A look ahead to a busy weekend of Gallagher Premiership action on Saturday, where Saracens take on Leicester and Exeter Chiefs host Bath.
Saracens vs Leicester Tigers
Saturday 7th March at Allianz Park (KO 1pm):
Referee: JP Doyle (180th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson & Roy Maybank.
TMO: Graham Hughes.
Citing Officer: Jay Curtis.
Saracens’ last six matches in Gallagher Premiership Rugby have resulted in three wins and three defeats. Sarries have lost only once at home in Premiership Rugby since Leicester beat them in February 2018: 25-27 to Northampton on the opening round this season.
Leicester Tigers’ last six matches in Premiership Rugby have ended in three wins, two defeats and a draw. The Tigers have not won away from home in Gallagher Premiership Rugby since a trip to Newcastle in April 2019.
Saracens have lost just once in their last eight fixtures against Leicester in Premiership Rugby: 20-28 at Allianz Park in February 2018.
Saracens: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Rotimi Segun, 13 Dom Morris, 12 Brad Barritt ©, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Manu Vunipola, 9 Richard Wigglesworth; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Tom Woolstencroft, 3 Vincent Koch, 4 Will Skelton, 5 Joel Kpoku, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 7 Sean Reffell, 8 Calum Clark
Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Titi Lamositele
19 Callum Hunter-Hill, 20 Mike Rhodes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Tom Whiteley, 23 Ali Crossdale
TEAM'S UP! ⚫️🔴— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) March 6, 2020
Nine changes to win at Saints 9⃣@Mako_Vunipola is back on club duty 💪@bradbarritt returns as skip 💥
Full team news can be found on the website 👉 https://t.co/CM3B2iA6Gg pic.twitter.com/ZEXvWfDwgN
Leicester Tigers: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 Joe Thomas, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Rory Hughes, 10 Johnny McPhillips, 9 Ben White; 1 Nephi Leatigaga, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 3 Joe Heyes, 4 Will Spencer, 5 Joe Batley, 6 Harry Wells, 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Sione Kalamafoni (c)
Replacements: 16 Jake Kerr, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Calum Green, 20 Ifereimi Boladau, 21 Harry Simmons, 22 Tom Hardwick, 23 George Worth
PREDICTION: Saracens by 10
Wasps vs Gloucester
Saturday 7th March at Ricoh Arena (KO 2:30pm)
Referee: Ian Tempest (69th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Christophe Ridley & Gareth Holsgrove.
TMO: Trevor Fisher.
Citing Officer: Shaun Gallagher.
Wasps’ only defeat in the last four rounds of Gallagher Premiership Rugby was 9-18 at Leicester Tigers on 15 February. Wasps beat Saracens 60-10 in their most recent fixture at Ricoh Arena but they have not won successive encounters in Premiership Rugby at the venue since April 2018.
Gloucester Rugby have lost their last four Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches since beating Bath at Kingsholm on 4 January. Gloucester’s only away win in any tournament since last April was 18-16 at Sale in the opening round of Gallagher Premiership Rugby this season.
Gloucester are unbeaten in their last four fixtures against Wasps in Premiership Rugby since the West Midlander’s 49-24 victory in Coventry in December 2017. Gloucester’s only previous victory at Ricoh Arena came on their most recent visit in October 2018.
Gloucester Rugby: 15. Tom Marshall; 14. Louis Rees-Zammit, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Ollie Thorley; 10. Lloyd Evans, 9. Callum Braley; 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. Franco Marais, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Alex Craig, 5, Franco Mostert (capt); 6. Jake Polledri, 7. Lewis Ludlow, 8. Ruan Ackermann
Replacements: 16. Henry Walker, 17. Alex Seville, 18. Ciaran Knight, 19. Ed Slater, 20. Aaron Hinkley, 21. Charlie Chapman, 22. Danny Cipriani, 23. Tom Seabrook
PREDICTION: Gloucester by 5
Exeter Chiefs vs. Bath
Saturday 7th March at Sandy Park (KO 2:30pm)
Referee: Luke Pearce (97th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Adam Leal & Phil Watters.
