premiership since Round Five came at Bath, in Round 10, and Northampton in Round 12 – their last two away games – and have not lost three in a row on their travels since April 2011. The last 14 encounters between the clubs in the Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Harlequins have not been victorious at Kingsholm in the competition since February 13, 1999.
Referee: Gregory Garner
Assistant referees: Andy Watson, Ashley Rowden
TMO: Robin Goodliffe
Worcester Warriors v Sale Sharks
(Sixways – Kick-off: 14.00; 14.00 GMT)
Worcester Warriors have lost their last 19 Premiership fixtures, only Rotherham have a worse sequence, with 30 successive losses between 2001-2004. The Warriors have not scored more than one try in a game in the tournament since Round Two.
Sale Sharks were defeated 10-15 at home to Saracens on Friday but have picked up at least one league point from their last eight encounters. The Sharks won their most recent away game in the tournament at Newcastle but have not managed to win back-to-back matches on the road since the start of the 2008/09 season. Sale have won their last five encounters with Worcester in all competitions since the Warriors’ 23-16 victory at Sixways in the Premiership on Boxing Day 2012.
Worcester Warriors: TBC
Sale Sharks: TBC
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Simon Mcconnell, Andrew Pearce
TMO: David Grashoff
Sunday, February 23:
London Irish v Leicester Tigers
(Madejski Stadium – Kick-off: 13.00; 13.00 GMT)
London Irish’s only defeat in their last seven fixtures in all tournaments was 15-22 away at London Wasps in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on January 21. The Exiles’ 22-9 win at Madejski Stadium on January 4 snapped a three-game losing streak at the venue in the Premiership.
Leicester Tigers’ only loss in their last seven Premiership encounters was at Saracens on December 21. The Tigers were victorious in their most recent away game at Worcester but have not managed to win successive away games in the competition since last March. Leicester are unbeaten in their last nine fixtures with London Irish in all competitions since the Exiles’ 18-12 win in Reading in the Premiership in October 2009.
London Irish: TBC
Leicester Tigers: TBC
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Roger Baileff, Paul Dix
TMO: David Sainsbury
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints
(Kingston Park – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Newcastle Falcons have lost their last eight Premiership matches and picked up just two losing bonus point in that sequence. The Falcons have won their two most recent home games in all tournaments, against Bucharest Wolves and Newport Gwent Dragons.
Northampton Saints top the table and have not been defeated in the Premiership since their Round Three visit to Gloucester. The Saints have won their last eight away games in all tournaments since tripping up in Castres in the European Cup in October. Northampton have won their last seven encounters with Newcastle since the Falcons’ trip to Franklin’s Gardens in February 2009.
Newcastle Falcons: TBC
Northampton Saints: TBC
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Robin Goodliffe, Ashley Rowden
TMO: Trevor Fisher
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs
(Allianz Park – Kick-off: 15.15; 15.15 GMT)
Saracens have suffered only one reversal in the Premiership since Round Six, going down 13-22 at home to London Irish on February 8. Saracens have not lost successive home games in the Premiership in the same season since February 2006.
Exeter Chiefs’ only victory in their last seven Premiership fixtures was 16-3 at home to Newcastle on December 21. The Chiefs have not won on the road in the tournament since they visited Sale in Round Seven. Exeter’s only victory in their last seven fixtures against Saracens in all tournaments since 2010 was 14-12 at Sandy Park in the Premiership in September 2012.
Exeter Chiefs: TBC
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Paul Burton
TMO: Rowan Kitt