Richard Wigglesworth set to play 300th Premiership game

Date published: June 4 2021 - Adam Kyriacou

There’s three games on Saturday and one on Sunday as the Premiership action continues with its penultimate round of the regular-season.


Leicester Tigers v Bristol Bears

Leicester boss Steve Borthwick has named his matchday squad to face Bristol Bears on Saturday in their final home game of the Premiership season.

Tom Youngs will captain the team at hooker in the front-row alongside props Ellis Genge and Dan Cole, with Harry Wells and Cameron Henderson in the second-row.

George Martin returns to the starting line-up at blindside flanker, with Hanro Liebenberg moving to number eight and Tommy Reffell at openside in the back-row.

Ben Youngs and Johnny McPhillips are the Leicester half-backs, while Matt Scott partners Matías Moroni in the Tigers midfield.

Freddie Steward is the full-back in a back three with wings Kini Murimurivalu and Harry Potter.

Julián Montoya is in line to make his return from injury after being included on the Tigers bench alongside James Whitcombe, Joe Heyes, Tomás Lavanini and Jasper Wiese as the replacement forwards.

Scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth is named as a backs replacement alongside Zack Henry and Nemani Nadolo and is in line to become the first player in the competition’s history to make 300 Premiership appearances.

Meanwhile, Bristol Bears come into this game knowing they can secure a home semi-final with victory at Welford Road.

Pat Lam makes seven changes for the Round 21 encounter, as Harry Randall returns for his first Premiership start since January.

Steven Luatua also returns to the line-up, while Bristol include Dan Thomas alongside the skipper in the back-row.

Siale Piutau comes into the midfield, with Piers O’Conor switching to the wing, while Henry Purdy is named in the back three.

Yann Thomas and Will Capon start in the front-row as Bristol look to bounce back from defeat last weekend versus Sale Sharks.

Form: Leicester Tigers have won their last two Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches against Harlequins and Worcester and have not won three in succession in the competition for three years. The Tigers’ only home defeat in any tournament since the end of January was 18-23 to Northampton in Round 17 of Premiership Rugby. Bristol Bears have lost just twice in Gallagher Premiership Rugby since Round 8, but both of those have been in their last four matches, at home to Exeter and away to Sale last weekend. The Bears have not lost successive away matches in Premiership Rugby in the same season since January 2020. The Bears have lost only once to the Tigers in their last five fixtures: 18-31 at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in January 2020. Bristol have beaten Leicester just once at Welford Road in Premiership Rugby: 23-20 in April 2019.

The teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward 14 Harry Potter, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Kini Murimurivalu, 10 Johnny McPhillips, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 George Martin, 5 Cameron Henderson, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 James Whitcombe, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Tomás Lavanini, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Zack Henry, 23 Nemani Nadolo

Bristol Bears: 15 Max Malins, 14 Piers O’Conor, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Steven Luatua (c), 5 Chris Vui, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Will Capon, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Jake Kerr, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 John Afoa, 19 Joe Joyce, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Alapati Leiua

Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Hamish Smales, Rob Warburton
TMO: Karl Dickson

Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors

Newcastle Falcons welcome back a host of stars including Argentina centre Matias Orlando for Saturday’s Premiership visit of Worcester Warriors, setting out in pursuit of their third consecutive home victory.

Director of rugby Dean Richards has made a raft of changes from last week’s trip to Exeter, with the Falcons looking to build on recent home wins over Northampton Saints and London Irish.

Newcastle are set to play in front of a maximum of 2,500 supporters in their final home game of the season in a boost to their cause.

Meanwhile, lock Graham Kitchener and openside flanker Sam Lewis will join Worcester Warriors’ 100 club this weekend at Kingston Park.

The pair will reach a century of appearances at the same time and will have the honour of running out together before kick-off to mark the joint landmark.

They will become the 29th and 30th players to make 100 appearances for Warriors and join current players Chris Pennell (253), Nick Schonert (131), GJ van Velze (109), Niall Annett (107), Callum Black (103) and Matt Cox (102) in the exclusive club. Schonert, Van Velze and Annett will have the chance to add to their tallies on Saturday.

Kitchener’s appearances have been split by eight years with Leicester Tigers where he racked up 175 appearances.

He returned to Sixways two years ago having made his Premiership debut as a replacement at Wasps in 2008 and he is still Warriors’ youngest-ever Premiership debutant.

Lewis joined Warriors from Ospreys in March 2015 and helped the club win the Championship title that year.

