Premiership: Marcus Smith starts for Harlequins against Exeter while Ollie Hassell-Collins also in action for London Irish
There’s five games taking place in the Premiership this weekend, with Harlequins’ fixture against Exeter at Twickenham arguably the pick of the action.
Check on the team news and our predictions for the Round 19 ties that also includes second against top on Sunday when Sale Sharks take on Saracens.
Bristol Bears v Northampton Saints
Form: Bristol Bears’ only defeat in their last six first team outings was by a single point at Saracens in Round 16 of Gallagher Premiership Rugby. The Bears are unbeaten in their last six fixtures at Ashton Gate in all tournaments since Saracens beat them there 25-10 in Round 9 of Premiership Rugby. Northampton Saints have won their last three Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches since their 12-35 loss at Exeter in Round 15 whilst they have not won four in a row in the competition since last April. The Saints have won just twice on the road in Premiership Rugby this campaign, beating Wasps in October and Leicester at the end of January. Northampton have won their last three encounters with Bristol since the Bears 28-21 win at cinch Stadium in March 2021. Northampton have won on three of their five previous visits to Ashton Gate.
Prediction: Bristol by 4
Bristol Bears: 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 Joe Batley, 4 Chris Vui, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 George Kloska, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Sam Bedlow, 23 Ioan Lloyd
Northampton Saints: 15 George Hendy, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Fraser Dingwall (c), 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Tom Collins, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Sam Graham, 7 Angus Scott-Young, 6 Alex Coles, 5 Alex Moon, 4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 3 Alfie Petch, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Ethan Waller
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Karl Wilkins, 20 Aaron Hinkley, 21 Jake Garside, 22 James Grayson, 23 Tom Litchfield
Venue: Ashton Gate
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Adam Leal, Phil Watters
TMO: David Rose
Leicester Tigers v Bath
Form: Leicester Tigers have won their last two Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches, at home to Saracens and away at London Irish and have not won three in succession in the tournament since taking the title last June. The Tigers have lost only one of their last four games at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in Premiership Rugby, and that by a solitary point to Northampton on 28 January. Bath Rugby’s only victory in their last six Gallagher Premiership Rugby fixtures was 24-16 at home to Newcastle in Round 14. Bath have won on just three occasions away from home in Premiership Rugby since February 2021 and all of those were at Kingston Park over Newcastle. The last six encounters between the two clubs have been evenly split with three wins apiece. Bath have been defeated on their last two visits to Welford Road.
Prediction: Leicester by 12
Leicester Tigers: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Harry Simmons, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 5 Cameron Henderson, 4 George Martin, 3 Joe Heyes, 2 Julián Montoya (c), 1 Tom West
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Will Hurd, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Olly Cracknell, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Charlie Atkinson, 23 Guy Porter
Bath: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Ruaridh McConnochie, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Matt Gallagher, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Ben Spencer (c), 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 GJ van Velze, 4 Josh McNally, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Beno Obano
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Miles Reid, 20 Alfie Barbeary, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Max Ojomoh, 23 Chris Cloete
Venue: Mattioli Woods Welford Road
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant Referees: Peter Allan, Jamie Leahy
TMO: Rowan Kitt
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs
Form: Harlequins have slipped to five successive Gallagher Premiership Rugby defeats, since beating Bath 19-13 at the Recreation Ground on 2 December. Quins have not lost six in succession in the tournament since 2006. Harlequins’ only defeat in their last ten visits to Twickenham Stadium was 29-39 to London Irish in the London double header in September 2017. Exeter Chiefs have won their last three Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches since their 3-35 loss to Saracens at StoneX Stadium on New Year’s Eve. The Chiefs have won just once away from home in any competition since mid-October: 27-12 at Castres in Round 1 of the European Champions Cup. Exeter have won their last two matches against Quins, both high scoring affairs at Sandy Park, 47-38 last June and 43-42 in September. The Chiefs have played Harlequins twice before at Twickenham Stadium, losing on both occasions, 6-22 in the “Big Game” in 2013 and 38-40 in the Premiership Rugby final in 2021.
