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Latest rugby union news

Latest rugby union news

Latest rugby union news

Saturday, February 22

Bath (3) v Wasps (7)

Bath head coach Mike Ford has made five changes from the team that gained an impressive win at Exeter last time out. Tom Heathcote starts at fly-half instead of Ford's son George, who is on England duty at Twickenham, with other switches including starts for props Nathan Catt and Juan Pablo Orlandi, plus lock Dominic Day.

Wasps, beaten at home by London Irish six days ago, field a team showing three changes in the pack as hooker Tom Lindsay, lock James Cannon and back-row forward Nathan Hughes all gain starts. One switch in the back division sees an opportunity for scrum-half Charlie Davies instead of Joe Simpson.

Last season: Wasps 29 Bath 15, Bath 30 Wasps 23

Last six league matches: Bath W W L D W W Wasps W L W W L L

Top tryscorers: Jonathan Joseph & Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath) 4; Christian Wade (Wasps) 5

Top points scorers: George Ford (Bath) 220; Andy Goode (Wasps) 131

Gloucester (10) v Harlequins (4)

Former England centre Mike Tindall will make his 200th Premiership appearance, captaining a Gloucester team that has three changes up front after last weekend's narrow loss against Leicester. Rugby director Nigel Davies makes a switch in each row of the scrum, handing call-ups to prop Rupert Harden, lock James Hudson and number eight Gareth Evans.

Centre Tim Molenaar will face his former club, lining up in Quins' midfield as replacement for Jordan Turner-Hall, who suffered a knock in training this week. Elsewhere, prop Kyle Sinckler makes his first start of the season and lock George Robson returns to partner Nick Kennedy in the second row.

Last season: Gloucester 17 Harlequins 15, Harlequins 28 Gloucester 25

Last six league matches: Gloucester L W W L L L Harlequins W L W L W W

Top try scorers: Jonny May (Gloucester) 5; Danny Care & Sam Smith (Harlequins) 4

Top points scorers: Freddie Burns (Gloucester) 144; Nick Evans (Harlequins) 177

Worcester (12) v Sale (6)

Wales international Jonathan Thomas misses the Sixways clash due to suspension after being sent off in last weekend's game against Northampton, so Mike Williams, Sam Betty and Leonardo Senatore form a rejigged back row. One other change sees a return to action for lock James Percival.

Sale wing Mark Cueto, the Premiership's all-time top tryscorer, reaches another career landmark this weekend when he makes his 200th Premiership appearance in a side that also includes the likes of Danny Cipriani, Dwayne Peel, Dan Braid and James Gaskell.

Last season: Sale 33 Worcester 27, Worcester 23 Sale 16

Last six league matches: Worcester L L L L L L Sale L W L W W L

Top tryscorers: David Lemi (Worcester) 3; Mark Cueto (Sale) 6

Top points scorers: Ignacio Mieres (Worcester) 90; Danny Cipriani (Sale) 142

Sunday, February 23

London Irish (9) v Leicester (5)

London Irish boss Brian Smith makes one enforced change from the side that beat Wasps 23-20 last weekend. Scrum-half Tomas O'Leary was sent off for stamping in that game and is now serving a three-week ban, so Darren Allinson is called up. England wing Marland Yarde, meanwhile, is set to begin his comeback from injury off the bench.

Lock Ed Slater will captain Leicester for the first time, with regular skipper Toby Flood on the bench. Owen Williams wears the number 10 shirt and Vereniki Goneva starts in midfield, while two changes up front see starts for hooker Rob Hawkins and second-row forward Louis Deacon.

Last season: Leicester 32 London Irish 20, London Irish 9 Leicester 31

Last six league matches: London Irish L L L W W W Leicester W L W D W W

Top tryscorers: Marland Yarde (London Irish) 4; Vereniki Goneva (Leicester) 5

Top points scorers: Shane Geraghty (London Irish) 86; Toby Flood (Leicester) 126

Newcastle (11) v Northampton (1)

Newcastle boss Dean Richards makes three changes from the side narrowly beaten by Harlequins last weekend. Scotland hooker Scott Lawson, who starts against Italy on Saturday, is replaced by Matt Thompson, while prop Oliver Tomaszczyk takes over from Kieran Brookes and Ally Hogg returns at number eight.

England international Ben Foden has been named on the Northampton bench for what could be his first Premiership appearance since November after recovering from injury. Elsewhere, scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i replaces Lee Dickson, who is on England Six Nations duty, and lock Christian Day has recovered from a leg injury, with Sam Dickinson moving back to number eight.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last six league matches: Newcastle L L L L L L Northampton W W W W W W

Top tryscorers: Mike Blair, Noah Cato, Tom Catterick, Adam Powell, Andy Saull, Alex Tait & Will Welch (Newcastle) 1; Samu Manoa (Northampton) 5

Top points scorers: Rory Clegg (Newcastle) 97; Stephen Myler (Northampton) 201

Saracens (2) v Exeter (8)

Saracens boss Mark McCall rotates his squad for the clash against Exeter. Number eight Ernst Joubert captains a team that sees call-ups for the likes of Richard Barrington, Schalk Brits and James Johnston, while England international centres Brad Barritt and Joel Tomkins team up in midfield and Ben Ransom starts at full-back.

England Saxons back Henry Slade comes into the Exeter line-up following last weekend's home defeat against Bath, while Phil Dollman moves to full-back and there is a start for Tonga international wing Fetu'u Vainikolo. The Chiefs pack is unchanged for the trip to Allianz Park.

Last season: Saracens 31 Exeter 11, Exeter 14 Saracens 12

Last six league matches: Saracens W W W W L W Exeter L W L L L L

Top tryscorers: David Strettle (Saracens) 8; Dean Mumm & Ben White (Exeter) 5

Top points scorers: Owen Farrell (Saracens) 214; Gareth Steenson (Exeter) 209