Lions return for third round of Premiership action

Date published: October 1 2021 - Planet Rugby

Round Three of the Premiership is set for kick-off as six matches take place, including league leaders Leicester Tigers taking on Saracens on Saturday.

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


Bristol Bears v Bath

Form: Bristol Bears have now lost three successive Premiership Rugby matches and have not been defeated in four in succession in the tournament since November 2018. Bristol have lost their last two matches at Ashton Gate whilst the last time they suffered three losses in succession at the venue was in May 2017 – the season they were relegated. Bath Rugby’s only victory in any tournament since April (excluding cancelled games) was 30-24 at home to Northampton in Round 22 of the Premiership Rugby. Bath have not been defeated in their first three rounds of Premiership Rugby since 2005/06. Bath have not won away from home in the tournament since a visit to Newcastle in March. The Bears’ only loss in their last seven meetings with Bath was 19-26 in “The Clash” at Twickenham in April 2019 whilst Bath’s only victory at Ashton Gate in Premiership Rugby was 19-9 in March 2008.

Prediction: Bristol Bears by 12

The teams:

Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Ioan Lloyd, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Steven Luatua (c), 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Chris Vui, 5 Joe Joyce, 4 Ed Holmes, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Will Capon, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Jake Kerr, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Fitz Harding, 20 Dan Thomas, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Antoine Frisch, 23 Alapati Leiua

Bath: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Will Muir, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Ollie Fox, 8 Josh Bayliss, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Charlie Ewels (c), 4 Josh McNally, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Beno Obano
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Miles Reid, 21 Max Green, 22 Max Clark, 23 Anthony Watson

Venue: Ashton Gate
Kick-off: 19:45 BST (18:45 GMT)
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Greg Macdonald, Jonathan Healy
TMO: Karl Dickson


Northampton Saints v London Irish

Form: Northampton Saints have won their last two Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches at home to Gloucester and away at Exeter. Amazingly the Saints have not achieved back-to-back victories at cinch Stadium in Premiership Rugby since December 2019. London Irish are without a win in Premiership Rugby since beating Bath 36-33 at Brentford Community Stadium at the end of March although they did draw 31-all in a thriller at the same location against Sale on Sunday. The Exiles won just once on the road in Premiership Rugby last season: 16-10 over Wasps in Coventry in Round 11. The two sides met just once last season with Northampton running out 44-26 victors at home whilst in the return match in January, they were declared victors in a game that wasn’t played. The Saints have lost only once to Irish since December 2015: 16-20 at Franklin’s Gardens in January 2020 – the Exiles only success at the venue since 2011.

Prediction: Northampton Saints by 15

The teams:

Northampton Saints: 15 George Furbank, 14 Ollie Sleightholme, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Fraser Dingwall, 11 Tom Collins, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Lewis Ludlam (c), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Nick Auterac
Replacements: 16 James Fish, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Ehren Painter, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Courtney Lawes, 21 Teimana Harrison, 22 Frank Lomani, 23 Tommy Freeman

London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Benhard van Rensburg, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Albert Tuisue, 7 Ben Donnell, 6 Matt Rogerson (c), 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ollie Hoskins, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke
Replacements: 16 Matt Cornish, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 George Nott, 20 Steve Mafi, 21 Sean O’Brien, 22 Ben White, 23 Matt Williams

Venue: cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 14:00 BST (13:00 GMT)
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes, Paul Dix
TMO: David Rose

Leicester Tigers v Saracens

Form: Leicester Tigers have begun their Gallagher Premiership Rugby campaign with victories at home to Exeter and away at Gloucester and have not begun a season in the competition with three victories since 2015/16. The Tigers have lost only twice in any competition at Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium since the end of January, both in Premiership Rugby, to Northampton in April and Bristol in June. Saracens beat Bristol 26-9 at Ashton gate in Round 1 and have a bye week in Round 2. Saracens have not won successive away games in Premiership Rugby since November 2019. The Tigers have won just three of their last seventeen Premiership Rugby encounters with Saracens, two at Welford Road in 2014 and 2016 and one at StoneX Stadium in February 2018. Saracens have won on their last four visits to Welford Road the best sequence of any visiting side to the stadium in Premiership Rugby history.

