Henson handed first Bath start
September 13, 2013
Gavin Henson will start at inside centre for Bath © Getty Images
Round one of the Aviva Premiership saw East Midlands rivals Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers secure the maximum five points and Friday night sees Jim Mallinder's men travel to the Stoop to take on Harlequins.
The opening weekend of top flight rugby did not pass without controversy and all 12 teams are in action in round two with Quins' match against the Saints and the Falcons' trip to Sale kicking off the action. On Saturday, the Tigers travel to Bath in a match which marks the 100-year anniversary of the intense rivalry. Elsewhere on Saturday, the Chiefs welcome Wasps to Sandy Park while Irish travel to Worcester. And on Sunday, Gloucester make the trek to Barnet to face Saracens.
Ahead of the six games, ESPNscrum brings you a rundown of all the latest team news.
Harlequins v Northampton SaintsFriday, Twickenham Stoop, 1945 BST
Harlequins have made four changes for the match with Paul Doran-Jones handed his first senior start, ironically against the side he joined Harlequins from in the summer. Tom Williams, Maurie Fa'asavalu and Tom Casson also get the nod.
Paul Doran-Jones starts for Harlequins © Getty Images
Saints boss Jim Mallinder has changed four in total from the side that beat Exeter last weekend with James Wilson, Calum Clark, Samu Manoa and new signing Kahn Fotuali'i all starting.
Prediction: Saints by three
Sale Sharks v Newcastle FalconsFriday, Salford City Stadium, 2000
The Sharks have omitted Danny Cipriani from the matchday squad once again while Jonny Leota misses out on a place in the side having picked up a knock against Gloucester last weekend. Mark Cueto moves to the centres with Tom Brady starting on the wing.
The Falcons have made five changes with Will Welch returning as captain. Elsewhere, Jamie Helleur is ruled out with concussion sustained against Bath last week with Adam Powell replacing him at inside centre. Oliver Tomaszczyk comes into the front-row alongside hooker Matt Thompson who returns from illness while in the second-row Fraser McKenzie makes his debut.
Prediction: Sharks by seven
Exeter Chiefs v London WaspsSaturday, Sandy Park, 1500
Despite losing heavily last weekend, the sole change to the Chiefs' starting line-up sees Sam Hill come into the centre for his first-ever Premiership start with Ian Whitten moving to the wing at the expense of Matt Jess. In turn Jess drops to the bench to fill the void left by Hill, while Welsh international Craig Mitchell is preferred to Carl Rimmer as one of the two options at prop on the bench.
Wasps change three with Chris Bell returning as captain. Ashley Johnson is also called up into the back row while Josh Bassett replaces the injured Tom Varndell on the wing.
Anthony Allen skipper Tigers against Bath © PA Photos
Prediction: Chiefs by eight
Worcester Warriors v London IrishSaturday, Sixways Stadium, 1500
Worcester boss Dean Ryan has recalled Paul Hodgson to the starting line-up for Warriors' first home game of the season while Euan Murray also returns to the starting line-up after missing last Sunday's match due to religious reasons. Paul Andrew will join the Scotsman in the front row, for his first start for Warriors. Chris Jones will start at lock in place of Dean Schofield.
Chris Hala'ufia will make his 100th appearance for London Irish while Tomás O'Leary captains the Exiles with David Paice vice-captain for the match. Andrew Fenby will make his first start for the club on the wing. Matt Parr, David Paice and Halani Aulika make up the front row. Kieran Low and Nic Rouse are partnered in the second row. Jon Fisher, Ofisa Treviranus and Chris Hala'ufia form the back row. Ian Humphreys partners O'Leary in the half-backs with Eamonn Sheridan and Guy Armitage the centres. England International, Marland Yarde, Andrew Fenby and Topsy Ojo will make up the back three.
Prediction: Warriors by four
Bath Rugby v Leicester TigersSaturday, Welford Road, 1515
Bath have made two changes to the side that beat Newcastle last weekend, with Guy Mercer coming in for Mat Gilbert on the openside flank, and Gavin Henson replacing Kyle Eastmond at inside centre. Tom Heathcote takes Henson's place on the bench.
Leicester Tigers bring Steve Mafi, Ed Slater and Scott Hamilton back into the starting line-up. Mafi replaces Croft while Slater comes in for the injured Louis Deacon. The team also includes Sebastian de Chaves. Anthony Allen leads the team as captain while Jamie Gibson and Sam Harrison are named on the bench. The Tigers are currently battling a monster injury list with Deacon, Parling, Toby Flood, Croft, Miles Benjamin, Gonzalo Camacho, Rob Hawkins, Graham Kitchener, Matt Smith, Mathew Tait, Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs all sidelined.
Prediction: Bath by five
Saracens v Gloucester RugbySunday, Allianz Park, 1400
Saracens have made just one change with Duncan Taylor starting at inside centre in place of Brad Barritt. Schalk Brits is named on the bench after finishing his suspension with Mouritz Botha and new signing James Johnston also included.
Welsh scrum-half Tavis Knoyle will make his first Premiership start for Gloucester and also coming into the starting line up is Fijian international flanker Akapusi Qera. Matt Kvesic moves from openside to blindside to accommodate Qera, while Sione Kalamafoni takes over from Ben Morgan at No.8 with Morgan named amongst the replacements.
Prediction: Saracens by 15
Jamie George retains the hooker spot despite Schalk Brits' return © PA Photos
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