In-form Exeter look to keep going
Exeter have arrived at what coach Rob Baxter describes as the season's "business end" still in contention for three significant prizes.
Baxter's men head to Kingsholm on Saturday knowing that victory over sixth-placed Gloucester would keep them firmly in title play-off contention. They are also on course to secure Heineken Cup qualification for the first time in their history, while an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final against French heavyweights Stade Francais is just 13 days away.
"We are at that business end of the season now," Baxter said. "The guys are well-rested and they have had a good break, but they've come back now and we've knocked them back into shape and reminded them a little about being rugby players again."
He added: "It is great that we still have a lot of top fixtures and a lot of things still to play for. Equally, Gloucester will want to do well because they want to be in that top six as well as challenging for the top four over the final few weeks."
The play-offs are a proverbial million miles away for twice-European champions Wasps, who meet Northampton still scrapping to keep themselves a safe distance above relegation favourites Newcastle.
After visiting Franklin's Gardens - a ground where they have not won since November 2005 - Wasps host Gloucester on Saturday week knowing the Falcons could still catch them.
"Northampton and Gloucester are the only games in my thought process at the moment," Wasps rugby director Dai Young said. "We are looking at two extremely tough fixtures against two very good sides that are pushing for, or aiming to stay in, the top four."
Premiership leaders Harlequins, a position they have held since September, entertain an erratic Bath outfit knowing that a 14th victory of the league campaign would maintain their course towards a home play-off tie in May.
Quins have dipped slightly in recent weeks, losing at Gloucester and being held away from home by Newcastle in a bruising contest that saw three Falcons players cited.
But their New Zealand international fly-half Nick Evans said: "It will be nice to return to the Stoop - it feels like ages since we have been there. It is the start of a big passage of time for us leading into the play-offs. After the start we had to the season a lot of people thought we would fall by the wayside, but to our credit we have managed to stick with it."