A shoulder injury forced Lewis to miss the entire 2015/16 campaign, when Warriors returned to the Premiership but he has since become a consistent and dependable performer for the club.

Kitchener is one of five changes to the side that played against Leicester Tigers last week but his younger brother Andrew has been ruled out having taken a blow to the throat in that match.

Captain Ted Hill moves from the blindside flank to partner Kitchener in the second-row with Tom Dodd coming into the back-row in Hill’s normal position.

Beck Cutting will start at hooker and make his first appearance in three months having recovered from an ankle injury which he sustained in training.

Scotland international fly-half Duncan Weir, who came off the bench last week, starts with Noah Heward named on the left wing for his first start of the season.

Heward made his comeback from a serious hamstring injury off the bench against Leicester and will start against Newcastle as Harri Doel suffered sore calves last week.

Doel has been named on the bench this week along with props Ethan Waller and Nick Schonert who have recovered from injuries.

Form: Newcastle Falcons suffered their second biggest Gallagher Premiership Rugby defeat last Sunday at Exeter. The Falcons have won their last two home games, against London Irish and Northampton and have not won three in succession at home in Premiership Rugby since 2018. Worcester Warriors have lost their last 10 Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches since their declared victory over Newcastle in February although the Warriors have picked up a losing bonus point in three of their last four fixtures. The Warriors’ only away win in Premiership Rugby since November 2019 was on a trip to London Irish in Round 20 last season. The two clubs should have met in Round 10, but the game was not played due to Covid-19. The Falcons achieved a Premiership Rugby season’s double over the Warriors in 2018/19 something they had never achieved before. The Warriors’ most recent victory at Kingston Park was by a single point in March 2016.

The teams:

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Joel Hodgson, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George Wacokecoke, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Callum Chick, 7 Mark Wilson (c), 6 Will Welch, 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Trevor Davison, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Adam Brocklebank
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Philip van der Walt, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 Michael Young, 22 Chidera Obonna, 23 Alex Tait

Worcester Warriors: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Noah Heward, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Tom Dodd, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Ted Hill (c), 3 Jay Tyack, 2 Beck Cutting, 1 Marc Thomas
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Nick Schonert, 19 Justin Clegg, 20 GJ van Velze, 21 Gareth Simpson, 22 Alex Hearle, 23 Harri Doel

Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Adam Leal, John Meredith
TMO: Sean Davey

London Irish v Wasps

Declan Kidney has confirmed his London Irish squad that will host Wasps in their final home game of the 2020/21 season.

In the front-row, props Will Goodrick-Clarke and Ollie Hoskins are joined by Argentina hooker Agustin Creevy.

An Australian international duo of Adam Coleman and Rob Simmons are named as the second-row partnership. Matt Rogerson is at openside flanker and Blair Cowan captains the side from blindside flanker. Albert Tuisue completes the pack from number eight.

Nic Groom and Paddy Jackson are the half-backs, and Terrence Hepetema links up with Curtis Rona in the centres.

Ollie Hassell-Collins and James Stokes are selected on the wings and Tom Parton is at full-back.

For Wasps, there are three changes to the starting line-up that played Northampton Saints last time out.

Kieran Brookes returns from injury to start at tighthead, alongside front-row pair Tom West and Gabriel Oghre.

Marcus Watson starts his first game of the season on the wing, as he replaces the injured Zach Kibirige. Watson is joined in the back three by fellow winger Josh Bassett and full-back Charlie Atkinson.

The only other change to the backline sees Juan de Jongh come in for the injured Paolo Odogwu. Michael Le Bourgeois is inside him at 12, with Malakai Fekitoa still unavailable with a calf injury.

Brad Shields captains the side at blindside flanker, Tom Willis starts at number eight and Thomas Young completes the unchanged back-row at openside flanker.

The second-row pairing of James Gaskell and Will Rowlands and the half-back partnership of Dan Robson and Jacob Umaga are also unchanged.

There are no changes amongst the replacements; Tom Cruse, Simon McIntyre, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Tim Cardall, Sione Vailanu, Ben Vellacott, Jimmy Gopperth and Rob Miller are all named in reserve.

Form: London Irish have lost their last five Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches since beating Bath 36-33 at Brentford at the end of March. The Exiles have lost their last two games at Brentford Community Stadium and have not suffered three successive home defeats in Premiership Rugby since they were at the Twickenham Stoop last season. Wasps’ last five Gallagher Premiership Rugby fixtures have all been won by the home side on the day. Wasps have won just once on the road since February: 20-18 at Newcastle in Round 14 of Premiership Rugby. Curiously, the away side has won in four of the last five Premiership Rugby encounters between these two clubs, whilst Irish have not managed a home win over Wasps since February 2013.

