Tag Archives: Round20

ROUND 20 | PREVIEW | Northampton Saints vs Saracens

By Thomas Branston

Stadium MK (Kick-off 3pm)

Referee: Matthew Carley

Assistant Refs: Wayne Falla, Gareth Copsey

TMO: Graham Hughes

Northampton Saints have narrowly missed out in their last two Aviva Premiership matches very late on against two of their playoff rivals, Leicester and Wasps. Saints have played six previous matches at Stadium MK winning two and losing once in the Premiership.

Saracens only defeat in their last six matches was 10-32 defeat at home to Leicester in the semi-final of the Anglo-Welsh Cup on 11 March. Sarries have lost three of their last five away games in the Premiership, with defeats to Bath, Worcester and Gloucester.

Saracens have previously played three games in Milton Keynes winning two ‘home’ games when they moved there from Vicarage Road, against Bristol in 2008 and Northampton in 2012, but losing 20-25 there in a Saints “home” game in 2015.

Saracens have the upper hand on the books in this tie with the visitors only losing once  in their last five matches against Northampton in all tournaments was 15-20 at Allianz Park in Premiership in March 2016.

Saracens won a feisty encounter last time out at Allianz Park winning 27-12, in a first-half battle the half-time score was even with both Myler and Lozowski trading three penalties each. Myler added another penalty early on, however a poor half of discipline from Saints allowed Jamie George to cross over and Saracens were later awarded a penalty try from pulling down a maul.

Northampton Saints | 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Harry Mallinder, 11 Ben Foden, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Nic Groom; 1 Alex Waller, 2 Dylan Hartley, 3 Kieran Brookes, 4 Courtney Lawes, 5 David Ribbans, 6 Jamie Gibson, 7 Tom Wood (c), 8 Louis Picamoles

Replacements | 16 Mikey Haywood, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Juan Pablo Estelles

Saracens | 15 Alex Goode, 14 Nathan Earle, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Ben Spencer; 1 Titi Lamositele, 2 Jamie George (c), 3 Vincent Koch, 4 Nick Isiekwe, 5 George Kruis, 6 Joel Conlon, 7 Schalk Burger, 8 Jackson Wray

Replacements |16 Schalk Brits, 17 Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 18 Petrus Du Plessis, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Nick Tompkins, 23 Chris Ashton


ROUND 20 | PREVIEW | Harlequins vs Exeter Chiefs

By Thomas Branston

Twickenham Stoop (Kick-off 7.45pm)

Referee: Wayne Barnes

Assistant Referees: JP Doyle & Paul Dix.

TMO: Sean Davey.

Harlequins suffered a 40-19 defeat last time out to Saracens in front of a packed out Wembley crowd which ended a two-match winning run.

Quins have only lost once at home this season with their last defeat at the Stoop being a 27-18 defeat to Leicester Tigers.

Exeter Chiefs have won their last five Aviva Premiership games and are unbeaten in 12 matches but came close to defeat last time out at home to Bristol, two Thomas Waldrom tries spared their blushes at Sandy Park.

Rob Baxter’s side have picked up six try bonus point wins in as many games to level Leicester tigers record in 2012.

The Chiefs have a major advantage over Quins, winning their last five matches against the Londoners. Harlequins’ last league win over Exeter was a 30-29 victory at Sandy Park back in May 2014, however Quins did pick up a 29-15 win when the two sides last met in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in November.

Last time out Exeter avoided a second-half comeback against Harlequins winning the game 36-25 at Sandy Park. Chiefs led 29-13 at the break and were in full control but despite the visitors best efforts, Quins couldn’t overturn the deficit and Luke Cowan-Dickie stole the headlines by scoring a hat-trick to help his side pick up their first win of the season.

Defeat for Harlequins could jeopardise their hopes of finishing in the European places whilst a defeat for Exeter could hamper their chances of securing a home playoff semi-final.

Harlequins | 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchants, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care (C); 1 Joe Marler, 2 Rob Buchanan, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Charlie Matthews, 5 James Horwill, 6 Chris Robshaw, 7 Luke Wallace, 8 Mat Luamanu

Replacements |16 Joe Gray, 17, Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 George Merrick, 20 Dave Ward, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Alofa Alofa

Exeter Chiefs |15 Phil Dollman, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 James Short, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Jack Maunder; 1 Carl Rimmer, 2 Jack Yeandle, 3 Greg Holmes, 4 Dave Dennis, 5 Geoff Parling, 6 Dave Ewers, 7 Don Armand, 8 Kai Horstmann

Replacements | 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Julian Salvi, 21 Stuart Townsend, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Sam Hill