With the new English domestic season kicking off on Friday, we take a look at the prospects of each of the 12 clubs competing for the Premiership title. Let’s get started.
The pioneers of modern English rugby, Saracens have established themselves as one of Europe’s leading teams over the last few years.
Making three Premiership Finals in the last five years along with contesting Europe’s showpiece last season underlines their rise to the top of the game. Unafraid to experiment off the field, 2013/2014 saw Saracens revolutionise their play on it by throwing off the shackles and producing attacking rugby that was hard to resist. More of the same please.
Gregor Townsend has named a 26-man squad for Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Aviva Premiership side Harlequins at Scotstoun (ko 15:30 BST / 16:30 SA Time).
James Downey, Rossouw de Klerk, Connor Braid and Alex Allan are all in line to make their debuts for the Warriors.
Prop Euan Murray and scrum-half Murray McConnell are also included in the squad after returning to the club in the summer.
The Warriors will confirm the starting line-up on Saturday.
Glasgow Warriors will host Harlequins in a pre-season friendly at Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday 23 August, kick-off 15:30 BST.
Gregor Townsend’s squad will take on the Aviva Premiership side two weeks before the start of the new season.
Harlequins hosted the Warriors at Twickenham Stoop last summer and this year travel north after finishing fourth in the Aviva Premiership.
Conor O’Shea’s squad includes the likes of Mike Brown, Danny Care, Ugo Monye, Chris Robshaw and Nick Easter.
Fiji’s Aseli Tikoirotuma has signed for Harlequins on a two-tear contract, the English Premiership side announced on Thursday.
“Aseli is one of the most exciting backs in world rugby, and we are delighted that he has signed for us,” said Harlequins rugby director Conor O’Shea.
Saracens booked a place in the Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham when they beat Harlequins 31-17 in the Premiership Semi-final at Allianz Park.
Saracens gradually saw off Harlequins to keep their dreams of winning the double alive.
The lead was evenly shared up until the 60-minute mark, with the league’s best side stretching away in the late May sunshine as Harlequins faded in a bruising encounter. Saracens scored 20 unanswered points in the second half.
A total of 14 possible points went begging as kickers Owen Farrell and Marcelo Bosch toiled with the conditions and their accuracy, but they were not made to pay in the end.
Premiership Rugby have confirmed that four Semi-finalists for the 2013 /2014 Aviva Premiership Semi-finals later this month.
Now that the final Round of Premiership league matches have been completed the Semi-finalists have been determined.
Saracens beat the world record attendance of a club match in their 39-17 Aviva Premiership clash at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
A clinical first-half display from Saracens saw them go in at half time 27-10 up, through tries from Chris Ashton, George Kruis and Owen Farrell, with Karl Dickson’s try and Nick Evans’s penalty keeping Quins within touching distance.
The second half was a more low-key affair, with Sam Smith’s converted try putting Harlequins within 10, but Jacques Burger and Marcelo Bosch sealed the victory for Saracens.
The game had a staggered start as David Strettle was on the receiving end of a swinging arm from Maurie Fa’asavalu, leaving the winger unconscious for a lengthy period of time, forcing him to be carried off on a stretcher.
Soon after, Nick Easter tried to make the most of a poor pass, but could only palm it into the path of Ashton who, after fending off Ugo Monye, dived over to score a 70-metre try, with Farrell converting.
Harlequins (13) 13 / 16 (3) Clermont (Final Score)
Harlequins and ASM Clermont Auvergne did battle in the Heineken Cup at
The Twickenham Stoop at 15:35 SA Time (13:35 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & SHD on TV in SA.
It is crunch time in Europe’s premier club tournament, as we enter Round Five of the Euro Cup. The build-up this week may have shone the spotlight on the heavyweight Anglo-French clashes – between Toulouse and Saracens, and Harlequins and ASM Clermont Auvergne – but two other French giants will also be in crucial matches. Defending European champions Toulon host Cardiff Blues in Nice on Saturday, while French champions Castres are at home to Leinster on Sunday.
Harlequins (14) 17 / 3 (0) Racing Metro (Final Score)
harlequins and Racing Metro did battle in the Heineken Cup at
Twickenham Stoop at 14:45 SA Time (12:45 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.
Leicester Tigers may have started the new Premiership season with a bonus-point victory but flank Julian Salvi insists the reigning champions are gunning for an even more ruthless performance next time out.
Marketing men rub their hands as Sevens format quickly gains ground around the world. “Get on the train and see where it takes you,” is how Mark McCafferty of the Aviva Premiership described this past weekend’s inaugural World Club Sevens.
