Former Leicester Tigers flanker Lewis Moody previews this weekend's action as the LV=Cup hits Round Two.
Harlequins v Bath
Sale Sharks v Saracens
Exeter Chiefs v Ospreys
Gloucester v London Welsh
Scarlets v Cardiff Blues
Leicester Tigers v London Irish
London Wasps v Worcester Warriors
Dragons v Northampton Saints
Former Leicester Tigers flanker Lewis Moody has bad news for London Irish ahead of this weekend's LV= Cup clash, insisting he fully expects his old club to come out swinging with the taste of defeat still in their mouths after round one.
As a flanker at Welford Road for more than a decade, Moody knows exactly the winning ethos that flows through Leicester no matter what competition they are in, helping the Tigers lift the LV= Cup in 2007 despite missing the final through injury.
And that desire to be successful carried on last season as the Tigers once again claimed bragging rights in the LV= Cup, beating Northampton Saints 26-14 in the final.
However their defence this season got off to a shaky start as Saracens got the better of them 38-21 in the first round of the campaign, with both sides opting to hand some game time to younger players.
And Moody believes this can only spell danger for London Irish ahead of Sunday's second round of games, with director of rugby Richard Cockerill undoubtedly looking to put the loss behind them as soon as possible.
"I was disappointed to see my old side Leicester go down to Sarries at the weekend," said Moody.
"They have a proud record in every competition and last year was no different, particularly with how the young guns performed when the senior guys were away on international duty.
"I think Cockers [Richard Cockerill] will be disappointed with how they started their defence and, Sarries lose as many players as Leicester these days due to international call ups, so you can't argue on that front.
"They will want to put it behind them as soon as they can and that spells danger for London Irish who could be in for a bit of a backlash this weekend."
During his club career Moody also ran out for Bath before hanging up his boots and his other former club got off to a much better start after round one, getting the better of Newport Gwent Dragons 36-15.
Gary Gold's side will be looking to make it two wins from two when they travel to Harlequins on Friday night, the defending Aviva Champions needing a last-gasp try and conversion from Ben Botica to squeeze past Northampton Saints 31-30 in their opener.
And, no matter what happens in this mouth-watering second-round clash, Moody believes onlookers will be witnessing some of the finest young talent in the Aviva Premiership right now.
One that looks like standing out in particular is Bath's Tom Heathcote - the fly-half shortlisted for the 2013 LV= Breakthrough Player Award after being perfect with the tee in round one.
"I have enjoyed watching Quins' young guns this season and they were on show in round one with the likes of Ben Botica leading them to victory," Moody added.
"Luke Wallace been playing at seven in place of Chris Robshaw, which is important because with Chris and his role with England, he is going to be gone with them for some time.
"So having a deputy at times like this is important and the LV= Cup always been good for that. It gives boys the chance to play rugby and go on to the highest level and that is what I enjoyed most about the first round in particular.
"But Bath have some fantastic young players with the likes of Ollie Devoto and Tom Heathcote and if you look back to Tom's form last season then he definitely warranted being put on the shortlist.
"He works really hard he has hard bad luck with injuries as he did his ACL last year and did it again this season too but it was not as bad as first feared so he came back earlier than expected.
"His kicking for such a young guy is superb and although he is not a big lad he is strong, powerful, explosive and has a great temperament for the game."
Saracens will be looking to extend their seven-match winning run against Aviva Premiership bottom-side Sale Sharks on Friday night, who themselves were in control against London Irish before 24 unanswered points saw the Exiles take the win.
London Welsh will be looking to avenge a 31-25 Aviva Premiership reverse when they travel to Kingsholm to take on Gloucester Rugby for the second time this season.
In another all Aviva Premiership clash London Wasps hosts Worcester Warriors, themselves looking to get back to winning ways after failing to Cardiff Blues last time out, the Welsh region looking to claim bragging rights as they travel to Scarlets on Saturday.
And Sunday will see Northampton Saints attempt to put Botica's late heroics firmly out of their minds as they travel to Newport Gwent Dragons, the Welsh side struggling this season and sitting second-bottom in the RaboDirect PRO12.
The Welsh regions endured mixed LV= Cup openings but there was no doubt as to who led the way, the Ospreys beating Gloucester 33-27 despite missing ten players to international duty.
And Moody believes the reigning RaboDirect PRO12 champions will be a test for anyone in the competition this season, and is predicting a tough test for the Exeter Chiefs this Saturday.
"I have been really impressed with everything that Exeter have done and their victory over London Welsh with a changed side shows just how far they have come," Moody said.
"And I think Exeter and Ospreys will be a good game this Saturday having seen a fair bit of the Ospreys this season.
"I watched them play the Tigers in the Heineken Cup and thought they looked very strong and their form is great at the moment in Europe and winning their league last year.
"If they get it right then they are a match for anyone and they will be ones to keep an eye out for sure."
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