Premiership: Jacques Vermeulen makes Exeter Chiefs return against Sale Sharks while Ben Earl starts for Saracens

Exeter back-row Jacques Vermeulen Credit: Alamy
Exeter back-row Jacques Vermeulen Credit: Alamy

The line-ups have been confirmed ahead of this weekend’s Premiership games, including the encounter between third-placed Northampton Saints and Gloucester, who are currently sitting in fourth spot, at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

Check out the teams and our predictions for all of the weekend’s games, here.


Bath v Bristol Bears

Form: Bath Rugby have won only once in any competition since mid-November: 24-16 at home to Newcastle Falcons in Gallagher Premiership Rugby on New Year’s Eve. Bath have won three of their last five home games at the Recreation Ground. Bristol Bears’ only defeat in their last five first team matches was by a solitary point at Saracens in Round 16 of Premiership Rugby. The Bears have won only once away from home in Premiership Rugby since Round 2: 15-12 against Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop on 27 December. Bristol have lost only one of their last seven encounters with Bath in Premiership Rugby: 27-29 on their most recent visit to the Rec last March. The Bears have won on three of their last four visits to Bath in all competitions.

Prediction: Bath by 3

The teams:

Bath: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Cameron Redpath, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Matt Gallagher, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Ben Spencer (c), 8 Miles Reid, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Josh Bayliss, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 D’Arcy Rae, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Beno Obano
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Will Stuart, 19 GJ van Velze, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Orlando Bailey, 23 Chris Cloete

Bristol: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Siva Naulago, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 James Williams, 11 Gabriel Ibitoye, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Harry Randall (c), 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Fitz Harding, 6 Sam Jeffries, 5 Chris Vui, 4 Joe Joyce, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 George Kloska, 19 Jake Heenan, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Sam Bedlow, 23 Ioan Lloyd

Venue: Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Ian Tempest, Gareth Holsgrove
TMO: Rowan Kitt


Saracens v Newcastle Falcons

Form: Saracens were defeated 18-24 at Leicester on Sunday and have not lost back-to-back Gallagher Premiership Rugby encounters since January2022. Saracens have won their last fourteen home games in Premiership Rugby since Gloucester beat them 25-24 at Stone X Stadium on 8 January 2022. Newcastle Falcons last six fixtures in Gallagher Premiership Rugby have all been won by the home side on the day. The Falcons have won just once away from home in Premiership Rugby since last April: 27-21 at Gloucester on 12 November. Saracens have won their last 24 matches against Newcastle in all competitions since the Falcons 13-9 victory at Kingston Park in Premiership Rugby in February2009. The Londoners have won on their last ten visits to Kingston Park, another victory would set a new record for successive wins at any one away ground, eclipsing Bath’s previous mark, coincidentally also at Kingston Park, between 2005-15.

Prediction: Saracens by 10

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode (c) 14 Rotimi Segun, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Olly Hartley, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Manu Vunipola, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Andy Christie, 5 Hugh Tizard, 4 Tom Ellis, 3 Alec Clarey, 2 Theo Dan, 1 Eroni Mawi
Replacements: 16 Kapeli Pifeleti, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Cameron Boon, 20 Toby Knight, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Josh Hallett, 23 Sean Maitland

Newcastle: 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Matias Orlando, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (c), 8 Callum Chick, 7 Gary Graham, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Trevor Davison, 2 Jamie Blamire, 1 Logovi’i Mulipola
Replacements: 16 Ollie Fletcher, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Freddie Lockwood, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Pete Lucock

Venue: StoneX Stadium
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: George Selwood, Phil Watters
TMO: Tom Foley

Northampton Saints v Gloucester

Form: Northampton Saints have lost just one of their last four Gallagher Premiership Rugby fixtures: 12-35 at Exeter in Round 15. Saints’ only defeat at cinch Stadium in Premiership Rugby since last February was 21-41 to Leicester in September. Gloucester Rugby have won just three of their last nine Gallagher Premiership Rugby encounters, all at Kingsholm, against Northampton, London Irish and Harlequins. Gloucester’s solitary success on the road in any competition since October was 26-17 in Bordeaux in the European Champions Cup on 21 January. Gloucester have won their last two matches against Northampton in Premiership Rugby, but both of those fixtures were played at Kingsholm. The Cherry and Whites have won on two of their last four visits to Northampton.

