Preview: Premiership, Round Five
Preview: Premiership, Round FiveSHARE
It is the fifth round of Premiership action this weekend and it sees Saracens make the trip across London to Harlequins to face the reigning champions at The Stoop.
In other games this weekend, Wasps travel to the unbeaten Northampton Saints on Friday, while Worcester Warriors host London Irish.
On Saturday, Bath host Sale Sharks and Exeter Chiefs travel to Leicester Tigers.
Saracens trip to Harlequins and London Welsh's home clash against Gloucester rounds off the round five action.
We look at all the Round Five action!
Northampton Saints v London Wasps
(Franklin's Gardens – 19.45; 18.45 GMT)
Northampton Saints have really hit the ground running in the Premiership this season with a perfect played four, won four record.
The Saints have now won their last six regular season matches in the competition. Northampton's solitary home Premiership defeat in the last 12 months was 21-35 to Leicester on 14 April.
London Wasps' only victory in their last eight encounters in all competitions was 43-14 over London Irish at Adams Park in round three.
The Londoners have not won an away game since they visited Rovigo in the European Challenge Cup on 14 January.
Northampton have won their last six fixtures with Wasps in all competitions, whilst Wasps most recent victory at Franklin's Gardens came on 12 November 2005.
Northampton: 15 James Wilson, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Dom Waldouck, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Vasily Artemyev, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Rhys Oakley, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Paul Doran Jones, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Phil Dowson, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Tom May.
Wasps: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Chris Bell, 11 James Bailey, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 James Haskell, 6 Joe Launchbury, 4 Tom Palmer, 4 Marco Wentzel (captain), 3 Zak Taulafo, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 T Rhys Thomas, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Fabio Staibano, 19 Sam Jones, 20 James Cannon, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Stephen Jones, 23 Elliot Daly.
Referee: Dave Pearson
Assistant Referees: Robin Goodliffe, Paul Dix. TMO: Trevor Fisher.
Worcester Warriors v London Irish
(Sixways – 20.00; 19.00 GMT)
Worcester Warriors are still searching out their first the Premiership win since Round 18 last season against relegated Newcastle.
The Warriors are winless at Sixways since beating Saracens there 16-11 on 24 February.
London Irish opened their 2012/13 winning account at home to Bath on Saturday, but have not managed back to back victories since September 2011.
The Exiles have won just once on the road in any tournament in 2012: 25-16 in this equivalent match back in April.
London Irish are unbeaten in their last eleven Premiership encounters with the Warriors, Worcester's most recent victory over Irish in the tournament was way back on 11 September 2005 at Madejski Stadium.
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Sam Betty, 6 Chris Jones, 5 Dean Schofield (captain), 4 James Percival, 3 John Andress, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Ollie Hayes, 17 Ceri Jones, 18 James Currie, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Semisi Taulava, 21 Ollie Frost, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Jon Clarke.
London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Steven Shingler, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Tomás O'Leary, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Declan Danaher (captain), 5 Matt Garvey, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Shaun Malton, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Alan Cotter, 19 George Skivington, 20 Alex Gray, 21 Topsy Ojo, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Jack Moates.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick, Stuart Terheege.
Saturday, September 29
Bath v Sale Sharks
(Recreation Ground – 14.15; 13.15 GMT)
Bath have slipped to a pair of losing bonus point reversals to Northampton and London Irish in recent weeks. Bath have not suffered back to back defeats at The Rec in the Premiership since last December.
Sale Sharks have made their poorest ever start to a league season since they lost all eleven division one matches in the inaugural season for the RFU leagues in 1987/88.
Sale's most recent away win came at Gloucester on 21 April.
Sale achieved the Premiership double over Bath last season for the first time since 2005/06, and are going for successive wins at The Rec for the first time in their history.
Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Kyle Eastmond, 13 Dan Hipkiss, 12 Stephen Donald, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Olly Barkley, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Ben Skirving, 6 Carl Fearns, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (captain), 3 David Wilson, 2 Lee Mears, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Will Skuse, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Sam Vesty, 23 Jack Cuthbert.
Sale: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Cillian Willis, 8 Andy Powell, 7 David Seymour (captain), 6 James Doyle, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Vadim Cobilas, 18 Aston Croall, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Will Addison.
Referee: David Rose
Assistant Referees: Matthew Carly, Gareth Copsey.
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs
(Welford Road – 14.15; 13.15 GMT)
Leicester Tigers have not scored a try for 166 minutes – their longest barren spell in the Premiership since November 2010.
The Tigers' 9-22 home defeat to Harlequins on Saturday was only the sixth time in Premiership history that Leicester have come away from a game at Welford Road with no league points.
Exeter Chiefs' last five games have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst the Chiefs have lost their last three away games.
The Devonians achieved the the Premiership double over the Tigers last season and are attempting to join a select band of clubs who have managed back to back Premiership victories at Welford Road after Northampton, Harlequins, Saracens and Wasps.
Leicester: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jordan Crane (captain), 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Graham Kitchener, 3 Dan Cole, 2 George Chuter, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Brett Deacon, 21 Patrick Phibbs, 22 George Ford, 23 Adam Thompstone.
Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Sireli Naqelevuki, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Tom Hayes (captain), 3 Carl Rimmer, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Simon Alcott, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Chris Budgen, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Ben White, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Phil Dollman.
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant Referees: Andrew Watson, Paul Burton
TMO: Graham Hughes
Sunday, September 30
Harlequins v Saracens
(Twickenham Stoop – 14.00; 13.00 GMT)
Harlequins, the defending the Premiership champions, have made the perfect start to their defence with five straight wins.
Quins have lost just one Premiership encounter at the Twickenham Stoop since Saracens won there in round 22 of the 2010/11 campaign.
Saracens have gone 180 minutes without scoring a try – their longest tryless spell for two years.
Sarries are winless in their last two games and have not had a three game run without a victory in the competition since March 2010.
Harlequins ended a five game losing run against Saracens with their 24-19 win at Wembley Stadium in March, whilst Saracens have won on four of their last five visits to The Stoop.
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Seb Stegmann, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Ollie Lindsay-Hague.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Petrus du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 George Kruis, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 David Strettle.
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant Referees: Ashley Rowden, Andrew Pearce
TMO: David Grashoff
London Welsh v Gloucester
(Kassam Stadium – 15.00; 14.00 GMT)
London Welsh have now recorded successive the Premiership victories over Exeter and Sale.
The Exiles have won two of the three league games they have played at Kassam Stadium.
Gloucester Rugby are unbeaten in their last three encounters since their opening day defeat at home to Northampton. Gloucester's most recent away loss was to London Irish at Madejski Stadium on 5 May.
The two clubs have not clashed in competitive rugby since a 4th round tie in the Tetley's Bitter Cup at Old Deer Park on 3 January 1998 where Gloucester ran out 34-18 victors.
London Welsh: 15 Seb Jewell, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Hudson Tonga'uiha, 11 Nick Scott, 10 Gordon Ross, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Michael Hills, 6 Daniel Browne, 5 Matt Corker, 4 Jonathan Mills (captain), 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Frank Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 Arthur Joly, 19 Kirill Kulemin, Alfie To'oala, 21 Nick Runciman, 22 Ryan Davis, 23 Phil MacKenzie.
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Jonny May, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Andy Hazell, 6 Peter Buxton, 5 Jim Hamilton (captain), 4 Tom Savage, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Koree Britton, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Will James, 20 Akapusi Qera, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Henry Trinder, 23 Martyn Thomas.
Referee: Llyr Apgeraint-Roberts
Assistant Referees: Peter Huckle, Kevin Stewart