Round 13 was one of the most exciting rounds to date, with all six features featuring scores of over 40, can round 14 improve on that? With nine rounds of the Gallagher Premiership to go, we are reaching the business end of the season with all 12 clubs still having plenty to play for whether the be at the top or bottom of the table. There is much speculation as to who will finish the weekend on top of the league, currently, Saracens and Exeter Chiefs are tying on 52 points apiece. Saracens are currently on top due to faring better in points difference by just 4 points. This all came about after a shock defeat for Exeter in Round 13 seeing them top spot.
The weekend action starts Friday night at Kingsholm as Gloucester face the reigning champions, Saracens, and will draw to a close on Sunday with the Midlands derby when the Worcester Warriors take on Leicester Tigers at Sixways.
Gloucester Rugby v Saracens, Friday 22nd February, Kick-off @ 7:45 pm
Gloucester, as a team are feeling top of the world at the moment in time, after beating table-toppers Exeter Chiefs last week, following a late try. Will they be able to carry the momentum of that win into the match against the Saracens?. Can they repeat their success of last week and maybe knock the Saracens off the top spot as they did with the Chiefs? Saracens, meanwhile are on a winning streak, having won their previous 5 matches whilst Gloucester’s win against The Chiefs ended a 5 match losing streak. It will be interesting to see if Saracen’s can keep their streak going or if Gloucester are beginning a streak of their own.
Both sides have made two changes to their winning teams of last week. Gloucester are swapping Tom Savage for Ed Slater, while Jaco Kriel has been named as open-side flanker. Saracens will see a return of Mark Rhodes and Schalk Burger.
Harlequins v Bristol Bears, Saturday 23rd February, Kick-off @ 2 pm
The Harlequins are favourites for their fixture against the Bristol Bears after their stunning defeat of Worcester last week. Currently, Harlequins are on top form, with a three-match winning streak. They have never made it to a four-match streak, but could this all end after their match against the Bristol Bears?
The Bears, meanwhile have only won 4 times in the Premiership this season and have not yet won an away match. Indeed, they are the only team not to win an away game in the whole of the Premiership this season
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons, Saturday 23rd February, Kick-off @ 2:30 pm
Unfamiliar times are occurring for the Chiefs as they have now lost three of the last five Premiership fixtures including the loss to their top four rivals, Gloucester, last time out.
Exeter have Tomas Francis (Wales), Harry Williams, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ben Moon, Henry Slade and Jack Nowell (England) all unavailable for team selection due to the Six Nations.
The Omens are good for the Chiefs as they have not lost two successive games in the premiership for over twelve months and also the fact of only one defeat at Sandy Park since last February, a win will be expected.
Newcastle need points as they are at the foot of the table and the last place you would wish to visit is Sandy Park even more so when you are on a run of four consecutive losses.
Mark Wilson (England) and Gary Graham (Scotland) are both on International duty so are unavailable for team selection.
The Falcons have only two away wins all season, the last being on the 1st December, so it would be mighty impressive if they can overcome a chiefs side sitting at the opposite end of the table, even if weakened by six first teamers being on international duty.
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers, Sunday 24th February, Kick-off @ 1 pm
The Warriors will be hoping for another home win to bolster their relegation fight against a Tigers side with only one away win this season which was way back in October at Twickenham Stadium in round six against Northampton Saints.
Worcester Warriors will be buoyed by the release of their international fly-half, Duncan Weir, by Scotland, however, Ben Te’o may not feature this weekend as he was not released by England until Thursday. Josh Adams has been named in Wales starting fifteen to face England in Six Nations clash on Saturday. GJ van Velze, Jonny Arr, Perry Humphreys and Dean Hammond are unavailable for team selection due to injuries.
With only one win in their last five Premiership games, Worcester are in need of points in their fight for survival, with a bonus point being the bare minimum fans will expect against an ill travelling Tigers side.
A break from the norm, Worcester Warriors will stray away from their traditional blue matchday shirt in support of their annual charity Acorns by wearing specially commissioned matchday shirts in magenta, cyan and green graphical design.
Leicester Tigers travel to Sixways having won just two of their last seven Premiership Rugby fixtures, which were both at home in 10 and 12.
The Tigers will be without Ben Youngs, Manu Tuilagi, Jonny May, Ellis Genge and George Ford who all away with England for the Wales clash.
Despite the Tigers poor form and loss of key players, they will not be put off by this away trip as they have won on their last ten visits to Sixways and that the last five games between these two sides have all gone in favour of the away side.
Remaining fixtures from round 14 of the Gallagher Premiership 2018/2019
Saturday 23rd February, Kick-off @ 2 pm (Unless Stated)
- Wasps v Sale Sharks
- Northampton Saints v Bath Rugby Kick-off @ 2:45 pm