Prediction: Gloucester by 7

The teams:

Northampton: 15 James Ramm, 14 Tommy Freeman, 13 Fraser Dingwall (c), 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Tom Collins, 10 James Grayson, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Sam Graham, 7 Angus Scott-Young, 6 Alex Coles, 5 Alex Moon, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Ehren Painter, 2 Robbie Smith, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Alfie Petch 19 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 20 Aaron Hinkley, 21 Jake Garside, 22 Fin Smith, 23 Courtnall Skosan

Gloucester: 15 Lloyd Evans, 14 Jonny May, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Seb Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Albert Tuisue, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 6 Ruan Ackermann, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Freddie Clarke, 3 Kirill Gotovtsev, 2 Seb Blake, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Cam Jordan, 20 Jack Clement, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Tom Seabrook

Venue: Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 14:45 GMT
Referee: Adam Leal
Assistant Referees: Joe James, Peter Allan
TMO: Rowan Kitt

London Irish v Leicester Tigers

Form: London Irish have lost just once in their last six Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches: 6-8 at Gloucester on New Year’s Eve. The Exiles have lost only once at home in this season’s Premiership Rugby campaign and that was by a single point to Gloucester in Round 7. Leicester Tigers three game losing run in Gallagher Premiership Rugby ended with their 24-18 victory over Saracens on Sunday. The Tigers have not won successive Premiership Rugby matches since September. The Tigers are without a win in their last four away games in Premiership Rugby since beating Harlequins 27-19 at the Twickenham Stoop in October. Leicester have won their last four Premiership Rugby encounters with London Irish since the Exiles 22-9 win at Gtech Community Stadium in November 2020.

Prediction: Leicester by 7

The teams:

London Irish: 15 James Stokes, 14 Lucio Cinti, 13 Benhard van Rensburg, 12 Rory Jennings, 11 Ben Loader, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Matt Rogerson (c), 7 Tom Pearson, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 2 Mike Willemse, 1 Facundo Gigena
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Tarek Haffar, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Chunya Munga, 20 Josh Caulfield, 21 Chandler Cunningham-South, 22 Hugh O’Sullivan, 23 Will Joseph

Leicester: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Harry Potter, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Olly Cracknell, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 5 Cameron Henderson, 4 George Martin, 3 Joe Heyes, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Tom West
Replacements: 16 Clare, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Will Hurd, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Emeka Ilione, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Charlie Atkinson, 23 Harry Simmo

Venue: Gtech Community Stadium
Kick-off: 19:30 GMT
Referee: Jack Makepeace
Assistant Referees: Simon Harding, Jamie Leahy
TMO: Dean Richards


Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks

Form: Exeter Chiefs have lost only one of their last four Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches: 3-35 at Saracens on New Year’s Eve. The Chiefs have won their last nine home games in all competitions since Saracens beat them 22-20 in Premiership Rugby on 22 October. Sale Sharks’ only victory in any competition since early January was 30-27 at home to Bath in Round 16 of Gallagher Premiership Rugby. The Sharks have won only once away from home since early October: 24-16 against Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop on 8 January. Sale beat Exeter 28-20 at Salford City Stadium in Round 4 and have never achieved a Premiership Rugby season’s double over the Devonians. Sale’s only victory at Sandy Park since 2014 was 22-19 in January 2020.


The teams:

Exeter: 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Jack Nowell (c), 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Solomone Kata, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Sam Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jack Dunne, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Innard, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Danny Southworth, 18 Patrick Schickerling, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Tom Hendrickson

Sale: 15 Joe Carpenter, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Rob du Preez, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 George Ford, 9 Gus Warr, 8 Jean-Luc du Preez, 7 Sam Dugdale, 6 Jono Ross (c), 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Ewan Ashman, 1 Bevan Rodd
Replacements: 16 Ethan Caine, 17 Si McIntyre, 18 Nick Schonert, 19 Alex Groves, 20 Josh Beaumont, 21 Raffi Quirke, 22 Sam James, 23 Arron Reed

Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Christophe Ridley, Sara Cox
TMO: Stuart Terheege

READ MORE: Premiership: Dan McKellar to take take over Leicester Tigers coaching reins

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