Prediction: Leicester Tigers by 5

The teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Burns, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Guy Porter, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (c), 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 George Martin, 5 Ollie Chessum, 4 Calum Green, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Nic Dolly, 1 Francois van Wyk
Replacements: 16 Tom Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Nephi Leatigaga, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Cameron Henderson, 21 Jack van Poortvliet, 22 Juan Pablo Socino, 23 Freddie Steward

Saracens: 15 Max Malins, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Rotimi Segun, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Aled Davies, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 Nick Isiekwe, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ralph Adams-Hale
Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Alec Clarey, 19 Callum Hunter-Hill, 20 Andy Christie, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Alex Goode, 23 Dom Morris

Venue: Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant Referees: Adam Leal, Jack Makepeace
TMO: Claire Hodnett

Newcastle Falcons v Wasps

Form: Both of Newcastle Falcons’ matches this season have been won by the away side on the day. The Falcons’ opening weekend defeat by Harlequins ended a run of three consecutive victories at Kingston Park in Gallagher Premiership Rugby. Wasps had a bye week in Round 1 and then beat Bristol 44-8 at Coventry Building Society Arena on Sunday. Wasps won their most recent away game 39-36 at London Irish in Round 21 last season and have not won successive trips games in Premiership Rugby since February. The last five meetings between the two clubs have all gone the way of home field advantage whilst Wasps are unbeaten on their last seven visits to Kingston Park, including five successive wins, since October 2011.

Prediction: Newcastle Falcons by 4

The teams:

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Nathan Earle, 10 Will Haydon-Wood, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Callum Chick, 5 Philip van der Walt, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Mark Tampin, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Adam Brocklebank
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Trevor Davison, 19 Will Montgomery, 20 Gary Graham, 21 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 22 Brett Connon, 23 George Wacokecoke

Wasps: 15 Ali Crossdale, 14 Marcus Watson, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Tom Willis, 7 Gabriel Oghre, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Robin Hislop
Replacements: 16 Dan Frost, 17 Tom West, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Ben Morris, 21 Will Porter, 22 Will Simonds, 23 Zach Kibirige

Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe
Assistant Referees: Hamish Smales, John Meredith
TMO: Rowan Kitt

Worcester Warriors v Gloucester

Form: Worcester Warriors have been involved in two high scoring encounters in the opening two rounds, beating London Irish at Sixways in Round 1 and losing to Harlequins at the Stoop last weekend, recording try bonus points on each occasion. The Warriors have not tallied three successive try bonus points since November 2017. Gloucester Rugby have slipped to successive defeats in the opening two rounds, at Northampton and at home to Leicester, and have never begun a Gallagher Premiership Rugby campaign with three successive losses. Gloucester won just twice away from home last season, at Wasps in March and at Northampton in May. The two clubs met just once last season with Gloucester running out winners 22-14 at Kingsholm in February whilst the return fixture in June was a declared Worcester win due to Covid. The Warriors have not beaten Gloucester in a game that was actually played since April 2019. The Cherry and Whites have won only once on a visit to Sixways in Premiership Rugby since 2010: 44-15 in August 2020.

Prediction: Worcester Warriors by 2

The teams:

Worcester Warriors: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Noah Heward, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Willi Heinz (cc), 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Ted Hill (cc), 5 Justin Clegg, 4 Matt Garvey, 3 Christian Judge, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Ethan Waller
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Jack Owlett, 19 Kyle Hatherell, 20 Sione Vailanu, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Oli Morris

Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Jonny May, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 6 Ruan Ackermann, 5 Andrew Davidson, 4 Freddie Clarke, 3 Kirill Gotovtsev, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Harry Elrington
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Val Rapava-Ruskin, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Freddie Thomas, 20 Jack Clement, 21 Stephen Varney, 22 Lloyd Evans, 23 Chris Harris

Venue: Sixways
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Jackson
Assistant Referees: Mike Hudson, Gareth Holsgrove
TMO: Craig Maxwell-Keys


Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs

Form: Sale Sharks have scored 51 points and conceded 50 in the opening two rounds but have tallied seven league points in the process. The Sharks have won their last eight matches at AJ Bell Stadium their best home winning run in Premiership Rugby since they won nine in a row at Edgeley Park in 2005-2006. Exeter Chiefs have slipped to three successive Gallagher Premiership Rugby defeats and have not lost four in succession in the competition since 2015. The Chiefs have won three of their last four away games in the tournament. The two clubs met on three occasions last campaign with each side winning its respective home game in the regular season but Exeter triumphing 40-30 after extra time at Sandy Park in the semi-final. The Chiefs have won on five of their last six visits to AJ Bell Stadium in all competitions.

Prediction: Sale Sharks by 5

The teams:

Sale Sharks: 15 Denny Solomona, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Rob du Preez, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Jono Ross (c), 7 Sam Dugdale, 6 Cameron Neild, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Curtis Langdon, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Bevan Rodd, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Rouban Birch, 20 Tommy Taylor, 21 Guss Warr, 22 Kieran Wilkinson, 23 Luke James

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Facundo Cordero, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Richard Capstick, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Sean Lonsdale, 4 Will Witty, 3 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Innard, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Ryan McCauley, 20 Christ Tshiunza, 21 Stu Townsend, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Tom Hendrickson

Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Wayne Falla, Phil Watters
TMO: Andrew Jackson