Premiership: Joe Marler to play 250th game for Harlequins while Maro Itoje back from injury to start for Saracens

David Skippers
Harlequins prop Joe Marler

The teams have been named for this weekend’s Premiership games, including the clash between Harlequins and the defending champions, Leicester Tigers, at Twickenham Stoop on Sunday.

Check out the teams and our predictions for all of the weekend’s games, here.

Friday

Sale Sharks v London Irish

Form: Sale Sharks have won their last seven Premiership Rugby matches since their 12-18 home defeat to Saracens on April 1. That was the Sharks’ only defeat at Salford City Stadium in Premiership Rugby since Exeter beat them there in October 2021. London Irish’s two-game losing run ended with their 47-38 victory over Bath in Round Four. The Exiles have lost their last three away games in Premiership Rugby since their 42-14 victory at Newcastle Falcons in Round 23 last season. Unusually the two clubs drew both of their fixtures in Premiership Rugby last season ending a run of eight successive Sale victories in the fixture in the competition. London Irish last beat Sale 25-23 at Madejski Stadium in April 2015 whilst their most recent success on “Sale soil” came at the Macron Stadium in Bolton in April 2011.

Prediction: Sale Sharks by 10

The teams:

Sale Sharks: 15 Joe Carpenter, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Raffi Quirke, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Ben Curry (c), 6 Tom Curry, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Jean-Luc du Preez, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Ewan Ashman, 1 Bevan Rodd
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Josh Beaumont, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Gus Warr, 22 Tom Curtis, 23 Arron Reed

London Irish: 15 James Stokes, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Will Joseph, 12 Benhard van Rensburg, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben White, 8 So’otala Fa’aso’o, 7 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 6 Ben Donnell, 5 Rob Simmons (c), 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke
Replacements: 16 Isaac Miller, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Ciaran Parker, 19 Josh Caulfield, 20 Chandler Cunningham-South, 21 Caolan Englefield, 22 Lucio Cinti, 23 Logan Trotter

Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 19:45 BST (18:45 GMT)
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: Dan Jones, James Clarke
TMO: Rowan Kitt

Saturday

Gloucester v Bristol Bears

Form: Gloucester have lost only one of their last four Premiership Rugby matches: 39-41 at Saracens in Round Three. Gloucester have won their last three home games at Kingsholm in Premiership Rugby and have not won four in a row at their famous old ground since October 2019. Bristol Bears have lost their last two Premiership Rugby fixtures since beating London Irish 40-36 at Ashton Gate in Round Three. The Bears have won only twice away from home in Premiership Rugby since the start of last season, at London Irish in October 2021 and at Wasps last month. Bristol have lost just one of their last seven meetings with Gloucester in Premiership Rugby: 10-27 in this equivalent fixture at Kingsholm last season played on December 3. The Bears’ only two victories at Kingsholm since 2006 were both played behind closed doors in August 2020 and February 2021.

Prediction: Gloucester by 12

The teams:

Gloucester15 Santiago Carreras, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Giorgi Kveseladze, 11 Jonny May, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Freddie Clarke, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Cam Jordan, 20 Albert Tuisue, 21 Stephen Varney, 22 Jack Reeves, 23 Lloyd Evans

Bristol15 Charles Piutau, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Tom Whiteley, 8 Fitz Harding, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Chris Vui, 5 Joe Joyce (c), 4 Joe Batley, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Will Capon, 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 John Hawkins, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Andy Uren, 22 AJ MacGinty, 23 Jack Bates

Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: George Selwood, Wayne Fella
TMO: Brian MacNiece (Ireland)

Northampton Saints v Newcastle Falcons

Form: Northampton Saints’ two game losing run in Premiership Rugby ended with their thrilling 40- 36 come from behind victory at Wasps on Sunday. The Saints defeat to Leicester in their most recent home game in Premiership Rugby ended a run of five successive wins at Franklin’s Gardens. Newcastle Falcons have won just once in any competition since April: 30-15 over Bristol at Kingston Park in Round Four of Premiership Rugby. Newcastle have not won away from home in Premiership Rugby since a visit to Worcester on April 2. Northampton have lost only once to the Falcons in Premiership Rugby since December 2018: 10-18 at Kingston Park in May 2021. Newcastle have not tasted victory at Franklin’s Gardens since a 16-14 victory there in Premiership Rugby on December 1, 2018.

