Finally, the Gallagher Premiership Rugby resumes this weekend after the European and Premiership Rugby cup hiatus. The season is well into the second half and rugby fans are in for some intense rugby action in the race for the ultimate prize.
The top of the table has been dominated by Exeter Chiefs and Saracens for most of the season. The latter is seeking to take top spot after round 13 following its shock defeat to Sharks in the previous round.
The threat of relegation is even more dreadful for teams in the bottom half of the table with only 12 points separating the bottom club Newcastle Falcons and sixth-placed Wasps before round 13 as the drama continues to unfold.
Gloucester Rugby v Exeter Chiefs, Friday 15th February, KO @ 19:45 pm
The league leaders travel to Kingsholm Stadium to face-off fourth-placed Gloucester Rugby in the west-country derby where the match will be played under the lights. Past encounters between these two teams have seen tickets being sold out before the match-day showing the great rivalry between them.
Johan Ackermann’s men will be looking for revenge on the visitors after losing heavily the last time these two sides meant last year. However, Exeter’s last visit to Kingsholm ended in favour of the home side thanks to Jason Woodward’s try.
The Chief’s recent form has been a rollercoaster with 3 wins in the last five matches with the recent defeat coming in the hands of Northampton Saints in round 11. The Cherry and Whites have had back to back losses in their last two games and will, therefore, be seeking no more than a win.
Charlie Sharples will be the home side’s main man with winger currently leading the try score chart. Head coach Ali Hepher will be expecting for good news from the medical staff on Sam Skinner’s injury after the promising back-rower was forced off during his debut against Italy in the six nations championship.
Bristol Bears v Wasps, Friday 15th February, KO @ 19:45 pm
This is a mid-table clash in which Bristol is looking to close the five-point gap and also avoid a relegation dogfight. Last season’s 2nd runners-up have never lost a match against Bristol in their last three meetings in the Premiership rugby.
Both teams have recently had players extend their contracts with Jordan Crane committing his future for Bristol bears while Wasps’ centre De Jongh penning a new contract with the club. Bristol will aim to avoid being stung for the third time in as many games by the Wasps after their recent loss to Chiefs in which they were leading 3-0 after only 13 minutes.
Bath Rugby v Newcastle Falcons, Saturday 16th February, KO @ 15:00 pm
Bath will be host to Newcastle Falcons at the Recreation Stadium in one of the final games of round 13. This might seem an easy fete for Bath Rugby who have moved up the table despite the defeat to Warriors in round 12 when they face Falcons who are bottom of the table with 17 points.
The Falcons won the last match against Bath 16-8 at Kingston Park and with only three wins in the 2018/19 season, Dave Walde’s side cannot afford to lose another game. Meanwhile, Bath’s home form in the premiership rugby this season is quite impressive with only one loss in the last 5 home games under the leadership of Darren Edwards.
It’s good news for both coaches who have no injury concerns especially with plenty of fixtures both internationally and domestically. Toby Flood and Tane Takulua have been the shining stars for the Falcons and the coach will be looking up to them to breach Bath’s defence.
Remaining fixtures from round 13 of the Gallagher Premiership 2018/2019
Saturday 16th February, Kick-off @ 15:00 pm (Unless Stated)
- Northampton Saints v Sale Sharks – Kick-off @ 14:00 pm
- Harlequins v Worcester Warriors
- Saracens v Leicester Tigers