Preview: Premiership, Round Seven
Preview: Premiership, Round SevenSHARE
After two emphatic European victories Worcestor Warriors will be keen to give their home crowd something to cheer about in the Premiership against Sale Sharks on Friday.
The Warriors twice set a new record European points haul, beating both Bizkaia Gernika and Rovigo in the Amlin Challenge Cup, running in 27 tries in the process.
But they will be looking to improve a run that has seen them secure just one victory, against London Irish on September 28, in their last ten Premiership fixtures.
We look at all the action:
Friday, October 26
Worcestor Warriors v Sale Sharks
(Sixways, Kick-off: 20.00 GMT)
Worcester Warriors have gained maximum points from the European Challenge Cup over the past two weeks with two huge wins over Spanish and Italian opposition.
However, in the Premiership the Warriors have secured just one victory from their last ten fixtures: 35-11 at home to London Irish on 28 September.
Worcester are unbeaten in their last three matches at Sixways in all competitions.
Sale Sharks gained a maiden win of the 2012/13 season with their 34-33 victory over Cardiff Blues at the Salford City Stadium in the European Cup two weeks ago.
The Sharks have gained just a single league point from the opening six contests in the Premiership this season –the poorest start by any club since Rotherham took 12 games to get “off the mark” in season 2003/04.
The last four contests between the two clubs have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Sale have not won at Sixways since 31 January 2009.
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Errie Claassens, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Semisi Taulava, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sam Betty, 5 Craig Gillies, 4 James Percival, 3 John Andress, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Matt Mullan (captain).
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Ceri Jones, 18 James Currie, 19 Dean Schofield, 20 Chris Jones, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Ravai Fatiaki.
Sale: 15 Nick Macleod, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Cillian Willis, 8 Andy Powell, 7 David Seymour (captain), 6 Richie Vernon, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 James Gaskell, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Will Addison.
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant referees: Gareth Copsey, Ashley Rowden
Saturday, October 27
Bath v Exeter Chiefs
(Recreation Ground, Kick-off: 14.30 GMT)
Bath have won three of their last four games in all competitions, but have been victorious just once in their last four Premiership encounters: 31-10 at home to Sale in round five.
Bath’s only reversal in their last four clashes at The Rec was 14-18 to table topping Northampton on 14 September.
Exeter Chiefs have wontwo of their last three matches in the Premiership, but have slipped to five straight defeats away from home in all competitions since beating Worcester 31-26 at Sixways on 14 April.
Exeter have not beaten Bath in a competitive game since a 1st round tie at the County Ground in the John Player Cup on 28 January 1978.
Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Kyle Eastmond, 13 Dan Hipkiss, 12 Ben Williams, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Francois Louw (captain), 6 Carl Fearns, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Dominic Day, 3 David Wilson, 2 Lee Mears, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Stuart Hooper, 20 Will Skuse, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Sam Vesty, 23 Horacio Agulla.
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Carl Rimmer, 2 Simon Alcott, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Chris Budgen, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Ian Whitten.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Paul Dix, Robin Goodliffe
TMO: Geoffrey Warren
Northampton Saints v Saracens
(Franklin's Gardens, Kick-off: 15.00 GMT)
Northampton Saints continue to top the the Premiership table despite their 17-39 loss to 11th placed London Irish at Madejski Stadium in round six.
The Saints have won their last five games in all competitions at Franklin’s Gardens.
Saracens’ single defeat in any tournament this season remains to Exeter at Sandy Park on 23 September, whilst they have won their three away encounters since then.
Northampton have beaten Saracens just once in their last seven Premiership fixtures: 30-8 in this equivalent game at Franklin’s Gardens last November.
Northampton: 15 Stephen Myler, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Dom Waldouck, 11 Vasily Artemyev, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 GJ Van Velze, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Paul Doran Jones, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Samu Manoa, 20 Rhys Oakley, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Tom May, 23 Luther Burrell.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Ernst Joubert, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Chris Wyles.
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Alan Hughes
TMO: David John Hudson
Gloucester v Leicester Tigers
(Kingsholm, Kick-off: 16.45 GMT)
Gloucester are unbeaten in their last seven matches in all competitions, a sequence which includes five successive victories. The Cherry & Whites have won their last three games at Kingsholm against Wasps, Bath and Bordeaux-Begles.
Leicester Tigers’ solitary defeat in the Premiership so far this campaign was 9-22 to defending champions Harlequins at Welford Road in round four.
The Tigers have lost just one Premiership game on the road in the past twelve months: 11-19 at Exeter on 11 February.
The Tigers are undefeated in their last four clashes with Gloucester in all competitions, but have won just once at Kingsholm since 2008: 19-14 in this equivalent fixture last season.
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Mike Tindall (captain), 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Ben Morgan 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Will James, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Koree Britton, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Martyn Thomas, 23 Shane Monahan
Leicester Tigers: 15 Geordan Murphy (captain), 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Thomas Waldrom, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Graham Kitchener, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Andrew Pearce, Kevin Stewart
TMO: David Grashoff
Sunday, October 28
London Irish v Harlequins
(Madejski Stadium, Kickoff: 14.15 GMT)
London Irish have won four of their last five games in all competitions, and have been victorious in their last three home games at Madejski Stadium.
The Exiles beat table-topping Northampton, 37-19, in round six and gained their first try bonus point of the season in the process.
Harlequins have made a 100% winning start to their European Cup campaign, but have been defeated in their last two Premiership encounters against Saracens and Exeter.
Quins have not lost three in a row in this tournament since the 2009/10 season.
The two clubs met on three occasions in all competitions last term with Quins triumphant each time. Harlequins have not won a Premiership game at Madejski Stadium since February 2009.
London Irish: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Guy Armitage, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Tomás O'Leary, 8 Chris Hala'ufia 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Declan Danaher (captain), 5 Matt Garvey, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Cai Griffiths, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Alex Gray, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Darren Allinson.
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Seb Stegmann.
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Stuart Terheege, Roy Maybank
TMO: Graham Hughes
London Wasps v London Welsh
(Adams Park, Kick-off: 15.00 GMT)
London Wasps play in their 350th Premiership game, only Leicester, with 355 have played in more.
Wasps have won 193 of those games for a 55% winning rate, a percentage again only bettered by the Tigers.
The Londoners have won their last three outings in all competitions, and also won all three encounters at Adams Park this season.
London Welsh ended a three game losing run with their 32-31 victory in Prato in the European Challenge Cup on Saturday.
The Exiles have lost just one of their last nine away games in all competitions: 3-40 at Harlequins on 7 September.
The only previous occasion that the two teams have met in a competitive match was in the quarterfinal of the John Player Cup in March 1979 where Wasps won a tryless encounter, 6-3 at Sudbury.
London Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Lee Thomas, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Zak Taulafo, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 T Rhys Thomas, 17 Phil Swainston, 18 Fabio Staibano, 19 James Cannon, 20 Jonathan Poff, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Elliot Daly.
London Welsh: 15 Tom Voyce, 14 Phil MacKenzie, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Seb Jewell, 11 Nick Scott, 10 Gavin Henson, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Michael Hills, 6 Jonathan Mills (captain), 5 Matt Corker, 4 Martin Purdy, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Franck Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 Arthur Joly, 19 Kirill Kulemin, 20 Alfie To'oala, 21 Nick Runciman, 22 James Lewis, 23. Joe Ajuwa.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Andrew Watson