Premiership: Ollie Hassell-Collins set to bring up London Irish century while George Ford starts for Sale Sharks

Colin Newboult

The Premiership continues this weekend as five matches take place, including the clash between play-off hopefuls Gloucester and Leicester Tigers.


Northampton Saints v Bath

Form: Northampton Saints’ three-game winning run in Gallagher Premiership Rugby came to an abrupt halt with their record defeat at Bristol Bears on Friday. The Saints have won their last six home games in Premiership Rugby since Leicester beat them at cinch Stadium in September. Bath Rugby are yet to record a victory in any competition in 2023. Bath have won just once away from home in Gallagher Premiership Rugby since February 2022: 17-10 at Newcastle on 5 November. Bath beat Northampton 27-14 at the Recreation Ground in October and have won on two of their last three visits to Franklin’s Gardens.

Prediction: Northampton by 15

The teams

Northampton Saints: 15 James Ramm, 14 Tom Collins, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Fraser Dingwall (c), 11 Tommy Freeman, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Tom James, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Sam Graham, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Alex Moon, 4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Robbie Smith, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Alfie Petch, 19 Brandon Nansen, 20 Sam Matavesi, 21 Callum Braley, 22 James Grayson, 23 Rory Hutchinson,

Bath: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Gabriel Hamer-Webb, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Matt Gallagher, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Miles Reid, 7 Chris Cloete, 6 Josh Bayliss, 5 GJ van Velze, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 D’Arcy Rae, 2 Tom Dunn (c), 1 Beno Obano 
Replacements: 16 Tom Doughty, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Josh McNally, 20 Will Spencer, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Will Butt, 23 Richard de Carpentier

Venue: cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Jack Makepeace
Assistant Referees: Harry Walbaum, Wayne Falla
TMO: Rowan Kitt


Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons

Form: Exeter Chiefs lost 5-40 to Harlequins in the Big Game at Twickenham on Saturday and have not been defeated in successive Premiership Rugby fixtures since November. Exeter have lost just once in any competition at Sandy Park since the end of March 2022: 20-22 to Saracens in Round 7 of the Premiership. Newcastle Falcons have slipped to three successive league defeats since beating Leicester 45-26 at Kingston Park on 7 January. The Falcons have won just once on the road in Premiership Rugby since last April: 27-21 at Gloucester in Round 10. Newcastle beat Exeter 24-21 in Round 11 and have never before achieved a season’s double over the Devonians. Newcastle won 15-14 on their most recent visit to Sandy Parkin November 2021.

Prediction: Exeter by 10

The teams:

Exeter: 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Jack Nowell (c), 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Solomone Kata, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Sam Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jack Dunne, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 3 Marcus Street, 2 Dan Frost, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Danny Southworth, 18 Patrick Schickerling, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Rory O’Loughlin

Newcastle: 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Matias Orlando, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (c), 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Callum Chick, 6 Freddie Lockwood, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Pedro Rubiolo, 3 Richard Palframan, 2 Jamie Blamire, 1 Adam Brocklebank
Replacements: 16 Ollie Fletcher, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Matthew Dalton, 20 Tom Marshall, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Pete Lucock, 23 Iwan Stephens

Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant referees: Jonathan Healyand, Gareth Holsgrove
TMO: Rowan Kitt


Gloucester v Leicester Tigers

Form: Gloucester have won only one of their last four Premiership Rugby matches: 28-26 at home to Harlequins in Round 17. Gloucester have lost twice at Kingsholm in the Premiership this campaign, to Newcastle in Round 10 and to Saracens in Round 15. Leicester Tigers have won their last three league encounters since their 18-19 home defeat to Northampton in Round 16. The Tigers have won their last two away games, at Clermont in the European Champions Cup and at London Irish in Premiership Rugby and have not won three in succession on their travels since December 2021. Leicester’s solitary defeat in their last eight clashes with Gloucester was 30-46 at Kingsholm in August 2020. The Tigers have won on their last two visits to Gloucester.

