Manu Tuilagi: England centre on bench for Sale against Harlequins in Premiership

David Skippers

The Premiership continues on Saturday and Sunday as five matches take place, including the clash between champions Harlequins and Sale Sharks on Sunday.

Check out the teams and our predictions for the six games, here.


Gloucester v London Irish 

Form: Gloucester’s only defeat in their last six Premiership Rugby fixtures was 17-20 at home to Harlequins in Round 12 – their only loss at Kingsholm in any competition since October. London Irish have lost just one Premiership Rugby match since Round Seven: 30-38 at Wasps on Boxing Day. The Exiles have won twice away from home in Premiership Rugby this campaign, at Exeter in Round Six and at Harlequins in Round Nine. The last five encounters between the two clubs have been evenly split with two wins apiece and a draw, the tie being 25-25 at Brentford Community Stadium in Round Five. London Irish have won just twice at Kingsholm in Premiership Rugby, 13-9 in January 2006 and 18-12 in January 2013.

Prediction: Gloucester by 7

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Santiago Carreras, 13 Giorgi Kveseladze, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Lloyd Evans, 9 Charlie Chapman, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 6 Jack Clement, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Freddie Clarke, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Andrew Davidson, 20 Alex Craig, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Tom Seabrook

London Irish: 15 James Stokes, 14 Kyle Rowe, 13 Lucio Cinti, 12 Benhard van Rensburg, 11 Ben Loader, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Olly Cracknell, 7 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 6 Matt Rogerson (c), 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ollie Hoskins, 2 Matt Cornish, 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Chunya Munga, 20 Tom Pearson, 21 Hugh O’Sullivan, 22 Terrence Hepetema, 23 Cillian Redmond

Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant Referees: Christophe Ridley, Jamie Leahy
TMO: David Rose


Bristol Bears v Newcastle Falcons

Form: Bristol Bears have won their last three first team matches, against Sale in Premiership Rugby and Stade Français and Scarlets in the European Champions Cup. The Bears’ record at Ashton Gate in Premiership Rugby this season is won three, lost three. Newcastle Falcons‘ only victory in Premiership Rugby since early November was a “declared win” against Sale on Boxing Day. The Falcons have won just twice away from home this season in Premiership Rugby, at Bath in Round Two and at Exeter in Round Eight. The Falcons beat the Bears 13-5 at Kingston Park in Round Five and have not achieved a season’s double over Bristol since 2016/17 when they achieved their only previous victory at Ashton Gate.

Prediction: Bristol by 5

The teams:

Bristol: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Siva Naulago, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Piers O’Conor, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Tom Whiteley, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Fitz Harding, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Chris Vui, 5 Joe Joyce (c), 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Jake Woolmore
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 John Afoa, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Steven Luatua, 21 Tiff Eden, 22 Antoine Frisch, 23. Alapati Leiua

Newcastle: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Nathan Earle, 10 Will Haydon-Wood, 9 Sam Stuart, 8 Callum Chick, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Gary Graham, 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Mark Tampin, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Adam Brocklebank
Replacements: 16 Robbie Smith, 17 Conrad Cade, 18 Trevor Davison, 19 Josh Basham, 20 Connor Collett, 21 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Tom Penny

Venue: Ashton Gate
Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Referee: Mathew Carley
Assistant Referees: Greg Macdonald, Gareth Holsgrove
TMO: Tom Foley

Exeter Chiefs v Wasps

Form: Exeter Chiefs have lost their last two Premiership Rugby matches and have not lost three in succession in the same season since September 2020. The Chiefs have won their last four home games in all competitions since Bristol beat them at Sandy Park in the Premiership Rugby Cup in November. Wasps have won their last two Premiership Rugby matches and have not won three in a row in the competition for just over twelve months, although both of those victories were at the Coventry Building Society Arena. Wasps’ only victory away from home in any competition this season was 27-17 on a trip to Bath in Round Seven of Premiership Rugby. The Chiefs beat Wasps 27-23 at Coventry in October and have not achieved a regular season’s double over the Midlanders since 2015/16. Wasps have won just once in 14 previous visits to Sandy Park in all competitions: 26-19 in Premiership Rugby in April 2019.

Prediction: Wasps by 3

The teams:

Exeter: 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Tom Hendrickson, 12 Harvey Skinner, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds (c), 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Santiago Grondona, 7 Richard Capstick, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Dafydd Jenkins, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 3 Patrick Schickerling, 2 Jack Innard, 1 Alec Hepburn
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19 Lewis Pearson, 20 Max Norey, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Sean O’Brien, 23 Facundo Cordero

Wasps: 15 Marcus Watson, 14 Paolo Odogwu, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Alfie Barbeary, 7 Brad Shields, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 Joe Launchbury (c), 3 Biyi Alo, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Tom West
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Elliot Millar-Mills, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Ben Morris, 21 Will Porter, 22 Sam Spink, 23 Rob Miller

Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Andrew Jackson, Jonathan Healy
TMO: David Rose

Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors

Form: Leicester Tigers have lost their last two Premiership Rugby matches and have not lost three in succession in the competition since May. The Tigers have not been beaten at Welford Road Stadium in any competition since Bristol were the visitors in Premiership Rugby in Round 21 last season. Worcester Warriors have slipped to three successive defeats in Premiership Rugby since beating Wasps by a solitary point at Sixways on 4 December. The Warriors won their most recent away game 36-26 at Zebre in the European Challenge Cup, their first success on the road in a match that was played since beating London Irish at the Stoop in Premiership Rugby in September 2020. The Tigers have won their last four fixtures against the Warriors since Worcester’s 24-16 victory at Sixways in October 2019. The Warriors have won just twice at Welford Road in Premiership Rugby, on successive visits between September 2017 and September 2018.

Prediction: Leicester by 20

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Guy Porter, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Hanro Liebenberg (c), 6 George Martin, 5 Calum Green, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 James Whitcombe
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Eli Snyman, 20 Tommy Reffell, 21 Olly Robinson, 22 Jack van Poortvlie, 23 Matt Scott

Worcester: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Alex Hearle, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Gareth Simpson, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Ted Hill (c), 6 Kyle Hatherell, 5 Justin Clegg, 4 Joe Batley, 3 Christian Judge, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Ethan Waller
Replacements: 16 Isaac Miller, 17 Kai Owen, 18 Jay Tyack, 19 Tom Dodd, 20 Sione Vailanu, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Tom Howe, 23 Harri Doel

Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Jack Makepeace, Paul Dix
TMO: Christophe Ridley

Saracens v Bath

Form: Saracens have slipped to successive defeats in Premiership Rugby, at home to Gloucester and away at Wasps, and have not lost three in succession in the competition since December 2017, whilst they have not lost successive home matches in the same season of Premiership Rugby since they were playing at Vicarage Road in 2005/06. Bath have won their last two Premiership Rugby matches, both at home to Worcester and Harlequins, and have not won three in succession for almost 12 months. Excluding unplayed matches, Bath have not been victorious away from home in Premiership Rugby since a trip to Newcastle on 13 March 2021. Saracens have lost just once to Bath in their last six meetings – 18-9 at the Recreation Ground in March 2019. Bath drew 17-17 on their most recent visit to StoneX Stadium but have not beaten Saracens at home since a 16-14 triumph at Vicarage Road in February 2010.

Prediction: Saracens by 22

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode (cc), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Dom Morris, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Manu Vunipola, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Andy Christie, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 Theo McFarland, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Tom Woolstencroft, 1 Mako Vunipola (cc)
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Sam Wainwright, 19 Kapeli Pifeleti, 20 Sean Reffell, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Brandon Jackson, 23 Elliott Obatoyinbo

Bath: 15 Semesa Rokoduguni, 14 Gabriel Hamer-Webb, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Will Muir, 10 Max Ojomoh, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Jaco Coetzee, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Will Spencer, 4 Josh McNally (c), 3 D’Arcy Rae, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Arthur Cordwell
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Valeriy Morozov, 18 Kieran Verden, 19 Josh Dingley, 20 Nahum Merigan, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Will Butt, 23 Tom Prydie

Venue: StoneX Stadium
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Sara Cox
Assistant Referees: Craig Maxwell-Keys, John Meredith
TMO: Claire Hodnett


Harlequins v Sale Sharks

Form: Harlequins‘ seven-game winning run in all competitions ended with their 17-21 reversal at Bath last Friday. The Londoners have been defeated just twice at Twickenham Stoop in Premiership Rugby this season, by Saracens in Round Seven and London Irish in Round Nine. Sale Sharks have won just five games in Premiership Rugby this season and all of those were at AJ Bell Stadium. The Sharks have not been successful away from home in the competition since beating Bath 24-20 at the Recreation Ground in May. The last 13 meetings between the two clubs in Premiership Rugby have all been won by the home side on the day. Sale have won only once at Twickenham Stoop in Premiership Rugby since 2008 – 16-12 in November 2014.

Prediction: Sale by 5

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Luke Northmore, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Tommy Allan, 9 Danny Care, 8 Archie White, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Viliami Taulani, 5 Hugh Tizard, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Simon Kerrod, 2 Jack Walker (c), 1 Jordan Els
Replacements: 16 Sam Riley, 17 Fin Baxter, 18 Mak Wilson, 19 George Hammond, 20 Matas Jurevicius, 21 Lewis Gjaltema, 22 Will Edwards, 23 Oscar Beard

Sale: 15 Luke James, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Robert du Preez, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Arron Reed, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Raffi Quirke, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Sam Dugdale, 6 Jono Ross (c), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Jean-Luc du Preez, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Ewan Ashman, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 Bevan Rodd, 18 Joe Jones, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Cobus Wiese, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Sam James, 23 Manu Tuilagi

Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Phil Watters, Rob Warburton
TMO: Tom Foley