DHL Western Province and the Vodacom Blue Bulls are scheduled to face each other today at Twickenham on day two of the World Club 7s tournament. Both teams will be looking forward to improve on what was a disappointing first day for them at the inaugural tournament. Western Province lost all three of their games while the Blue Bulls lost two and drew one game.
This is Saracens fourth successive Premiership semifinal and their fifth overall, however they have lost their last three semifinal encounters in all competitions.
Guy Mercer is under no illusions about the importance of Bath’s final match of the season, and insists the players are ready to end their Premiership season on a high.
Bath second row Dominic Day admits that it is win at all costs when they welcome West Country rivals Gloucester to the Rec on Friday. Day and co will be itching to return to winning ways after their run of six straight victories in all competitions came to an end with their narrow 23-25 defeat at Northampton Saints.
With an exciting weekend of Premiership rugby the focus seems to be on the clash between table-topping Harlequins and fourth placed London Wasps.
Harlequins, Clermont Auvergne, Ulster and Toulon have all qualified for the quarterfinals of the European Cup, but who will join them in the last eight?
Unbeaten English champions Harlequins are the only ones so far guaranteed home advantage in the quarterfinals, so with plenty to play for in Round Six here is the state of the Pools going into the final weekend of group games.
Undefeated Harlequins and Clermont can book European Cup quarterfinals this weekend with Toulon also close to securing their spot in the last eight. English champions Harlequins, bidding to make the knock-out stages for just the fifth time, already have 19 points from four Pool Three wins and on Saturday tackle Connacht where just a losing bonus point will be enough to see them through.
Leicester Tigers will play host to Gloucester at Welford Road on Saturday in the key clash of the last round of the Premiership in 2012.
Today we had 2 Aviva Premiership games on TV, and we had this Live Game Article… but with a difference.
We were more casual, giving updates whilst talking nonsense inbetween.
How’s that for a nice mix?
Two-time defending European Cup champions Leinster host Clermont in the fourth round of the competition this weekend in the knowledge that they will have to dig deep for a “vital” bonus-point victory.
This weekend was a busy one for the Heineken Cup as twelve matches were played in the third round of the competion. The weekend started on Friday night with a comprehensive win for Ulster over Northampton and a win by Connacht against Biarritz. Following Munster’s win over Saracens on Saturday it looked as if there may be a clean sweep of wins for the teams from Ireland and Northern Ireland.
However, Leinster stumbled to a narrow loss in their game against Clermont Auvergne on Sunday. This ended Leinster’s amazing 17 game unbeaten run in the Heineken Cup.
After two emphatic European victories Worcestor Warriors will be keen to give their home crowd something to cheer about in the Premiership against Sale Sharks on Friday.
Wing Mark Cueto admits it is easy for Sale Sharks to get bogged down with the negatives of their start to the Premiership season, but he insists only a positive frame of mind will bring a change of fortune.
It is the fifth round of Premiership action this weekend and it sees Saracens make the trip across London to Harlequins to face the reigning champions at The Stoop.
Champions Harlequins will be out to extend their unbeaten start to the English Premiership when they take on Sale Sharks this weekend. Quins currently head the standings after two rounds, but with five teams still unbeaten there is plenty of pressure to continue their winning ways.
The second round of the 2012/2013 season’s Aviva Premiership was completed this weekend. In the first match of the weekend London Welsh were comprehensively beaten by Harlequins, who scored six tries to none. In the last game, which was played on Sunday, Northampton Saints managed to scrape through against a brave Exeter Chiefs outfit.
The second round of Aviva Premiership games take places this weekend and while it may only be Round Two, Saracens have laid down an early marker in the 2012/13 Premiership season.
The Aviva Premiership gets underway this weekend, with the first match kicking off at 1500 South African time on Saturday at Twickenham. There will be a further four matches on Saturday with the final game for the round due to kick off at 1500 South African time on Sunday.
The regular rugby season officially kicks off in the UK and Ireland in just over two weeks time when the Aviva Premiership and RaboDirect Pro12 league games start. However, the clubs have been busy with their pre-season preparations and a number of friendly matches were played this past weekend.
Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw was the proud man who was able to hoist the Aviva Premiership trophy following Harlequins victory over Leicester in the final not long completed at Twickenham. England captain Robshaw played a big part in the win and was good value for the super try he scored.
As reported earlier in the week the finals of the Aviva Premiership and the RaboDirect Pro12 take place this weekend. They should both be really high intensity games with the teams competing quite evenly matched.
It seems at the moment as if we are reaching saturation point with the amount of knockout rugby that we have had of late on these shores. This coming weekend is no exception as we look forward to the finals of the Aviva Premiership and RaboDirect Pro 12 as well as the Barbarians game against England.
This weekend saw the semi finals of the two competitions being played. The final scores were fairly close in all but one of the matches.