Premiership: Six Nations stars immediately back in domestic action
The teams have been named for this weekend’s Premiership games, including the encounter between fifth-placed London Irish and Northampton Saints, who are fourth, at Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday.
Check out the teams and our predictions for all of the weekend’s games, here.
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester
Form: Newcastle Falcons have lost their last four Premiership Rugby fixtures since beating Leicester Tigers 45-26 at Kingston Park on 7 January. The Falcons slipped to a 19-34 defeat to London Irish last time out at Kingston Park to end a three-game winning run at the venue in all competitions. Gloucester have won just once in their last five Premiership matches: 28-26 over Harlequins at Kingsholm in Round 17. Gloucester have not won away from home in the league since their narrow 22-21 win at London Irish on 21 October. The Falcons beat Gloucester 27-21 in Round 10 and have not achieved a Premiership Rugby season’s double over the West Countrymen since 2016/17. Gloucester have won on three of their last four visits to Kingston Park in the Premiership.
Prediction: Gloucester by 7
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 Pedro Rubiolo, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Richard Palframan, 2 Jamie Blamire, 1 Adam Brocklebank
Replacements: 16 Ollie Fletcher, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Freddie Lockwood, 20 Tom Marshall, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Josh Thomas, 23 Ben Stevenson.
Gloucester: 15 Lloyd Evans, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Seb Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Santi Carreras, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Freddie Clarke, 3 Kirill Gotovtsev, 2 Seb Blake, 1 Harry Elrington
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Cam Jordan, 20 Jack Clement, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Tom Seabrook
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Adam Leal
Assistant referees: George Selwood, John Meredith
TMO: Andrew Jackson
Leicester Tigers v Bristol Bears
Form: Leicester Tigers have won their last four Premiership Rugby matches since their 18-19 loss at home to Northampton Saints at the end of January. The Tigers other home defeat in Premiership Rugby this season was 16-26 to Sale Sharks in Round 5. Bristol Bears have won their last four Premiership Rugby encounters since their defeat by a solitary point to Saracens at StoneX Stadium on 28 January. The Bears have not won five in succession for almost two years. Bristol won their most recent away game in Premiership Rugby, 15-13 at Bath Rugby on 24 February and have not won back-to-back matches on their travels since May 2021. The two clubs drew 26-26 at Ashton Gate in Round 12, their first tie since an 11-11 draw at Memorial Stadium in 1969. The Bears have won on two of their last four visits to Mattioli Woods Welford Road.
Prediction: Leicester by 10
Leicester: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Harry Potter, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Olly Cracknell, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 5 Cameron Henderson, 4 George Martin, 3 Joe Heyes, 2 Julián Montoya (c), 1 Tom West
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 James Cronin, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Eli Snyman, 20 Tommy Reffell, 21 Jack van Poortvliet, 22 Charlie Atkinson, 23 Freddie Steward
Bristol: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Ioan Lloyd, 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 Joyce, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Fred Davies, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 George Kloska, 19 Jake Heenan, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Sam Bedlow, 23 Noah Heward
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 12:30 GMT
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Hamish Smales, Peter Allan
TMO: Stuart Terheege
Saracens v Harlequins
Form: Saracens have lost three of their last five fixtures in all competitions, but all those defeats were away from home. Saracens have won their last fifteen home games in Premiership Rugby. Saracens only previous visit to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was a 27-23 victory over Bristol Bears 12 months ago. Harlequins have won just one of their last seven Premiership Rugby fixtures: 40-5 over Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham Stadium in the Big Game on 4 March. Harlequins have not been successful away from home since a 19-13 win at Bath on 2 December. Saracens have lost just one of their last nine encounters with ‘Quins in Premiership Rugby: 14-41 at the Twickenham Stoop in January2020.
Prediction: Saracens by 15
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Max Malins, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Andy Christie, 5 Hugh Tizard, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Alec Clarey, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Alex Lewington
Harlequins: 15 Nick David, 14 Joe Marchant, 13 Luke Northmore, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 James Chisholm, 6 Jack Kenningham, 5 Stephan Lewies (c), 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Jack Walker, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Sam Riley, 17 Fin Baxter, 18 Will Collier, 19 Dino Lamb, 20 Will Evans, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Tommy Allan, 23 Oscar Beard
Venue: StoneX Stadium
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Dan Jones, Jamie Leahy
TMO: Andrew Jackson
London Irish v Northampton Saints
Form: London Irish have lost just one of their last six Premiership Rugby matches: 22-25 at home to Leicester Tigers in Round 18; their only defeat at Gtech Community Stadium in the tournament since October. Northampton Saints’ only defeat in their last five Premiership Rugby fixtures was 8-62 at Bristol on 3 March. Saints have won just once away from home in Premiership Rugby since early October: 19-18 at Leicester Tigers on 28 January. London Irish have not beaten Northampton in Premiership Rugby since a visit to cinch Stadium in January 2020. The Saints have won on their last two visits to Brentford, both this season, in the Premiership Rugby Cup.
Prediction: London Irish by 5
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 Danilo Fischetti
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Tarek Haffar, 18 Lovejoy Chawatama, 19 Chunya Munga, 20 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 21 Chandler Cunningham-South, 22 Joe Powell, 23 Henry Arundell
Northampton: 15 George Furbank, 14 James Ramm, 13 Fraser Dingwall, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Tommy Freeman, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Lewis Ludlam (c), 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Alex Moon, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Trevor Davison, 2 Robbie Smith, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Angus Scott-Young, 20 Sam Graham, 21 Tom James, 22 Tom Litchfield, 23 Tom Collins
Venue: Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe
Assistant referees: Harry Walbaum, Wayne Falla
TMO: Dean Richards
Bath v Exeter Chiefs
Form: Bath have won just once since mid-November, beating Newcastle 24-16 at the Recreation Ground on New Year’s Eve. Bath’s two other victories at the Rec this season were against Northampton in Round 7 and Leicester in Round 10. Exeter Chiefs have lost just one of their last five Premiership Rugby fixtures: 5-40 to Harlequins in the Big Game at Twickenham on 4 March.The Chiefs have lost their last five away games in Premiership Rugby since beating Bristol at Ashton Gate on 7 October. Exeter’s only defeat to Bath in any competition since October 2016 was 10-13 at the Rec in Premiership Rugby in October 2019. The Chiefs have won on five of their last six visits to Bath in Premiership Rugby.
Prediction: Exeter by 12
Bath: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Ruaridh McConnochie, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Ben Spencer (c), 8 Miles Reid, 7 Chris Cloete, 6 Ted Hill, 5 GJ van Velze, 4 Josh McNally, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Beno Obano
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Fergus Lee-Warner, 20 Josh Bayliss, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Tom de Glanville
Exeter: 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Jack Nowell (c), 13 Henry Slade, 12 Solomone Kata, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Sam Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Christ Tshiunza, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Dafydd Jenkins, 4 Jack Dunne, 3 Marcus Street, 2 Dan Frost, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Patrick Schickerling, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Ollie Devoto
Venue: Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: Ian Tempest, Tom Foley
TMO: David Rose
READ MORE: England: No change in eligibility rules expected as Test players ‘should be playing in the Premiership’