Preview: Premiership, Round Seven
Preview: Premiership, Round SevenSHARE
Bath and Worcester appear to be two clubs heading in different directions, but Matt Garvey is urging his teammates to ignore the table.
Gary Gold's Bath find themselves sitting pretty in third after six games this season, their latest victory being the sweetest of all as they got one over West Country rivals Gloucester at the Rec.
But it is a completely different story for struggling Worcester, with Dean Ryan still waiting for his first win as the Warriors' new director of rugby – his side rooted to the foot of the table and already eight points adrift.
However Garvey will know exactly what the mood will be like in the Worcester camp, having spent four seasons with London Irish, often struggling to survive at the wrong end of the table.
And the forward is warning Bath that they should underestimate Worcester at their peril, with the Warriors sooner or later looking to dish out some revenge.
"I know what the boys at Worcester will be going through as I experienced some dark days myself while I was with London Irish," he said.
"There was one point while I was with London Irish where we lost something like ten games in a row and it actually brings everyone closer together.
"They will be thinking that they are the boys who got them in trouble and that they are the ones who will get them out of trouble and they will be itching to do just that.
"So I have told the boys that there can't be any complacency on Friday night. Worcester will be a tough test, it is never easy to play there on a Friday night and Dean Ryan is a great coach.
"They also have some great players, Josh Matavesi in the centres is a terrific player, so we will need to be wary as they will be looking to get that win and we can't let it be against us."
Garvey has enjoyed himself so far in his new surroundings of the Rec, the 26-year-old missing just 40 minutes of Bath's Premiership campaign so far.
And he insists that the feel-good factor expands way beyond the pitch with his new life in Somerset getting off to a great start.
"Bath is very different to London, there isn't all the usual hustle and bustle, but myself and my other half Lindsey have fallen in love with the place," he added.
"I obviously don't know what will happen in the future in terms of rugby but we have already spoken about Bath being a place that we could settle down in later in life.
"And in terms of a club everyone has been great and really welcoming and I know everyone always says this but there really is a great bunch of lads at Bath and it has been great so far."
We take a look at all of the weekend's matches:
Friday, November 1
Worcestor Warriors v Bath
(Sixways – Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)
Worcester Warriors remain without a victory this season and have gained just two losing bonus points so far in this Premiership Rugby campaign. The Warriors most recent victory was 29-23 over London Wasps at Sixways on March 1.
Bath have won their last three encounters in all competitions, but away from home in the Premiership have been successful just once since September 2012: at Newcastle 21-0 in Round One this season.
Worcester have beaten Bath only once in their last dozen meetings in all tournaments: 16-7 at Sixways on November 25 2011.
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Dean Hammond, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Jonathan Thomas (captain), 7 Jake Abbott, 6 Leonardo Senatore, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Chris Jones, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku.
Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker, 17 George Porter, 18 John Andress, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Sam Betty, 21 Jeremy Su'a, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Ravai Fatiaki.
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 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 Will Spencer, 4 Stuart Hooper (captain), 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Alafoti Fa'osiliva, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Gavin Henson, 23 Horacio Agulla.
Referee: Gregory Garner
Assistant referees: Andy Watson, Gordon Goodliffe
TMO: Graham Hughes
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs:
(Salford City Stadium – Kick-off: 20.00; 20.00 GMT)
Sale Sharks’ three game winning run in all competitions ended at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.
The Sharks have lost only once at AJ Bell Stadium since February: 14-15 to Newcastle in Round Two of Premiership rugby.
Exeter Chiefs rose into the top four for the first time since the opening round of last season with their 40-6 demolition of Worcester on Saturday.
The Chiefs only defeat in their last six Premiership away encounters was 11-38 at Northampton on the opening weekend of the new season.
The two sides have met on six previous occasions with the Sharks only victory so far coming at AJ Bell Stadium in their most recent encounter.
Sale: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Mark Easter, 7 Dan Braid (captain), 6 Michael Paterson, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Kirill Kulemin, 3 Vadim Cobilas 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Eifion Lewis Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 David Seymour, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Andy Forsyth.
Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Matt Jess, 13 Jason Shoemark, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Dave Ewers, 7 Ben White, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (captain), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Don Armand, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Luke Arscott.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Paul Dix
TMO: Trevor Fisher
Saturday, November 2
Gloucester v London Wasps
(Kingsholm – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 James Simpson-Daniel, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Jonny May, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Andy Hazell, 6 Tom Savage (captain), 5 James Hudson, 4 Will James, 3 Shaun Knight, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 James Gibbons, 18 Rupert Harden, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Charlie Sharples, 23 Matt Kvesic.
London Wasps: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Chris Bell (captain), 12 Charlie Hayter, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes. 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Will Taylor, 19 James Cannon, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Tommy Bell.
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Gareth Copsey
TMO: Rowan Kitt
Leicester Tigers v Harlequins
(Welford Road – Kick-off: 17.30; 17.30 GMT)
Leicester: 15 Niall Morris, 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Terrence Hepetema, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Owen Williams, 9 David Mélé, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Ed Slater, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon (captain), 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Matt Smith, 23 Blaine Scully.
Harlequins: 15 Nick Evans, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Danny Care, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Joe Trayfoot, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Easter (captain), 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Harry Allen, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Nic Mayhew 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Jack Clifford, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Tom Casson, 23 Sam Smith.
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Gregory Garner, Kevin Stewart
TMO: David Grashoff
Sunday, November 3
London Irish v Northampton Saints
(Madejski Stadium – Kick-off: 14.00; 14.00 GMT)
London Irish’s three game winning run in all tournaments came to an end late in their encounter with the Falcons at Newcastle on Sunday.
The Exiles have been defeated only once at Madejski Stadium in Premiership Rugby in 2013: 23-29 to Exeter in September.
Northampton Saints were impressive in beating top of the table Saracens 41-20 at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday and have now handed Saracens their two biggest Premiership defeats since 2009.
The Saints only away victory so far this season came at Harlequins on September 13.
Both encounters between the two clubs in the Premiership last season ended in easy victories for the home side, although Northampton have still been victorious on three of their last four visits to Reading in the Premiership.
London Irish: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Tomás O'Leary (captain), 8 Chris Hala'ufia 7 Ofisa Treviranus, 6 Blair Cowan, 5 Bryn Evans, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Leo Halavatau, 2 David Paice, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Mike Mayhew, 17 Matt Parr, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Declan Danaher, 21 Alex Lewington, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Darren Allinson.
Northampton Saints: 15 James Wilson, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Tom Collins, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Phil Dowson (captain), 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 GJ van Velze, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Ryan Glynn, 22 Glenn Dickson, 23 Dom Waldouck.
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Roger Baileff, Stuart Terheege
TMO: Ashley Rowden
Saracens v Newcastle Falcons
(Allianz Park – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)
Saracens slipped to a second successive defeat at Northampton on Saturday to follow on from their narrow reversal against Toulouse at Wembley in the European Cup.
The Sarries only defeat in their ten previous matches at Allianz Park in all competitions came to Northampton in last year’s Premiership semifinal.
Newcastle Falcons have won three of their last four matches in all competitions and the newly promoted team have risen to eighth place in the Premiership table. Newcastle have won four of their last five away games in the Premiership.
Saracens have won their last seven fixtures against Newcastle in all competitions since the Falcons 13-9 victory at Kingston Park in the Premiership in February 2009. Newcastle have not been triumphant on
Saracens soil since 2007.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Michael Tagicakibau, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Chris Wyles, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Mourtiz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Jamie George, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Petrus Du Plessis, 19 George Kruis, 20 Jacques Burger, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Ben Ransom.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Danny Barnes, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Ally Hogg (captain), 7 Will Welch, 6 , 5 Dom Barrow, 4 Carlo del Fava, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Grant Shiells, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 James Fitzpatrick.
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce, Andrew Pearce
TMO: Roy Maybank