The teams:

London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 James Stokes, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Terrence Hepetema, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Albert Tuisue, 7 Blair Cowan (c), 6 Matt Rogerson, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Adam Coleman, 3 Ollie Hoskins, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 George Nott, 20 Sean O’Brien, 21 Jack Cooke, 22 Rory Brand, 23 Jacob Atkins

Wasps: 15 Charlie Atkinson, 14 Marcus Watson, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Tom Willis, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 James Gaskell, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Gabriel Oghre, 1 Tom West
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Sione Vailanu, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Rob Miller

Venue: Brentford Community Stadium
Kick-off: 16:30 BST (15:30 GMT)
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Andrew Jackson, Dean Richards
TMO: Christophe Ridley


Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs

Director of rugby Chris Boyd has named his Northampton side to face Exeter Chiefs on Sunday, as Saints prepare to run out at Franklin’s Gardens for the final time this term.

After claiming a gritty win over Wasps last weekend, Boyd’s charges head into Round 21 in fifth place in the Premiership table, and will look to complete a season’s double over reigning champions Exeter in front of a sold-out crowd of almost 4,000 supporters.

The Kiwi coach has made just two changes to his starting line-up – with centre Rory Hutchinson overcoming the calf strain that saw him withdraw last time out to start on Sunday, while prop Ehren Painter shifts into the starting XV from last weekend’s bench.

Tommy Freeman, Ollie Sleightholme and Taqele Naiyaravoro form an unchanged back three for Saints, with Matt Proctor retaining his spot in the centres to partner the returning Hutchinson, while Tom James and Dan Biggar continue in the half-back berths for the second week running.

Club co-captain Alex Waller joins Sam Matavesi – who this week extended his stay in Northampton with a new contract – and Painter in the front-row, while David Ribbans and Api Ratuniyarawa remain in an unchanged engine room behind them.

Courtney Lawes starts again at flanker and partners Saints’ co-captain Lewis Ludlam, while Tom Wood continues in the number eight shirt after his match-winning score last weekend.

Emmanuel Iyogun, Alex Moon and Alex Coles will all look to make an impact off Northampton’s bench, meanwhile Alex Mitchell returns to the side from injury for the first time since April to take his place amongst the replacements.

Meanwhile, Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter has made a handful of changes to his side from last weekend.

In the pack, Ben Moon gets the nod at loosehead over Alec Hepburn, the towering frames of Jonny Gray and Jonny Hill form the engine room, while Sam Skinner and Jannes Kirsten move into the back-row, with Dave Ewers and Jacques Vermeulen nursing knocks from the Falcons clash.

Behind the scrum, Ian Whitten comes into the midfield in place of Ollie Devoto, whilst Stuart Hogg’s return at full-back means Facundo Cordero takes over on the right wing from Alex Cuthbert.

Form: Northampton Saints’ two-game losing run in Gallagher Premiership Rugby ended with their 30-25 home win over Wasps on Saturday. The Saints have not won successive home games in Premiership Rugby since December 2019. Exeter Chiefs achieved their biggest ever Premiership Rugby victory at home to Newcastle on Sunday and have lost just once in the tournament since February, on a trip to Gloucester in Round 15. The Chiefs became only the fifth side, and the first since 1999, to score a dozen tries in a Premiership Rugby match in their Round 20 victory. Northampton beat Exeter 13-12 at Sandy Park in Round 10, their first Premiership Rugby victory over the Chiefs since 2018. Northampton have not achieved a Premiership Rugby season’s double over the Devonians since 2013/14. Exeter have won on two of their last three visits to Franklin’s Gardens.

The teams:

Northampton: 15 Tommy Freeman, 14 Ollie Sleightholme, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tom James, 8 Tom Wood, 7 Lewis Ludlam (cc), 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Ehren Painter, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Alex Waller (cc)
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Emmanuel Iyogun, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Alex Moon, 20 Alex Coles, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 James Grayson, 23 Fraser Dingwall

Exeter: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Facundo Cordero, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds (c), 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Sam Skinner, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Jonny Gray, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Marcus Street, 19 Sean Lonsdale, 20 Richard Capstick, 21 Stu Townsend, 22 Harvey Skinner, 23 Ollie Devoto

Venue: Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Sara Cox, Anthony Woodthorpe
TMO: Claire Hodnett