Team News and Preview: Aviva Premiership, Round 22
We take a look at all the Round 22 action!
Bath v Leicester Tigers
(Recreation Ground – Kick-off: 15.30; 14.30 GMT)
Academy scrum-half Will Homer will make his first Premiership start at the Rec on Saturday against Leicester in Bath’s final match of the season.
Homer partners fly-half George Ford in the half-backs, with Ollie Devoto and Jonathan Joseph continuing in the midfield. The back three is comprised of wings Matt Banahan and Semesa Rokoduguni, and Anthony Watson starts at full-back.
Meanwhile, back-rowers Tom Croft and Jordan Crane return to Leicester’s starting line-up at the Rec.
Croft returns at flanker, with Crane at number eight as Tigers shuffle the pack for the final game of the regular league season and with a place in the semi-finals on the weekend of May 20/21/22 already secured.
On-loan prop Ellis Genge starts his first game in the Premiership after three games as a replacement.
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Will Homer, 8 David Denton, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Charlie Ewels, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Dom Day, 20 Leroy Houston, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Jeff Williams
Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Jack Roberts, 11 George Catchpole, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Will Evans, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Ed Slater (c), 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Greg Bateman, 19 Dom Barrow, 20 Laurence Pearce, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 George Worth
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Peter Allan, Roger Baileff
TMO: Trevor Fisher
Gloucester v Northampton Saints
(Kingsholm – Kick-off: 15.30; 14.30 GMT)
Elliott Creed will become the latest Academy graduate to make his debut for Gloucester when he lines up against Northampton on Saturday.
The 19-year-old has made three appearances as a replacement, including the 12-11 win at Sale last Friday, but will make his first start on the wing against the Saints at Kingsholm on Saturday.
With Ollie Thorley, who lines up on the opposite wing, preparing for his third start in a row, the Academy has seen two players break into the first team in the last few weeks of the season.
Meanwhile, Northampton Saints have name an unchanged starting line-up for Saturday’s Premiership trip to Kingsholm.
The men in black, green and gold overturned a 14-point half-time deficit to see off Bath last weekend and the same 15 will take to the field for the final round of league action in 2015/16.
Gloucester Rugby: 15. Tom Marshall; 14. Ollie Thorley, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Elliott Creed; 10. Greig Laidlaw (capt), 9. Willi Heinz; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Richard Hibbard, 3. John Afoa; 4. Tom Savage, 5. Jeremy Thrush; 6. Ross Moriarty, 7. Matt Kvesic, 8. Ben Morgan
Replacements: 16. Darren Dawidiuk, 17. Nick Wood, 18. Paul Doran-Jones, 19. Gareth Evans, 20. Lewis Ludlow, 21. Callum Braley, 22. Lloyd Evans, 23. Jacob Rowan
Northampton Saints: 15 Harry Mallinder, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson (capt), 1 Alex Waller, 2 Mikey Haywood, 3 Kieran Brookes, 4 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 6 Jamie Gibson, 7 Tom Wood, 8 Teimana Harrison
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Campese Ma’afu, 18 Paul Hill. 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 Sam Olver, 23 James Wilson
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Andrew Small, Andrew Pearce
TMO: Geoffrey Warren
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs
(Twickenham Stoop – Kick-off: 15.30; 14.30 GMT)
England full-back Mike Brown returns as Harlequins make seven changes in their bid to secure a European Champions Cup spot with victory over Exeter Chiefs.
Wales centre Jamie Roberts and fly-half Nick Evans return, while forwards Dave Ward, Chris Robshaw, George Merrick and Charlie Matthews also come in.
Meanwhile, Exeter boss Rob Baxter has rotated his playing options from that of a week ago against Wasps.
Up front, Alec Hepburn and Jack Yeandle come into the front-row, Damian Welch is added to the second-row, while an elbow injury to Don Armand means Thomas Waldrom returns at number eight.
Behind the pack, Sam Hill – who came off the bench against Wasps – is given the nod over Ian Whitten in the centre, while James Short is recalled on the wing with Olly Woodburn dropping down to the bench.
