Aviva PremiershipIt will be the Premiership leaders against the defending champions when Saracens host Leicester at Allianz Park for the first time on Saturday.

Saracens have lost just one match this season, leaving them ten points ahead of the Fifth-placed Tigers, but Leicester flank Jamie Gibson believes that things are beginning to click at the right time.


Having been involved in the back-to-back victories over Montpellier in the european Cup, Gibson is confident that the Tigers can challenge Saracens this weekend.

I’m really pleased with how the last few weeks have gone. It took a while to settle in to a new club, new area, a new group of people,” he said. “It’s a learning experience and you’re not completely in your element at first.

“It’s a different sort of pressure but I knew quite a few players from the England set-up and a few from London Irish before.

“The first thing you want to do is impress the coaches and players and you approach it like a challenge.

“You are going to make mistakes when you’re first starting out and that was true at London Irish too, but I sat down with Cockers and players like Tom Croft and my game has really improved this year.

“I’m more patient with my decision-making and approach rather than rushing in and when you’ve got so many high-quality players at Leicester sometimes you can step back a bit and see how they do it.”


We look at all the weekend’s fixtures:

Friday 20 December

Sale Sharks v London Irish

(Salford City Stadium – Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)

Sale Sharks have won just once in their last four Premiership games: 26-10 at home to bottom placed Worcester in Round Eight.

The Sharks’ solo defeat at AJ Bell Stadium in their last four Premiership encounters there was 16-18 to Exeter on November 1.

London Irish have won only one of their last eight fixtures in all tournaments: 24-13 over Stade Français at Madejski Stadium in the European Challenge Cup on December 8, whilst their most recent victory in the Premiership was 18-13 at home to Harlequins on October 5.

The Exiles have won just once on the road in the Premiership since early January: 20-18 at Worcester in Round Two this season.

London Irish have won just one of their last four encounters with the Sharks in the Premiership: 21-19 at Reading on 8th January 2012, whilst their only away victory at Sale since 2009 came at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton in April 2011.


Sale Sharks: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Mark Jennings, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid, 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Kirill Kulemin, 20 Andrei Ostrikov, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Phil Mckenzie.

London Irish: 15 James O’Connor, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Andrew Fenby, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Tomás O’Leary, 8 Chris Hala’ufia, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Jebb Sinclair, 5 Ian Gough, 4 George Skivington (captain), 3 CJ Van der Linde, 2 Jimmy Stevens, 1 Matt Parr.
Replacements: 16 Mike Mayhew, 17 John Yapp, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Nic Rouse, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Alex Lewington, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Darren Allinson.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Chris Sharp, Luke Pearce
TMO: Trevor Fisher


Saturday 21 December

London Wasps v Northampton Saints

(Adams Park – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)

London Wasps have won their last three matches in all tournaments since their 5-28 home reversal to Bath on November 24.

The Londoners have won just two of their last six Premiership home games played at Adams Park – against Worcester and Leicester.

Northampton Saints have lost just one of their last nine fixtures in all tournaments: 7-40 at home to Leinster in the European Cup on December 7.

The Saints’only away defeat in the Premiership this season came at Gloucester, 24-26,in Round Three.

Northampton have won their last eight fixtures against their hosts since Wasps were last victorious 2015 at Adams Park in the Premiership on 4th October 2009.


London Wasps: 15 Elliot Daly; 14 Will Helu, 13 Chris Bell (Capt.), 12 Charlie Hayter, 11 Tom Varndell; 10 Andy Goode, 9 Charlie Davies; 1 Matt Mullan, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley; 4 Tom Palmer, 5 Joe Launchbury; 6 Ashley Johnson, 7 James Haskell, 8 Sam Jones.

Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Taione Vea, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 James Cannon, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Andrew Suniula.

Northampton Saints: 15 Ken Pisi; 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 George North, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Tom Collins; 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i; 1 Alex Waller, 2 Mike Haywood, 3 Salesi Ma’afu; 4 Samu Manoa, 5 Christian Day; 6 Calum Clark, 7 Tom Wood (Capt.), 8 Sam Dickinson.

Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Phil Dowson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Glenn Dickson, 23 Tom Stephenson.

Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Ashley Rowden, Peter Huckle
TMO: David Sainsbury


Saracens v Leicester Tigers

(Allianz Park – Kick-off: 15.15; 15.15 GMT)

Saracens have won their last seven matches in all tournaments,and have topped the Premiership Rugby since the end of Round Two.

The Londoners have played fourteen games at their new Allianz Park venue and have lost only once: 13-27 to Northampton in last season’s Premiership semifinal.

Leicester Tigers have won their last six contests in all tournaments since their 16-23 defeat to Harlequins at Welford Road in the Premiership on November 2.

The Tigers have not lost away from home in any tournament since visiting Wasps in the Premiership on October 27.

The two clubs met on three occasions last season in all competitions with Saracens unbeaten, Leicester’s most recent victory over the Londoners being 24-15 in the 2012 Premiership semifinal at Welford Road. This is the Tigers first ever visit to Allianz Park.


Saracens: 15 Alex Goode; 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Chris Wyles, 11 Jack Wilson; 10 Owen Farrell, 9  Richard Wigglesworth; 1 Richard Barrington, 2 Jamie George, 3 Matt Stevens; 4 Steve Borthwick (Capt.), 5 Alastair Hargreaves; 6 Billy Vunipola, 7 Kelly Brown, 8 Ernst Joubert.

