Aviva Premiership Round 1: Weekly Previews are back!

With the new Aviva Premiership kicking off tonight, we take a look at the opening six games.
Some big numbers:
10 – Saracens concluded last season with 10 successive victories
2009 – The year Bristol Rugby last played in the Premiership
4 – The number of Premiership Rugby matches live on BT Sport this weekend
101 – The number of matches Greg Garner will have refereed after this weekend
13 – The number of Premiership Rugby tries scored by Thomas Waldrom last season

Friday 2 September
Gloucester Rugby v Leicester Tigers (Kingsholm, 7.45pm) Live on BT Sport
Gloucester’s only win in their last six season-opening encounters in Aviva Premiership Rugby came with their victory at Newcastle last year.

Glouc

Leicester Tigers have secured an opening weekend victory in Premiership Rugby for the past four years. The Tigers only victory in their last seven away games was 30-24 at Northampton in round 20 last season. The Cherry and Whites have won only one of their last seven fixtures with Leicester: 33-16 at Kingsholm in Premiership Rugby in October 2014.

Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Joe Latta, 20 Jacob Rowan, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 James Hook, 23 Gareth Evans

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Luke Hamilton, 5 Dom Barrow, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Greg Bateman, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Will Evans, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Matt Smith, 23 Adam Thompstone


Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks (Kingston Park, 8pm)
Newcastle Falcons have not won on the opening weekend of a new Aviva Premiership season since Sale visited Kingston Park in 2007.

Newc

The Tynesiders only victory in their last nine encounters in the competition was 13-6 at home to relegated London Irish on 17 April. Newcastle have not beaten Sale in Aviva Premiership Rugby since a 15-14 scoreline at AJ Bell Stadium in September 2013. Sharks have won on each of their last three visits to Kingston Park in Premiership Rugby.

Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Evan Olmstead, 5 Will Witty, 4 Calum Green, 3 Taione Vea, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Jon Welsh
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Sam Lockwood, 19 Opeti Fonua, 20 Callum Chick, 21 Sam Egerton, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Dominic Waldouck

Sale: 15 Byron McGuigan, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Laurence Pearce, 7 TJ Ioane, 6 Josh Beaumont (c), 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 James Flynn, 18 Kieran Longbottom, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Magnus Lund, 21 David Seymour, 22 James Mitchell, 23 Dan Mugford


Saturday 3 September
Saracens v Worcester Warriors (Twickenham Stadium, 2pm) Live on BT Sport
Saracens concluded last season with a run of ten successive victories in all competitions to lift the Aviva Premiership Rugby and the European Champions Cup trophies.

160704_PremRugby_DoubleHeader_765x350_-_carouselSaracens have won on the opening weekend of the past four seasons, three of those being London Double Header encounters. Saracens have won their last six matches against Worcester in all tournaments, including a 48-18 victory during last season’s London Double Header at Twickenham on 28 November.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Michael Rhodes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Mike Ellery

Worcester Warriors: 15 Jackson Willison, 14 Dean Hammond, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 GJ van Velze (c), 7 Marco Mama, 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Tevita Cavubati, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Na’ama Leleimalefaga, 18 James Johnston, 19 Christian Scotland-Williamson, 20 Alafoti Faosiliva, 21 Luke Baldwin, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Perry Humphreys


Northampton Saints v Bath Rugby (Franklin’s Gardens, 3.30pm)
The Saints only defeat in their last six encounters at Franklin’s Gardens came when Leicester were the visitors in round 20.

SAINTS

Bath Rugby have not defeated Northampton in Aviva Premiership Rugby since a 38-8 victory at the Recreation Ground in February 2011 whilst they have only beaten Saints once on their own soil in the history of the tournament: 17-13 in April 2000.

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Ahsee Tuala, 10 Harry Mallinder, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Tom Wood (c), 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Campese Ma’afu, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Sam Dickinson, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 George North

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Clark, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 David Denton, 6 Matt Garvey (c), 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Charlie Ewels, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 David Sisi, 20 Tom Ellis, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Jeff Williams


Harlequins v Bristol Rugby (Twickenham Stadium, 4.30pm) Live on BT Sport
Bristol returns to the Aviva Premiership Rugby for the first time since they lost 3-73 to Leicester at the then Walkers Stadium in round 22 of the 2008-09 campaign.

160704_PremRugby_DoubleHeader_765x350_-_carousel

Bristol’s only defeat in their last 17 RFU Championship matches came in leg two of last season’s final at home to Doncaster Knights. Bristol have not played at Twickenham since they defeated Waterloo there in the final of the Pilkington Challenge Cup in April 2004.

Harlequins have won their last five Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures against Bristol, the most recent of which being at Memorial Stadium in March 2009. The two clubs have met at Twickenham just once before, with Harlequins lifting the John Player Cup 28-22 in a game which also doubled up as part of the 1987-88 Division One campaign.

Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care (c), 8 Jack Clifford, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 James Horwill, 4 Sam Twomey, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Will Collier, 19 George Merrick, 20 Mat Luamanu, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Alofa Alofa

Bristol: 15 Jack Wallace, 14 Ryan Edwards, 13 Will Hurrell, 12 Gavin Henson, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Jack Lam (c), 6 Jon Fisher, 5 Ben Glynn, 4 James Phillips, 3 Gaston Cortes, 2 Ross McMillan, 1 Soane Tonga’uiha
Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Joe Joyce, 20 Olly Robinson, 21 Mitch Eadie, 22 Rhodri Williams, 23 Ben Mosses


Sunday 4th September
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs (Ricoh Arena, 3pm) Live on BT Sport
Wasps have been defeated in their opening game of an Aviva Premiership Rugby season for the past four years.

Wasps

Wasps have won their last nine matches at the venue in all tournaments since Saracens were victorious there in Aviva Premiership Rugby on 27 December. The two sides met on four occasions during the 2015/16 last season with Wasps only victory being 25- 24 at Ricoh Arena in the quarter-final of the European Champions Cup in April – the Chiefs won all three Premiership encounters including the semi-final at Sandy Park in May.

Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Guy Thompson, 6 Sam Jones, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Joe Launchbury (c), 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Matt Symons, 20 Alex Rieder, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Brendan Macken, 23 Frank Halai

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Ian Whitten, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Don Armand (c), 5 Damian Welch, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Dave Dennis, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 James Short


 

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