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Ross Chisholm, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care (c), 8 Nick Easter, 7 Jack Clifford, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 George Merrick, 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Sam Twomey, 20 Mat Luamanu, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Joe Marchant
Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Sam Hill, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Alec Hepburn
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Carl Rimmer, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Ian Whitten, 23 Olly Woodburn
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Nigel Carrick
TMO: Sean Davey
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks
(Kingston Park – Kick-off: 15.30; 14.30 GMT)
Newcastle Falcons head coach John Wells has made seven changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s clash with Sale Sharks at Kingston Park.
Top try-scorer Nili Latu returns to captain the team at number eight as Will Welch misses out through injury.
Juan Pablo Socino replaces Adam Powell at inside centre, Rob Hawkins earning a start at hooker in his final professional game before retiring to pursue a career with the Police.
Meanwhile, Steve Diamond has opted to make one change to his Sharks starting XV, with Eifion Lewis-Roberts coming in to replace Ross Harrison. Danny Cipriani, Tommy Taylor, Vadim Cobilas are set to make their final starts for the club. Mark Easter & Joe Ford are also set to play their final games for the
Danny Cipriani, Tommy Taylor, Vadim Cobilas are set to make their final starts for the club. Mark Easter & Joe Ford are also set to play their final games for the
Mark Easter and Joe Ford are also set to play their final games for the club, if called upon from the replacements.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Chris Harris,12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Michael Young, 1 Rob Vickers, 2 Rob Hawkins, 3 Mike Cusack, 4 Calum Green, 5 Will Witty, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Dan Temm, 8 Nili Latu (captain)
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Taione Vea, 19 Kane Thompson, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Belisario Agulla
Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani. 9 Peter Stringer, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 2 Tommy Taylor, 3 Vadim Cobilas. 4 Bryn Evans 5 Andrei Ostrikovm 6 Cameron Neild, 7 David Seymour (captain), 8 TJ Ioane
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Mark Easter, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Tim Wigglesworth, John Meredith
TMO: Graham Hughes
Wasps v London Irish
(Ricoh Arena – Kick-off: 15.30; 14.30 GMT)
Wasps have named their side, which features a handful of changes to the starting XV, to face London Irish at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday.
Ruaridh Jackson and Joe Simpson form the half-back pairing, while Josh Bassett comes in on the wing for Frank Halai.
Ashley Johnson starts at hooker, with Edd Shervington covering on the bench. Carlo Festuccia sits out the game with a sore neck.
The only other change to the starting XV sees Thomas Young at openside, alongside number eight Nathan Hughes and skipper James Haskell, with George Smith rested.
Meanwhile, London Irish head coach Tom Coventry has made five changes from the side that played Harlequins.
Greig Tonks makes his first start for the club at full-back in the only change in the backline from last weekend, replacing Sean Maitland.
Johnny Harris and Ben Franks are both named in the front-row alongside David Paice. Joe Trayfoot and Ofisa Treviranus line up in the back-row alongside captain Luke Narraway.
Wasps: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Thomas Young, 6 James Haskell (c), 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Ashley Johnson, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Edd Shervington, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Rob Miller
London Irish: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Aseli Tikoirotuma, 10 Theo Brophy Clews, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Joe Trayfoot, 6 Luke Narraway (c), 5 Matt Symons, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Ben Franks, 2 David Paice, 1 Johnny Harris
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Leo Halavatau, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Rob McCusker, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Chris Noakes, 23 Ciaran Hearn
Referee: Thomas Foley
Assistant referees: Greg Garner, Kevin Stewart
TMO: Stuart Terheege
Worcester Warriors v Saracens
(Sixways – Kick-off: 15.30; 14.30 GMT)
Worcester Warriors will play their final match on grass at Sixways as their season concludes with a clash against Saracens on Saturday.
Dean Ryan makes five changes to the side which faced Leicester Tigers at Welford Road last time out as Na’ama Leleimalefaga, Donncha O’Callaghan, Dan Sanderson, Sam Betty and Luke Baldwin all come into the starting line-up.
Meanwhile, Saracens boss Mark McCall continues to rotate his squad as hooker Jamie George is named to start after making a swift recovery from a bicep injury that sidelined the England front-rower during the Six Nations.
At lock, Maro Itoje is rested for the game at Sixways with his Engalnd Grand Slam second-row partner George Kruis coming into the side to replace him.