Replacements:16 Schalk Brits, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 James Johnston, 19 George Kruis, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Ben Ransom.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait; 14 Niall Morris, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Matt Smith, 11 Miles Benjamin; 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Boris Stankovich, 2 Neil Briggs, 3 Fraser Balmain; 4 Ed Slater, 5 Graham Kitchener; 6 Jamie Gibson, 7 Pablo Matera, 8 Jordan Crane (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Jérôme Schuster, 19 Sebastian De Chaves, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 David Mélé, 22 Terrence Hepetema, 23 Adam Thompstone.

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Andy Watson, Robin Goodliffe
TMO: Graham Hughes


Bath v Harlequins

(The Recreational Ground – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)


Bath: 15 Anthony Watson; 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan; 10 George Ford, 9 Peter Stringer; 1 Paul James, 2 Rob Webber, 3 Anthony Perenise; 4 Stuart Hooper (Capt.), 5 Dave Attwood; 6 Matt Garvey, 7 Francois Louw, 8 Carl Fearns.

Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Leroy Houston, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Ollie Devoto.

Harlequins:  15 Mike Brown; 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 Sam Smith; 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Dave Ward, 3 Paul Doran Jones; 4 Charlie Matthews, 5 George Robson; 6 Luke Wallace, 7 Chris Robshaw (Capt.), 8 Nick Easter.

Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Nick Kennedy, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ollie Lindsay-Hague.

Referee: Martin Fox
Assistant referees: Gareth Copsey, Paul Dix
TMO: Rowan Kitt


Gloucester v Worcester Warriors

(Kingsholm – Kick-off: 14.00; 14.00 GMT)

Gloucester have lost their last five Premiership matches since their 22-16 victory at Newcastle on  September 29.

Gloucester’s only home win in the Premiership so far this season remains 26-24 over Northampton in Round Three.

Worcester Warriors only win in their last 20 matches in all competitions was 21-16 at Cardiff Blues in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on November 8, whilst the Warriors’have not managed a single league point in their last seven away games in the Premiership.

Gloucester have lost just once to Worcester in their last seven meetings in all tournaments since 2009: 5-21 at Sixways in the Premiership on 7th January 2012.

The Warriors only win at Kingsholm in any tournament was 13-6 in the Premiership in round 21 of the 2008/09 season.


Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook; 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Jonny May; 10 Billy Twelvetrees (Capt.), 9 Jimmy Cowan; 1 Nick Wood, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 3 Sila Puafisi; 4 Elliott Stooke, 5 James Hudson; 6 Matt Cox, 7 Matt Kvesic, 8 Ben Morgan.

Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Tom Hicks, 20 Akapusi Qera, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Martyn Thomas.

Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell; 14 James Stephenson, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 Josh Drauniniu; 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Jeremy Su’a; 1 Ofa Fainga’anuku, 2 Chris Brooker, 3 Rob O’Donnell; 4 James Percival, 5 Mariano Galarza; 6 Richard de Carpentier, 7 Sam Betty, 8 Jonathan Thomas (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Jeremy Becasseau, 18 John Andress, 19 Chris Jones, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Paul Warwick, 23 Andy Symons.

Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Roy Maybank
TMO: David Grashoff

10 Responses to Aviva Premiership: Round 10 – Preview

  • 1

    Bullscot, I’ve made you Author on this Article, seeing as you are our resident UK & Euro Expert.

    Add the rest of the Team sheets and do your thing, tjom!

  • 2

    1 @ grootblousmile:
    Hi GBS would hardly refer to self as an expert, quite busy time all round here with family in the lead up to Christmas so that’s why focussed on getting the PRO12 one up, also its nearer to home. But will try get this one up to date as well just as you ask so nicely ou pel, this in spite of my not feeling very charitable towards the Premiership lot at present. Approve

  • 3

    3 @ Bullscot:
    Thanks Bully…

    Had a very busy day here, had to go with Handbriekie this morning to have the hail damage assessed on 2 vehicles, then lots of work here, then to the Traffic Department to renew my and BonzaiGBS’ vehicle licence disks, which I had forgotten about and which was way overdue, then to Pretoria to go sort out an electrical issue on BonzaiGBS’ car.

    On top of it I am now famished, have not had a bite to eat all day, just one Hunters Gold with my son after I repaired his car’s electrics.

    Have a good one… and thanks!

  • 4

    4 @ grootblousmile:
    Gosh sounds like its been hectic day there for you man, good for you to just put your feet up and chill out for a bit, hope the damage was not too much.

  • 5

    4 @ Bullscot:
    The Assessor pointed dents and shit out that we did not even know existed, the one vehicle is Pearl white… which apparently is expensive to fix, the VW Bus also has quite a bit more damage than we thought… so the Insurance is going to kak quite heavily when paying the repair bill, that I can assure you of.

  • 6

    5 @ Bullscot:
    Going to see if I can watch some Aviva Premiership rugby in bed in a little while…


  • 7

    That’s all the Aviva teams for this weekend’s round added

  • 8

    Sale Sharks leading London Irish, score 15/3 (half time was 12/0)

  • 9

    Final Score: Sale Sharks 15/3 London Irish

  • 10

    Well there is no one else about it seems quite echoey in here so will just say good night to myself Zzzzzz Happy-Grin


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