Gallagher Premiership: Weekend preview

With the Six Nations on a fallow weekend, attentions turn back to domestic competition with the Premiership in full swing: Leicester Tigers vs London Irish; Sale Sharks vs Newcastle; Bath vs Exeter; Wasps vs Gloucester; Worcester vs Bristol; Harlequins vs Northampton.

Last Updated: 05/03/21 5:43pm

England's Sam Underhill makes his return from injury for Bath in the Premiership this weekend
England’s Sam Underhill makes his return from injury for Bath in the Premiership this weekend

We look into the stats and team news ahead of all six Gallagher Premiership encounters this weekend…

Friday

Leicester Tigers vs London Irish (7.45pm)

Richard Wigglesworth starts ahead of Jack van Poortvliet as Leicester scrum-half, with Tom Youngs returning to captain the side at hooker. Dan Cole is back as starting tighthead prop.

Richard Wigglesworth has been picked to start for Leicester vs London Irish on Friday
Richard Wigglesworth has been picked to start for Leicester vs London Irish on Friday

Ireland flanker Sean O’Brien drops out of London Irish’s starting XV with Blair Cowan and Albert Tuisue coming into the back row. Paddy Jackson and Nick Phipps continue as the half-backs.

Last season: Leicester 13 London Irish 7, London Irish 36 Leicester 11

Last six league matches: Leicester W L W L W L London Irish D W W L D W

Top try scorers: Julian Montoya & Jasper Wiese (Leicester) 3; Curtis Rona (London Irish) 4

Top point scorers: Zack Henry (Leicester) 64; Paddy Jackson (London Irish) 83

Sale Sharks vs Newcastle Falcons (8pm)

After a period of rotation, Sale make just two changes to their starting XV with Cobus Wiese coming in at blindside flanker and Sam Dugdale at openside. Jono Ross serves a one-match suspension.

Sale Sharks' Jono Ross is suspended for the visit of Newcastle Falcons
Sale Sharks’ Jono Ross is suspended for the visit of Newcastle Falcons

Argentina sevens star Mateo Carreras makes his first start for Newcastle on the right wing. John Hardie and Rob Farrar replace injured duo Sean Robinson and Philip Van Der Walt in the back row.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last six league matches: Sale W W W L L W Newcastle W L W L L W

Top try scorers: Marland Yarde (Sale) 3; Gary Graham, Adam Radwan & Ben Stevenson (Newcastle) 3

Top point scorers: Alan MacGinty (Sale) 110; Brett Connon (Newcastle) 24

Saturday

Bath vs Exeter Chiefs (3pm)

Sam Underhill makes his comeback for Bath after recovering from a hip injury. Beno Obano returns from England duty to start at loosehead prop. Wales back row Taulupe Faletau starts.

Underhill is named to start after a hip injury, with Wales' Taulupe Faletau also playing for Bath
Underhill is named to start after a hip injury, with Wales’ Taulupe Faletau also playing for Bath

Scotland internationals Jonny Gray and Stuart Hogg are present in Exeter’s starting XV. Wales prop Tomas Francis is on the Chiefs’ bench where he is joined by Jannes Kirsten, who has recovered from a fractured eye socket.

Last season: Exeter 57 Bath 20, Bath 13 Exeter 10

Last six league matches: Bath L L L W W W Exeter L W W W L L

Top try scorers: Zach Mercer (Bath) 3; Sam Simmonds (Exeter) 12

Top point scorers: Rhys Priestland (Bath) 91; Sam Simmonds (Exeter) 60

Wasps vs Gloucester (3pm)

Wasps centre Malakai Fekitoa has recovered from a hamstring injury to start as one of four changes made by the Premiership runners-up with full-back Rob Miller, flanker Thomas Young and hooker Gabriel Oghre also returning.

Centre Malakai Fekitoa returns from his hamstring injury for Wasps vs Gloucester
Centre Malakai Fekitoa returns from his hamstring injury for Wasps vs Gloucester

Wales star Louis Rees-Zammit has been rested by Gloucester. George Barton makes his first Premiership start at fly-half, while Argentina hooker Santiago Socino debuts for the club.

Last season: Wasps 39 Gloucester 22, Gloucester 25 Wasps 9

Last six league matches: Wasps W L L W L L Gloucester L L L L L W

Top try scorers: Paolo Odogwu (Wasps) 5; James Hanson (Gloucester) 3

Top point scorers: Lima Sopoaga (Wasps) 48; Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester) 72

Worcester Warriors vs Bristol Bears (5.15pm)

Worcester captain Ted Hill has recovered from a stiff back to make his comeback as one of three changes that also see hooker Beck Cutting and wing Perry Humphreys involved in the starting XV.

Key Worcester Warriors man Ted Hill is fit enough to start against leaders Bristol on Saturday
Key Worcester Warriors man Ted Hill is fit enough to start against leaders Bristol on Saturday

Bristol have rested full-back Charles Piutau so Henry Purdy starts at 15. Callum Sheedy is present at fly-half fresh from helping Wales beat England. Lock Dave Attwood is back from injury.

Last season: Worcester 13 Bristol 36, Bristol 13 Worcester 10

Last six league matches: Worcester L L L L L L Bristol W W L W D W

Top try scorers: Nick David (Worcester) 3; Bryan Byrne (Bristol) 5

Top point scorers: Duncan Weir (Worcester) 24; Ioan Lloyd (Bristol) 42

Sunday

Harlequins vs Northampton Saints (3pm)

Harlequins make six changes, among them the return of scrum-half Danny Care, full-back Mike Brown and centre Joe Marchant. Hooker Scott Baldwin, flanker Archie White and No 8 Alex Dombrandt are restored up-front.

Scrum-half Danny Care is one of six Harlequins changes for their home clash with Northampton on Sunday
Scrum-half Danny Care is one of six Harlequins changes for their home clash with Northampton on Sunday

Northampton make four changes with wing Ollie Sleightholme and centre Fraser Dingwall starting behind the scrum and prop Paul Hill and lock Alex Hills featuring in the pack.

Last season: Harlequins 30 Northampton 17, Northampton 40 Harlequins 22

Last six league matches: Harlequins D W W W W L Northampton L W W W W L

Top try scorers: Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins) 6; Shaun Adendorff (Northampton)
4

Top point scorers: Marcus Smith (Harlequins) 140; James Grayson (Northampton).

Source : Sky Sports