ANOTHER CRACKING weekend of Aviva Premiership action starts this Friday at Kingston Park, when play-off chasing Harlequins roll into town, without their England players. Leicester meanwhile try to get within one win of another record on Saturday and Gloucester try to emulate their best league run for nine years. London Wasps are on their worst run for nine years, on Sunday.
The full list of games is:
Friday 4th March
Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins (Kingston Park, 8pm)
Referee: Andrew Small (53rd Premiership game)
Newcastle Falcons gained a vital first Aviva Premiership Rugby victory since November with their 22-5 win at Leeds on Sunday. The Falcons’ only win in their last four matches at Kingston Park in all competitions was 17-3 over Exeter in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on 6 February.
Harlequins have lost two of their last three matches in the Premiership, whilst their solo win on the road in the tournament since December 2009 was 16-13 at Northampton on New Year’s Day 2011.
Newcastle have not beaten Quins since their 24-16 scoreline at Kingston Park in the Premiership on 15 March 2009. Harlequins have not won at Kingston Park in the Premiership since 10 November 2006.
Saturday 5th March
Gloucester Rugby v Bath Rugby (Kingsholm, 1pm) Live on ESPN
Referee: Greg Garner (15th Premiership game)
Gloucester Rugby have won their last eight encounters in all competitions, but have not won nine in succession since 2002. Gloucester are unbeaten in their last 15 Premiership matches at Kingsholm since Wasps won there on 24 October 2009.
Bath Rugby have lost just one of their last nine games in all competitions: 19-26 to Biarritz in the European Cup on 22 January. Bath have won their last three matches played away from The Rec.
Bath’s only victory in their last six clashes with Gloucester was 24-8 at The Rec on 27 December 2009; they have not won at Kingsholm in the Premiership since 25 February 2006.
Leicester Tigers v Saracens (Welford Road), 3.15pm) Live on Sky Sports
Referee: Sean Davey (97th Premiership game)
Leicester Tigers top the Aviva Premiership Rugby table having reeled off nine successive victories in the competition – the best run by any club since Wasps tallied 11 wins in a row in 2003/04.
Saracens are the only opposing team to have beaten Leicester at Welford Road in the Premiership since September 2008.
Saracens have recorded victories in their last five matches in all competitions, since their 14-24 reversal at home to Clermont Auvergne in the European Cup on 21 January.
Last season’s Premiership finalists also met at Vicarage Road in round five with Saracens victorious 26-20. Saracens are going for a first ever season’s double over the Tigers.
Sunday 6th March
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saint (Sandy Park, 3pm) Live on ESPN
Referee: J P Doyle (21st Premiership game)
Exeter Chiefs slipped up in a tryless battle at home to Bath on Saturday evening. The Chiefs have won eight of their last ten games at Sandy Park in all competitions.
Northampton Saints gained 37 league points from their first nine Aviva Premiership Rugby matches this season, but have tallied just two more points from their last five games since the turn of the year. The Saints have not won away from home in the Premiership since a trip to Sale on 19 November.
The two clubs have met on four previous occasions in all competitions with the Saints winning them all. Northampton have visited Sandy Park just once before: on 10 November 2007 in National One, winning 25-11.
Leeds Carnegie v London Irish (Headingley Carnegie, 3pm)
Referee: Rob Debney (61st Premiership game)
Leeds Carnegie’s solitary victory in the Premiership since round 21 last season was 15-13 at home to Gloucester on New Year’s Day. Leeds have lost their last three games in all competitions at Headingley Carnegie.
London Irish’s last eight encounters in all competitions have been won by the home side on the day, whilst the Exiles have not won on the road since they visited Exeter on 23 October.
Leeds have won just one of their last seven meetings with Irish: 23-13 at Madejski Stadium on 18 April 2010. London Irish have won on their last two trips to Headingley Carnegie.
London Wasps v Sale Sharks (Adams Park, 3pm)
Referee: Dave Pearson (151st Premiership game)
London Wasps have lost their last five matches – their worst run since season 2001/02. Wasps have lost their last three home games, although the first of these was taken to Abu Dhabi.
Sale Sharks have also been defeated in their last five encounters in all competitions, whilst the Sharks have not won an away Premiership encounter at anywhere other than Headingley since they visited Worcester on 31 January 2009.
Wasps won a thriller 25-24 when the two clubs met in round five at Edgeley Park and have not achieved a Premiership double over the Sharks in the regular season since 2003/04.