TMO: Keith Lewis.
Citing Officer: Buster White.
Exeter Chiefs were defeated 30-34 at Harlequins on Saturday but have not lost back-to-back fixtures in Gallagher Premiership Rugby since February 2018. The Chiefs have lost two of their last three home games in all tournaments. They have also been defeated twice at Sandy Park in Premiership Rugby this season, by Bristol Bears in Round 4 and Sale Sharks in Round 9.
Bath Rugby’s three game winning run in Gallagher Premiership Rugby ended with their home defeat to Bristol on Sunday. Bath have won two of their last three away games in Premiership Rugby, being successful on trips to London Irish in Round 6 and Worcester Warriors in Round 10.
Bath’s victory at home to Exeter in Round 2 ended a five-game losing run to The Chiefs in Premiership Rugby, whilst they have not achieved a season’s double over the Devonians since 2013-14. Bath have not won at Sandy Park since October 2016.
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Tom O’Flaherty, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Tom Hendrickson, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Joe Simmonds (capt), 9 Nic White; 1 Alec Hepburn, 2 Elvis Taione, 3 Harry Williams, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 5 Jonny Hill, 6 Dave Ewers, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 8 Sam Simmonds
Replacements: 16 Jordon Poole, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Will Witty, 20 Don Armand, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Jack Nowell
Bath: 15. Tom Homer, 14. Semesa Rokoduguni, 13. Max Wright, 12. Jackson Willison, 11. Ruaridh McConnochie, 10. Rhys Priestland, 9. Will Chudley; 1. Beno Obano, 2. Jack Walker, 3. Christian Judge, 4. Josh McNally, 5. Elliott Stooke, 6. Mike Williams, 7. Francois Louw (C)m 8. Zach Mercer
Replacements: 16. Tom Dunn, 17. Lewis Boyce, 18. Sam Nixon, 19. Tom Ellis, 20. Josh Bayliss, 21. Ollie Fox, 22. Freddie Burns, 23. Tom De Glanville
Bath Rugby have made five changes to the starting XV for the trip to face Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on Saturday (kick-off 14:30).— Bath Rugby (@bathrugby) March 6, 2020
PREDICTION: Exeter by 10
Bristol Bears vs Harlequins
Saturday 7th March at Ashton Gate (KO 3pm)
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (73rd Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Andrew Jackson & Peter Allan.
TMO: Stuart Terheege.
Citing Officer: David Guyan.
Bristol Bears have won their last four Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches and another victory would set a new Bears record in the competition. Bristol have lost just once at Ashton Gate in any tournament since the end of March last year: 21-26 to Wasps in Round 7 of Premiership Rugby.
Harlequins have won just twice in the last six rounds of Gallagher Premiership Rugby, both at home, to Saracens in Round 9 and Exeter Chiefs last weekend. The Londoner’s only away win in Premiership Rugby in the last 12 months was 28-22 at Wasps on 21 December.
Harlequins have lost just once in their last ten Gallagher Premiership Rugby encounters with Bristol: 1320 at Ashton Gate in September 2018.
Bristol Bears: 15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Alapati Leiua, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Henry Purdy; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Harry Randall; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Will Capon, 3. John Afoa, 4. Chris Vui, 5. Joe Joyce, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nathan Hughes.
Replacements: 16. Bryan Byrne, 17. Jake Woolmore, 18. Max Lahiff, 19. Ed Holmes, 20. Jake Heenan, 21. Andy Uren, 22. Ian Madigan, 23. Ioan Lloyd.
Harlequins: 15 Aaron Morris, 14 Luke Northmore, 13 Tom Penny, 12 Paul Lasike, 11 Gabriel Ibitoye, 10 Brett Herron, 9 Danny Care; 1 Mark Lambert, 2 Scott Baldwin, 3 Simon Kerrod, 4 Glen Young, 5 Matt Symons, 6 James Chisholm (VC), 7 Chris Robshaw (C), 8 Alex Dombrandt
Replacements: 16 Jack Musk, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Will Collier, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Will Evans, 21 Niall Saunders, 22 Marcus Smith, 23 Francis Saili