Prediction: Northampton by 20

The teams:

Northampton: 15 George Furbank, 14 Tom Collins, 13 Fraser Dingwall (c), 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Ollie Sleightholme, 10 James Grayson, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Aaron Hinkley, 6 Alex Coles, 5 Alex Moon, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Robbie Smith, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Alfie Petch, 19 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Matt Proctor, 23 George Hendy

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

Venue: Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Jack Makepeace
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Jamie Leahy
TMO: Andrew Jackson

Saracens v Bath

Form: Saracens have begun the 2022/23 Premiership Rugby campaign with four maximum point victories. Only Saracens themselves in 2018/19 have ever begun a season with 25 league points from their first five games. Saracens’ only home defeat in Premiership Rugby since September 2020 was by a solitary point to Gloucester in January. Bath have slipped to six successive defeats in Premiership Rugby since their 27-24 victory at home to London Irish in Round 25 last season. Bath have not won away from home in any competition since beating Newcastle 30-25 at Kingston Park in Premiership Rugby at the end of February. Saracens have lost just one of their last seven fixtures against Bath: 9-18 at the Recreation Ground in March 2019. Bath have not tasted victory on Saracens soil since a 16-14 win at Vicarage Road in February 2010, although they did draw 17-17 at StoneX Stadium in October 2020.

Prediction: Saracens by 20

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Max Malins, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jackson Wray, 6 Theo McFarland, 5 Hugh Tizard, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Kapeli Pifeleti, 1 Eroni Mawi
Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 James Flynn, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Andy Christie, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Manu Vunipola, 23 Alex Lewington

Bath: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Ruaridh McConnochie, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Richard de Carpentier, 7 Miles Reid, 6 Josh Bayliss, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Tom Dunn (c), 1 Juan Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Arthur Cordwell, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Fergus Lee-Warner, 20 Wesley White, 21 Tom Carr-Smith, 22 George Worboys, 23 Max Ojomoh

Venue: StoneX Stadium
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Hamish Smales, John Meredith
TMO: Claire Hodnett

Sunday

Harlequins v Leicester Tigers

Form: Harlequins won their most recent fixture 35-29 at home to Northampton in Round Four and have not won successive matches in Premiership Rugby since April. The Londoners’ only home defeat in Premiership Rugby since early February was 27-30 to Saracens on 17 September. Leicester Tigers have lost three of their first five fixtures in the defence of their Premiership Rugby crown. The Tigers’ record on the road in Premiership Rugby in 2022 is won four, lost six. The last four fixtures between the two clubs have all been won by the home side on the day whilst the Tigers have lost on their last three visits to Twickenham Stoop since their 31-28 victory there in September 2017.

Prediction: Harlequins by 3

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Joe Marchant, 13 Luke Northmore, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Archie White, 7 Will Evans, 6 Jack Kenningham, 5 Irne Herbst, 4 Dino Lamb, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Jack Musk, 1 Joe Marler (c)
Replacements: 16 George Head, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 George Hammond, 20 Matas Jurevicius, 21 Lewis Gjaltema, 22 Tommy Allan, 23 Nick David

Leicester: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Harry Potter, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 Hanro Liebenberg (c), 5 Calum Green, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 James Cronin
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Cameron Henderson, 20 Olly Cracknell, 21 Jack van Poortvliet, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Nemani Nadolo

Venue: Coventry Building Society Arena
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Adam Leal
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Peter Allan
TMO: Andrew Jackson

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