Prediction: Harlequins by 7
Harlequins: 15 Nick David, 14 Cadan Murley, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Tom Lawday, 7 James Chisholm, 6 Jack Kenningham, 5 Stephan Lewies (c), 4 Dino Lamb, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 George Head, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Sam Riley, 17 Fin Baxter, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Irne Herbst, 20 Will Evans, 21 Luke Wallace, 22 Scott Steele, 23 Luke Northmore
Exeter Chiefs: 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 Christ Tshiunza, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Dafydd Jenkins, 4 Jonny Gray, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Innard, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Danny Southworth, 18 Marcus Street, 19 Jack Dunne, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Tom Hendrickson
Venue: Twickenham Stadium
Kick-off: 17:15 GMT
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Sara Cox, Gareth Holsgrove
TMO: Dean Richards
Newcastle Falcons v London Irish
Form: Newcastle Falcons have lost their last two Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches, both away from home, to Bristol and Saracens. The Falcons have won their last three first team fixtures at Kingston Park, against Sale and Leicester in Premiership Rugby and against Connacht in the European Challenge Cup. London Irish’s four-game unbeaten run in all tournaments ended with their 22-25 home defeat to Leicester on Saturday evening. The Exiles won their most recent Premiership Rugby away game 25-10 at Bath in Round 17 and have not been victorious on successive away trips in the competition since February 2020. London Irish have comfortably won their last three matches against Newcastle since the Falcons’ 52-27 win at Kingston Park in May 2021.
Prediction: Newcastle by 3
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Matias Orlando, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (c), 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Callum Chick, 6 Pedro Rubiolo, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Matthew Dalton, 3 Trevor Davison, 2 Jamie Blamire, 1 Adam Brocklebank
Replacements: 16 Ollie Fletcher, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Freddie Lockwood, 20 Tom Marshall, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Pete Lucock
London Irish: 15 Ben Loader, 14 Lucio Cinti, 13 Will Joseph, 12 Benhard van Rensburg, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben White, 8 Chandler Cunningham-South, 7 Tom Pearson, 6 Josh Basham, 5 Rob Simmons (c), 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Oliver Hoskins, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Danilo Fischetti
Replacements: 16 Matt Cornish, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Lovejoy Chawatama, 19 Josh Caulfield, 20 Matt Rogerson, 21 Hugh O’Sullivan, 22 Luca Morisi, 23 James Stokes
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant Referees: Neil Chivers, John Meredith
TMO: Andrew Jackson
Sale Sharks v Saracens
Form: Sale Sharks have lost their last two Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches, both away from home, at Northampton and Exeter and have not lost three in a row in the tournament since 2018. Sale have lost just one of their last ten matches in Premiership Rugby at Salford City Stadium: 13-29 to Harlequins on 23 October. Saracens have lost just two of their last six Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches, at London Irish in Round 13 and at Leicester in Round 17. Saracens have won their last three Premiership Rugby fixtures against Sale, their 18-12 win on their most recent visit to Salford last April ended a four-game winless run at the venue in all tournaments.
Prediction: Sale by 5
Sale Sharks: 15 Joe Carpenter, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Sam James, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Rob du Preez, 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 Tommy Taylor, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Nick Schonert, 19 Alex Groves, 20 Josh Beaumont, 21 Raffi Quirke, 22 Luke James, 23 Arron Reed
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode (c), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Manu Vunipola, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Andy Christie, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Hugh Tizard, 4 Nick Isiekwe, 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 Ivan Van Zyl, 22 Olly Hartley, 23 Rotimi Segun
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Adam Leal, Wayne Falla
TMO: Claire Hodnett
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The article Premiership: Marcus Smith starts for Harlequins against Exeter while Ollie Hassell-Collins also in action for London Irish appeared first on Planetrugby.com.