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Aviva Premiership
European places on the line in Premiership
ESPN Staff
April 11, 2014
Danny Cipriani won the Player of the Month award for March © Pinnacle

Now that we know exactly what format European rugby will take next season, the teams gunning for a spot in the play-offs will know what they are playing for. Four rounds of the Aviva Premiership remain and ESPN brings you a preview of the weekend's action.

Sale Sharks v Harlequins

Friday, AJ Bell Stadium, 7.45pm, BT Sport

Form: Sale (home) WWWWW ; Harlequins (away) WLLLL

Sale are going about their business in a quiet, efficient manner and sit pretty in fifth in the Premiership. For Harlequins, they are still knocking on the play-off door but they know a loss hereand life will be very difficult.

Team News

  • Harlequins have won their last six Premiership encounters with the Sharks since Sale were victorious 21-17 at Edgeley Park in September 2010.
  • The Sharks have scored at least one try in all 20 Premiership matches they have played at AJ Bell Stadium.

Leicester Tigers v London Wasps

Saturday, Welford Road, 3pm

Form: Leicester (home) WWDWW ; London Wasps (away) WLLWW

Team News

Leicester put in a valiant performance against Clermont last weekend but as they are now out of the Heineken Cup, their attention is solely on the Premiership. Wasps are still fighting on two fronts having booked a semi-final spot in the Amlin Challenge Cup but will want to keep up the pressure on the top six.

  • The Tigers have lost only once at Welford Road in the Premiership since February 2013, it was against Harlequins in Round Seven.
  • Wasps have failed to score a try in a Premiership match only once since September 2012.

Worcester Warriors v Exeter Chiefs

Saturday, Sixways, 3pm

Form: Worcester Warriors (home) LLLLL ; Exeter Chiefs (away) LLLLL

Team News

It took 17 long rounds but Worcester finally got their first Premiership win in the 2013-14 season coming against Newcastle a fortnight ago. They are still staring at the precipice of relegation but a win can do wonders for morale and they will hope to build on that against the Chiefs. Exeter will be buoyed by their LV= Cup success but they are lower down the Premiership table than they would like.

  • The Warriors are now attempting back to back wins in the tournament for the first time since January 2012.
  • Exeter have won their last six matches against the Warriors in all tournaments.

Gloucester Rugby v Bath Rugby

Saturday, Kingsholm, 3.15pm

Form: Gloucester Rugby (home) LWLWW ; Bath Rugby (away) WLDWW

Team News

Things have not gone to plan for Gloucester this season and crashing out of the Amlin Challenge Cup last weekend will do little to lift the gloom around Kingsholm. But nothing raises the team quite like a match against their rivals Bath. Bath fell to Sale in their last match of the Premiership with Danny Cipriani giving George Ford a lesson in game management but their victory over Brive will give them some momentum.

  • Bath have won their last three matches against Gloucester in all tournaments but have not been victorious at Kingsholm in the Premiership since 25 February 2006.
  • Gloucester have won three of their last four Premiership games.

Saracens v Northampton Saints

Sunday, Allianz Park, 2pm, BT Sport

Form: Saracens (home) WWLWW ; Northampton Saints (away) WWWWL

Team News

There is every chance this match may end up being the Premiership final on May 31. Sarries and Saints have been the pace-setters in the top flight and both are through to the final four of the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup respectively. Sarries will want to secure top seeding in the Premiership and a win will help them but a victory for the Saints and they will pin back Saracens' seven-point lead.

  • Saracens are one of only three sides to have lost just once at home this season, the others are Northampton and Leicester.
  • Northampton Saints have slipped to successive Premiership defeats but have not lost there in a row in the tournament since November 2012.

London Irish v Newcastle Falcons

Sunday, Madejski Stadium, 3pm

Form: London Irish (home) LLWLL ; Newcastle Falcons (away) LLLLL

Team News

Despite showing some good form, London Irish are still at the wrong end of the table sitting in tenth. Relegation won't be an issue for Brian Smith's men but they would have wanted to be looking down the table rather than up it. The same goes for Newcastle. They fell to Worcester in their last match and with nine points lying between them and the 12th-placed Warriors, they know a win here will give them some breathing room.

  • Newcastle Falcons have lost their last 12 Premiership games.
  • Newcastle have won their last three matches against London Irish in all competitions but all games were played at Kingston Park.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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