Lions return for Exeter v Saracens grudge match

Date published: December 3 2021 - Planet Rugby

Round 10 of the Premiership is set for kick-off as six matches take place, including the highly anticipated clash between Leicester Tigers and Harlequins on Sunday.

Check on all the team news for the weekend while we also predict the results of the games.


Gloucester v Bristol Bears 

Form: Gloucester Rugby’s only defeat in their last eight first team games was 13-16 at home to Exeter in Round 7 of Gallagher Premiership Rugby. The Cherry and Whites only other loss at Kingsholm this season was 26-33 to Leicester Tigers in Round 2. Bristol Bears 20-36 reversal at home to Northampton Saints on Friday ended a two-game winning run in Gallagher Premiership Rugby. Bristol won their most recent away game in Premiership Rugby, 45-33 at London Irish, their first away win in the tournament this season. Bristol have won their last five Premiership Rugby encounters with Gloucester since Gloucester’s 35-13 victory at Kingsholm in September 2018.

Prediction: Gloucester by 5

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Lloyd Evans, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 6 Ruan Ackermann, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Freddie Clarke, 3 Kirill Gotovtsev, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Andrew Davidson, 20 Jordy Reid, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Kyle Moyle

Bristol: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Toby Fricker, 13 Henry Purdy, 12 Piers O’Conor, 11 Alapati Leiua, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Steven Luatua (c), 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Chris Vui, 5 Joe Joyce, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 John Afoa, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Jake Woolmore
Replacements: 16 Jake Kerr, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Ashley Challenger, 19 Jake Heenan, 20 Fitz Harding, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Semi Radradra, 23 Luke Morahan

Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Dean Richards
TMO: David Rose


Exeter Chiefs v Saracens

Form: Exeter Chiefs’ last five matches in Premiership Rugby have all curiously been won by the away side on the day. The Chiefs have lost their last two home games in Premiership Rugby, to London Irish and Newcastle, and have not lost three in succession in the tournament at Sandy Park since 2014. Saracens only defeat in Premiership Rugby this season was by a solitary point at Leicester in Round Three although they did draw 34-34 at London Irish in Round Eight. Saracens have lost just one of their last four encounters with Exeter – 14-7 on their most recent visit to Sandy Park in December 2019. Saracens have lost on their last five visits to Sandy Park in all tournaments since their 34-13 victory there in September 2016.

Prediction: Saracens by 3 

The teams: 

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade (c), 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Jonny Gray, 3 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Alec Hepburn
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 James Kenny, 18 Sam Nixon, 19 Richard Capstick, 20 Jannes Kirsten, 21 Sam Maunder, 22 Harvey Skinner, 23 Tom Hendrickson

Saracens: 15 Max Malins, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Alex Goode (cc), 9 Aled Davies, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Jackson Wray (cc), 5 Nick Isiekwe, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Ethan Lewis, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Kapeli Pifeleti, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Alec Clarey, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Theo McFarland, 21 Andy Christie, 22 Ivan van Zyl, 23 Dom Morris

Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Adam Leal, Paul Dix
TMO: Stuart Terheege

London Irish v Newcastle Falcons

Form: London Irish’s only defeat in their last seven first-team matches was 45-33 at home to Bristol in Round Seven of Premiership Rugby. The Exiles are without a win in their last seven fixtures at Brentford Community Stadium in Premiership Rugby, since beat Bath there 36-33 in March. Newcastle Falcons’ last five matches in Premiership Rugby have been evenly split with two wins, a draw and two defeats. Their 24-24 draw with Worcester on Saturday was their first try bonus point in the competition this season. The Falcons have won twice on the road this season, at Bath in Round Two and at Exeter in Round Eight. Newcastle’s only defeat in their last five encounters with London Irish in Premiership Rugby was 31-22 on their only previous visit to Brentford in January.

Prediction: London Irish by 7

The teams:

London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 Kyle Rowe, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Benhard van Rensburg, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Olly Cracknell, 7 Tom Pearson, 6 Matt Rogerson (c), 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Ollie Hoskins, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Ciaran Parker, 19 George Nott, 20 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 21 Ben White, 22 Rory Jennings, 23 Matt Williams

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Penny, 13 Max Wright, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Adam Radwan, 10 Will Haydon-Wood, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Callum Chick, 7 Gary Graham (c), 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Trevor Davison, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Adam Brocklebank
Replacements: 16 Robbie Smith, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Rob Farrar, 20 Connor Collett, 21 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Pete Lucock

Venue: Brentford Community Stadium
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Greg Macdonald, Joe James
TMO: Wayne Barnes

