Premiership promises stinger of a weekend
April 19, 2014
Manu Tuilagi has shone for Leicester since his return from injury in March © Getty Images
The Aviva Premiership is well and truly entering the sharp end of the season, with play-off spots, European entry and even relegation yet to be finalised. With three rounds of Premiership action left and most clubs still with something to play for, ESPN brings you a preview of the weekend's matches.
Bath Rugby v Worcester WarriorsSaturday, Recreation Ground, 3pm
Form: Bath (home) LLWWW ; Worcester Warriors (away) WLLLL
Their heads surely still spinning from last Saturday's Battle of the West Country, Bath will be relieved to come up against bottom-of-the-pile Worcester in what should be the easiest match of their season. However, Worcester have not given up all hope of escaping relegation, so Bath head coach Mike Ford will have to guard against complacency at the Rec.
Exeter Chiefs v Sale SharksSaturday, Sandy Park, 3pm
Form: Exeter Chiefs (home) LWLLW ; Sale Sharks (away) WWWWL
It is sixth v seventh at Sandy Park, but Sale lead Exeter by a healthy nine points in the league standings. Exeter are in a precarious position in seventh place, which now brings the chance of entry into the new European Rugby Champions Cup via a play-off against the seventh-placed Top 14 side. Wasps are just one point behind the Chiefs, who will know a slip-up against Sale could cost them their shot at Europe's new order.
London Wasps v Gloucester RugbySaturday, Twickenham, 3.15pm
Form: London Wasps (home) LLLWL ; Gloucester Rugby (away) WLLLW
Wasps' showpiece event sees them welcome Gloucester to Twickenham in 'the Stinger'. While it is sure to be a great occasion for the fans, Wasps say they have only sold 35,000 tickets - a long way short of the 83,000 that Saracens' shifted for their blockbuster match against Harlequins at Wembley. But amid the hullabaloo at HQ, there is a serious rugby match to be played. Gloucester need to get back on the straight and narrow after last Saturday's punch-up with Bath, while Wasps are just two points clear of the visitors and chasing Exeter's European play-off spot.
Northampton Saints v London IrishSunday, Franklin's Gardens, 2pm, BT Sport
Form: Northampton Saints (home) LWWWW ; London Irish (away) LLWWL
Whisper it, but the wheels look as though they are slowly coming off Northampton's season. Three straight defeats in the Premiership leave the second-placed Saints vulnerable to a rampant Leicester, who are just three points behind them and eager for a home play-off. London Irish are coming off the back of a comprehensive win over Newcastle Falcons but could run smack into a Northampton revival on Sunday.
Newcastle Falcons v SaracensSunday, Kingston Park, 3pm
Form: Newcastle Falcons (home) LLLLL ; Saracens (away) WWWWW
The omens do not look good for Newcastle, who have lost all but one of their home league matches this season. Table-toppers Saracens have enjoyed very different fortunes, winning their last six away games in the Premiership. And while the Falcons could do with a win to keep Worcester from snapping at their heels, they cannot expect the ruthless Saracens to do them any favours.
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