Premiership: Gabriel Ibitoye makes Bristol Bears debut while returning England trio involved for Sale Sharks

David Skippers
Gabriel Ibitoye playing for Harlequins

The teams have been named for this weekend’s Premiership games, including the highly anticipated encounter between second-placed Sale Sharks and in-form Gloucester at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday.

Check out the teams and our predictions for all of the matches, here.


Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs

Form: Northampton Saints’ only defeat in their last six first team matches was 14-27 on their visit to Bath in Round Seven of Premiership Rugby. The Saints have lost just once in any competition at cinch Stadium since Exeter last visited in February: 21-41 to Leicester Tigers in September. Exeter Chiefs have won only one of their last four Premiership Rugby fixtures: 50-14 at Bristol Bears in Round Five. The Chiefs have won only two of their last seven away games in Premiership Rugby. The last five meetings between the two clubs in Premiership Rugby have incredibly been won by the away side on the day. Chiefs have won on four of their last five visits to Franklin’s Gardens.

Prediction: Northampton by 4

The teams:

Northampton Saints: 15 Tommy Freeman, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Fraser Dingwall (c), 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Ollie Sleightholme, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Tom James, 8 Sam Graham, 7 Aaron Hinkley, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Alex Moon, 4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 3 Ehren Painter, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Emmanuel Iyogun
Replacements: 16 Robbie Smith, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Brandon Nansen, 20 Kayde Sylvester, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 George Furbank, 23 Matt Proctor

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Dan John, 13 Rory O’Loughlin, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Jacques Vermeulen, 7 Lewis Pearson, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Ruben Van Heerden, 4 Jack Dunne, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Jack Innard, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19 Dafydd Jenkins, 20 Rus Tuima, 21 Sam Maunder, 22 Will Becconsall, 23 Sean O’Brien

Venue: cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Mike Hudson, Jamie Leahy
TMO: Dean Richards


Sale Sharks v Gloucester

Form: Sale Sharks have slipped to back-to-back defeats in Premiership Rugby, at home to Harlequins and away at Saracens, and have not lost three in succession in the competition since 2018. The Sharks have suffered only two defeats at AJ Bell Stadium in Premiership Rugby in 2022, the other loss being to Saracens in April. Gloucester have won their last four Premiership Rugby matches since their 39-41 loss at Saracens in Round Three. The Cherry and Whites have not won five in succession in the competition since 2017. Sale have won four of their last five encounters with Gloucester, the defeat being by a solitary point at Kingsholm last October. Gloucester have won just once at AJ Bell Stadium since 2016: 18-16 in October 2019.

Prediction: Sale by 12

The teams:

Sale: 15 Joe Carpenter, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Arron Reed, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Gus Warr, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Ben Curry (c), 6 Jono Ross, 5 Josh Beaumont, 4 Jean-Luc du Preez, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Bevan Rodd, 18 James Harper, 19 Dom Barrow, 20 Sam Dugdale, 21 Raffi Quirke, 22 Tom Curtis, 23 Byron McGuigan

Gloucester: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Tom Seabrook, 13 Jack Reeves, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jake Morris, 10 Lloyd Evans, 9 Charlie Chapman, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 6 Ruan Ackermann, 5 Cam Jordan, 4 Freddie Clarke, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Santiago Socino, 1 Harry Elrington
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Val Rapava-Ruskin, 18 Kirill Gotovtsev, 19 Andrew Davidson, 20 Jordy Reid, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 George Barton, 23 Alex Hearle

Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Andrew Jackson
Assistant referees: Wayne Falla, John Meredith
TMO: Rowan Kitt

Newcastle Falcons v Bath

Form: Kingston Park becomes only the sixth venue to host 250 Premiership Rugby matches. Newcastle Falcons have won just one of their last 10 Premiership Rugby fixtures: 30-15 at home to Bristol Bears in Round Four. Bath’s 27-14 victory at home to Northampton last time out ended an unwanted run of seven successive Premiership defeats. Bath have won only twice away from home in Premiership Rugby since February 2021 and both of those victories were at Kingston Park. The four meetings by the two clubs over the past two seasons have all been won by the visiting side on the day.

Prediction: Bath by 7

The teams:

Newcastle: 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 George Wacokecoke, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (c), 8 Callum Chick, 7 Connor Collett, 6 Freddie Lockwood, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Matthew Dalton, 3 Richard Palframan, 2 Jamie Blamire, 1 Adam Brocklebank
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Phil Brantingham, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 George Merrick, 20 Guy Pepper, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Tom Penny

Bath: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Gabriel Hamer-Webb, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Ruaridh McConnochie, 10 George Worboys, 9 Max Green, 8 Richard de Carpentier, 7 Miles Reid, 6 Ted Hill, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Fergus Lee-Warner, 3 D’Arcy Rae, 2 Tom Dunn (c), 1 Valeriy Morozov
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Arthur Cordwell, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Tom Ellis, 20 Josh Bayliss, 21 Tom Carr-Smith, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Jonathan Joseph

Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Hamish Smales
Assistant referees: James Clarke, Gareth Holsgrove
TMO: Dean Richards

Bristol Bears v Saracens

Form: Bristol Bears have slipped to four straight defeats in Premiership Rugby since beating London Irish 40-36 at Ashton Gate on 24 September. The Bears’ 14-50 loss at home to Exeter in Round Five ended a four-game winning run at Ashton Gate in Premiership Rugby. Saracens have dropped only one possible league point in Premiership Rugby this season and that was in scoring only one try in their narrow victory at Exeter in Round Seven. Saracens have lost only once away from home in Premiership Rugby since February: 7-54 at Gloucester in Round 26 last season. Saracens have lost just two of their last 11 clashes with Bristol in Premiership Rugby, both at Ashton Gate in April 2019 and August 2020. Saracens record at Ashton Gate is won two, lost two.

Prediction: Saracens by 5

The teams:

Bristol: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Deago Bailey, 13 Joe Jenkins, 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Gabriel Ibitoye, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Will Porter, 8 Fitz Harding, 7 Jake Heenan (c), 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Joe Batley, 4 Ed Holmes, 3 Jay Tyack, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Jonathan Benz-Salomon, 19. John Hawkins, 20 Dan Thomas, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Jack Bates

Saracens: 15 Max Malins, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Alex Lozowski, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Alex Goode, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Ben Earl (c), 6 Andy Christie, 5 Hugh Tizard, 4 Callum Hunter-Hill, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Theo Dan, 1 Robin Hislop
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 James Flynn, 18 Alec Clarey, 19 Andrew Kitchener, 20 Toby Knight, 21 Gareth Simpson, 22 Josh Hallett, 23 Tom Howe

Venue: Ashton Gate
Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Referee: Jack Makepeace
Assistant referees: Mike Hudson, Peter Allan
TMO: Adam Leal

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