bears-vs-quins-revisited;-tigers-on-for-best-start-since-2000

Bears vs Quins revisited; Tigers on for best start since 2000

Owen Farrell skippers Saracens, Ellis Genge's Leicester look for a best start in two decades and Alex Dombrandt's Quins host Bristol

Owen Farrell skippers Saracens, Ellis Genge’s Leicester look for a best start in two decades and Alex Dombrandt’s Quins host Bristol

We look at the form, stats and all the team news ahead of the weekend’s Gallagher Premiership action from across England.

Harlequins vs Bristol Bears (Friday, 7.45pm)

Defending champions Quins have won their last five Premiership clashes since their 45-12 reversal at Sale on June 4, with the Londoners unbeaten in their last 10 contests at the Stoop in Premiership Rugby including a run of nine successive victories.

The only previous occasion that Harlequins have won nine successive home games in the tournament was eight seasons ago in 2013/14.

Harlequins take on Bristol on Friday for the first time since last season's remarkable semi-final contest

Harlequins take on Bristol on Friday for the first time since last season’s remarkable semi-final contest

Bristol Bears’ 25-20 comeback win over Bath last Friday ended a three-game losing run in the Premiership, but the Bears’ only away win in the league since early May was a 26-23 win at Leicester in Round 21 last season.

Quins and Bristol met on three occasions last season with Bristol taking both fixtures in the regular campaign but Harlequins winning a thrilling semi-final at Ashton Gate 43-36 after extra time. Bristol have won on their last two visits to the Stoop, beating London Irish there in October 2020 and Harlequins on Boxing Day.

Pat Lam's Bristol only won for the first time in three rounds last week

Pat Lam’s Bristol only won for the first time in three rounds last week

Harlequins: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Tommy Allan, 9 Danny Care; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Jack Walker, 3 Simon Kerrod, 4 Matt Symons, 5 Dino Lamb, 6 Tom Lawday, 7 Jack Kenningham, 8 Alex Dombrandt (c)

Replacements: 16 Sam Riley, 17 Fin Baxter, 18 Will Collier, 19 Hugh Tizard, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Marcus Smith, 23 Luke Northmore.

Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall; 1 Yann Thomas, 2 Jake Kerr, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Joe Joyce, 5 Chris Vui, 6 Fitz Harding, 7 Jake Heenan, 8 Steven Luatua (c).

Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Dan Thomas, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Alapati Leiua.

Exeter Chiefs vs Worcester Warriors (Saturday, 3pm)

Exeter Chiefs’ 25-15 victory at Sale on Sunday ended a three-game losing run in the Premiership. Their last home game saw a 26-24 loss vs Northampton, however, but they have not lost back-to-back matches at Sandy Park in Premiership Rugby since September 2014.

Exeter Chiefs picked up their first win of the season vs Sale Sharks last week

Exeter Chiefs picked up their first win of the season vs Sale Sharks last week

Worcester have slipped to a pair of defeats at Harlequins and at home to Gloucester following their opening weekend victory over London Irish at Sixways.

Excluding unplayed/Covid effected fixtures, the Warriors have won only once on the road in the Premiership since November 2019: a 40-25 win against London Irish at the Stoop in September 2020.

Exeter have lost only one of their eighteen Premiership Rugby fixtures against Worcester: 5-6 at Sandy Park in February 2018.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Facundo Cordero, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Tom Hendrickson, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Jack Maunder; 1 Alec Hepburn, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Harry Williams, 4 Will Witty, 5 Jonny Hill, 6 Dave Ewers, 7 Richard Capstick, 8 Sam Simmonds

Replacements: 16 Jack Innard, 17 Billy Keast, 18 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19 Sam Skinner, 20 Christ Tshiunza, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Ian Whitten.

Worcester Warriors: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Noah Heward, 13 Oli Morris, 12 Ollie Lawrence, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Willi Heinz; 1 Rory Sutherland, 2 Scott Baldwin, 3 Christian Judge, 4 Andrew Kitchener, 5 Justin Clegg, 6 Kyle Hatherell, 7 Matt Kvesic, 8 Sione Vailanu.

Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Jay Tyack, 19 Joe Batley, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Will Butler, 23 Harri Doel.

Gloucester vs Sale Sharks (Saturday, 3pm)

Gloucester began the season with defeats at Northampton and at home to Leicester but were back to winning ways at Worcester over the weekend.

The Cherry & Whites have won four of their last six fixtures in the Premiership at Kingsholm (excluding unplayed games).

After victory at Worcester last time out, can skipper Lewis Ludlow guide Gloucester to a home win?

After victory at Worcester last time out, can skipper Lewis Ludlow guide Gloucester to a home win?

Sale Sharks have won only one of their last five Premiership Rugby encounters and that by a single point at home to Bath in round one. The Sharks have not won away from home since they visited Bath for a Round 19 fixture in May.

Sale’s only defeat in their last six encounters with Gloucester was 16-18 in Salford in October 2019. The Sharks have been victorious on their last three visits to Kingsholm.

Manu Tuilagi's Sale Sharks have made a mixed start to their Premiership campaign: one win, one draw and one loss

Manu Tuilagi’s Sale Sharks have made a mixed start to their Premiership campaign: one win, one draw and one loss

Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Jonny May, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ben Meehan; 1 Harry Elrington, 2 Jack Singleton, 3 Kirill Gotovtsev, 4 Freddie Clarke, 5 Andrew Davidson, 6 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 8 Ben Morgan.

Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Val Rapava-Ruskin, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Jack Clement, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Kyle Moyle.

Sale Sharks: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Sam James, 12 Luke James, 11 Arron Reed, 10 Kieran Wilkinson, 9 Raffi Quirke; 1 Ross Harrison (c), 2 Curtis Langdon, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 4 Jean-Luc du Preez, 5 Jean-Pierre du Preez, 6 Cameron Nield, 7 Sam Dugdale, 8 Daniel du Preez.

Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Nick Schonert, 19 Cobus Wiese, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Gus Warr, 22 Curtis Langdon, 23 Tom Roebuck.

London Irish vs Leicester Tigers (Saturday, 3pm)

London Irish are without a win in their last nine Premiership fixtures since beating Bath in Brentford in March, although they did draw 31-all with Sale at the same venue in Round two this season.

Paddy Jackson and London Irish have given themselves too much to do with slow starts in recent weeks

Paddy Jackson and London Irish have given themselves too much to do with slow starts in recent weeks

Leicester Tigers’ only loss in their last seven Premiership matches was a 23-26 reverse at home to Bristol on June 5. The only previous occasion the Tigers have begun the season with wins in four straight rounds was season 2000/01.

The last five matches between the two sides have all gone with home field advantage whilst Leicester lost 22-9 on their only previous visit to Brentford Community Stadium in November 2020.

Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick is looking to lead the Tigers to four opening Premiership wins for the first time since 2000

Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick is looking to lead the Tigers to four opening Premiership wins for the first time since 2000

London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Terrence Hepetema, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Nick Phipps; 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 2 Agustin Creevy, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 4 Steve Mafi, 5 Adam Coleman, 6 Matt Rogerson (c), 7 Ben Donnell, 8 Albert Tuisue.

Replacements: 16 Matt Cornish, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 George Nott, 21 Sean O’Brien, 22 Hugh O’Sullivan, 23 Benhard van Rensburg.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge (c), 2 Nic Dolly, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Harry Wells, 5 Calum Green, 6 George Martin, 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Hanro Liebenberg.

Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Eli Snyman, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Guy Porter.

Saracens vs Newcastle Falcons (Saturday, 3pm)

Newcastle Falcons have won their last two Gallagher Premiership fixtures, at Bath and at home to Wasps, but have not won three in succession since the first three rounds of last season.

Newcastle Falcons have beaten Bath and Wasps over the last two weeks

Newcastle Falcons have beaten Bath and Wasps over the last two weeks

The Falcons’ victory at Bath in Round 2 was their first win on the road in the tournament since beating Wasps in Coventry in December 2020.

Saracens have won their last eighteen Premiership matches against Newcastle since the Falcons’ 13-9 triumph at Kingston Park in February 2009. The last time that Newcastle were successful on Saracens soil was at Vicarage Road back in December 2007.

Owen Farrell starts and captains Saracens vs Newcastle on Saturday

Owen Farrell starts and captains Saracens vs Newcastle on Saturday

Saracens: 15 Max Malins, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Dom Morris, 12 Alex Lozowski, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Aled Davies; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Marco Riccioni, 4 Callum Hunter-Hill, 5 Tim Swinson, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 7 Ben Earl, 8 Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Alec Clarey, 19 Sean Reffell, 20 Andy Christie, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Alex Goode, 23 Nick Tompkins

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Nathan Earle, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Louis Schreuder; 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Trevor Davison, 4 Marco Fuser, 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Gary Graham, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Callum Chick.

Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Logovi’i Mulipola, 19 Will Montgomery, 20 Josh Basham, 21 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 22 Will Haydon-Wood, 23 George Wacokecoke.

Wasps vs Northampton Saints (Sunday, 3pm)

Wasps’ record in their last eight Premiership matches coming into this one is an even won four, lost four. Their only defeat in their last four matches at Coventry Building Society Arena was a 38-31 loss to Leicester on June 12.

Northampton Saints have won all three matches so far in the Premiership but have not started with four wins in a row since the 2012/13 season. Saints won both fixtures against Wasps in the Premiership last season and have also been victorious on three of their last four visits to Coventry in all tournaments.

Northampton Saints are flying so far this season, with three wins from three

Northampton Saints are flying so far this season, with three wins from three

Referee Craig Maxwell-Keys becomes the 16th official to take charge of 100 Premiership matches, and at 31 years of age he will be the youngest to achieve the milestone – 450 days younger than Wayne Barnes was on his 100th appearance in 2012.

Wasps: 15 Marcus Watson, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson; 1 Ben Harris, 2 Tom Cruse, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 4 Vaea Fifita, 5 Elliott Stooke, 6 Brad Shields, 7 Thomas Young, 8 Tom Willis.

Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Ali Crossdale.

Northampton: 15 George Furbank, 14 Tommy Freeman, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Fraser Dingwall, 11 Ollie Sleightholme, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Alex Mitchell; 1 Nick Auterac, 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Paul Hill, 4 David Ribbans, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 6 Courtney Lawes, 7 Lewis Ludlam (c), 8 Juarno Augustus.

Replacements: 16 Mikey Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Ehren Painter, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Frank Lomani, 22 Rory Hutchinson 23 Alex Moon.