Northampton Saints v Bath

Form: Karl Dickson becomes the 23rd referee to take charge of 50 Premiership Rugby matches. Northampton Saints’ 36-20 victory at Bristol on Friday ended a two-game losing run in Gallagher Premiership Rugby. The Saints were defeated 55-26 by Leicester in their most recent home game in Premiership Rugby and have not lost back-to-back fixtures in the competition at cinch Stadium for over twelve months. Bath Rugby are still without a victory in Premiership Rugby this season, their most recent victory in the tournament being when Northampton visited the Rec in June. Bath’s most recent away victory in Premiership Rugby was on their long trip to Newcastle in March. Bath have won their last four fixtures against Northampton in Premiership Rugby, whilst their only defeat to the Saints in their last seven encounters in the tournament was by a single point at Franklin’s Gardens in February 2019. Bath have won on their last two visits to Northampton’s lair.

Prediction: Northampton by 12

The teams:

Northampton Saints: 15 George Furbank, 14 Tommy Freeman, 13 Fraser Dingwall, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Lewis Ludlam (c), 6 Karl Wilkins, 5 Alex Moon, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Ehren Painter, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 James Fish, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Alex Coles, 21 Tom James, 22 Tom Litchfield, 23 Ollie Sleightholme

Bath: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Will Butt, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Will Muir, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Josh Bayliss, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Charlie Ewels (c), 4 Josh McNally, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Lewis Boyce
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Will Vaughan, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Richard de Carpentier, 21 Ewan Richards, 22 Ollie Fox, 23 Gabriel Hamer-Webb

Venue: Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: John Meredith, Phil Watters
TMO: Rowan Kitt

Worcester Warriors v Wasps

Form: Worcester Warriors’ two victories in Premiership Rugby this season were both at home, to London Irish in Round One and Sale in Round Seven, although they did draw 24-24 at Newcastle last Saturday. The Warriors have won their last two matches at Sixways in all competitions and have not won three in succession at the venue since the turn of the year 2020. Wasps have won just one of their last five Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches: 27-17 at Bath in Round Seven, their only away victory in Premiership Rugby this season. Wasps have won their last 14 Premiership Rugby fixtures against Worcester since the Warriors’ 29-23 win at Sixways in March 2013. Wasps’ only defeat in their last eight visits to Sixways in all tournaments was 35-23 in the Premiership Rugby Cup in February 2019.

Prediction: Worcester by 8

The teams:

Worcester Warriors: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Francois Venter (cc), 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Gareth Simpson, 8 Sione Vailanu, 7 Ted Hill (cc), 6 Kyle Hatherell, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Matt Garvey, 3 Christian Judge, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Rory Sutherland
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Jay Tyack, 19 Joe Batley, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Ollie Lawrence

Wasps: 15 Marcus Watson, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Alex McHenry, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Will Porter, 8 Tom Willis, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dan Frost, 1 Robin Hislop
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Tom West, 18 Elliot Millar-Mills, 19 Sebastian de Chaves, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Alfie Barbeary, 22 Sam Wolstenholme, 23 Matteo Minozzi

Venue: Sixways
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Gareth Holsgrove
TMO: Andrew Jackson


Leicester Tigers v Harlequins

Form: Leicester Tigers have won their last 11 first team matches since Bristol beat them 26-23 at Welford Road in Premiership Rugby in June. The Tigers’ only other home defeats in 2021 were both in Premiership Rugby to Sale in January and Northampton in April. Harlequins’ last six matches in Premiership Rugby have been evenly split with three wins and three defeats, recording three try bonus points and three losing bonus points in the process. ‘Quins have lost just once away from home in Premiership Rugby since early June: 28-22 to Sale on 15 October. Leicester’s 35-29 victory over Harlequins at Welford Road in may ended a four-game winless run against the Londoners. Harlequins’ only victory in their last seven visits to Welford Road was 32-26 in October 2020.

Prediction: Leicester by 4

The teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 George Ford , 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Marco van Staden, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Ellis Genge (c)
Replacements: 16 Nic Dolly, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Ollie Chessum, 20 Tommy Reffell, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Guy Porter

Harlequins: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Jack Kenningham, 6 James Chisholm, 5 Stephan Lewies (c), 4 Dino Lamb, 3 Will Collier, 2 Jack Walker, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Jack Musk, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Hugh Tizard, 20 Viliami Taulani, 21 Tom Lawday, 22 Lewis Gjaltema, 23 Oscar Beard

Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant referees: Jamie Leahy, Wayne Falla
TMO: Claire Hodnett