Prediction: Leicester by 4

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Lloyd Evans, 14 Jonny May, 13 Tom Seabrook, 12 Seb Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Freddie Clarke, 3 Kirill Gotovtsev, 2 Seb Blake, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Cam Jordan, 20 Albert Tuisue, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Alex Hearle

Leicester: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Guy Porter, 11 Harry Simmons, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Olly Cracknell, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Joe Heyes, 2 Julián Montoya (c), 1 Tom West
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 James Cronin, 18 Will Hurd, 19 Cameron Henderson, 20 George Martin, 21 Emeka Ilione, 22 Tom Whiteley, 23 Charlie Atkinson

Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Phil Watters
TMO: Andrew Jackson

London Irish v Sale Sharks

Form: London Irish have lost just one of their last five Premiership Rugby matches: 22-25 at home to Leicester in Round 18. The Exiles have not lost back-to-back fixtures at Gtech Community Stadium for almost 12 months. Sale Sharks’ two-game losing run in the Premiership ended with their 35-24 victory over Saracens on Sunday. The Sharks have won only once away from home in any competition since early October: 24-16 at Harlequins in Round 15 of Premiership Rugby. Sale are unbeaten in their last 11 encounters with London Irish in the league, although two of their last three meetings have ended in ties. The most recent Exiles victory in the series was 25-23 at Madejski Stadium in April 2015.

Prediction: Sale by 7

The teams:

London Irish: 15 Ben Loader, 14 Lucio Cinti, 13 Benhard van Rensburg, 12 Rory Jennings, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Hugh O’Sullivan, 8 So’otala Fa’aso’o, 7 Tom Pearson, 6 Matt Rogerson (c), 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Oliver Hoskins, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Facundo Gigena
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Tarek Haffar, 18 Lovejoy Chawatama, 19 Josh Caulfield, 20 Josh Basham, 21 Chandler Cunningham-South, 22 Joe Powell, 23 James Stokes

Sale: 15 Joe Carpenter, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Rob du Preez, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 George Ford, 9 Raffi Quirke, 8 Jean-Luc du Preez, 7 Sam Dugdale, 6 Jono Ross (c), 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Ewan Ashman, 1 Bevan Rodd
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Nick Schonert, 19 Josh Beaumont, 20 Dan du Preez, 21 Gus Warr, 22 Luke James, 23 Arron Reed

Venue: The Gtech Community Stadium
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Charlie Gayther, Simon Harding
TMO: Dean Richards

Bristol Bears v Harlequins

Form: Bristol Bears’ only defeat in any competition since early January was by a solitary point at table topping Saracens on 28 January. Bristol are unbeaten in any competition at Ashton Gate since Saracens were the visitors in Round 9 of Premiership Rugby in November. Harlequins’ five game losing streak in the Premiership ended with their 40-5 victory over Exeter at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday. The Londoners have not won away from home since a trip to Bath in Premiership Rugby in early December. The Bears’ 15-12 victory over Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop in Round 13 ended a run of three successive defeats to the Londoners. Harlequins have won on their last two visits to Ashton Gate.

Prediction: Bristol by 3

The teams:

Bristol: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Siva Naulago, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 James Williams, 11 Gabriel Ibitoye, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Harry Randall (cc), 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Fitz Harding, 6 Steven Luatua (cc), 5 Chris Vui, 4 Joe Batley, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 George Kloska, 19 Joe Joyce, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Sam Bedlow, 23 Ioan Lloyd

Harlequins: 15 Nick David, 14 Cadan Murley, 13 Luke Northmore, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Will Edwards, 9 Danny Care, 8 Tom Lawday, 7 James Chisholm, 6 Jack Kenningham, 5 Stephan Lewies (c), 4 Dino Lamb, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Sam Riley, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Jack Musk, 17 Fin Baxter, 18 Will Collier, 19 Irne Herbst, 20 Will Evans, 21 Luke Wallace, 22 Scott Steele, 23 Oscar Beard

Venue: Ashton Gate
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Adam Leal
Assistant referees: Joe James, Gareth Holsgrove
TMO: David Rose

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